Why do waterproofing Membranes fail?

Why Do Waterproofing Membranes Fail ?

This picture shows tradesmen have placed scaffolding in a planter box after the waterproofing has been completed. No care has been taken to protect the membrane . 

There are a number of reasons why waterproofing membranes fail.

Here is a list of some of the reasons:

  • Inadequate surface preparation- If dust, oils or some building droppings are not cleaned up properly then you are effectively waterproofing to these instead of the surface eg concrete floor or Compressed fibro. The problem is the waterproofing will go on to these areas but over time or with movement they become weak points and cause failure in the membrane. 
  • Using the wrong waterproofing membranes for the wrong type of work. Eg if you need to waterproof in a damp area, you need a membrane that will work in damp environments. You can not use arylic or polyurethane membranes in damp locations. 
  • Not following the manufactures Data Sheet & Specifications. If you dont follow the manufactures specifications and Data sheets you are asking for problems. As a waterproofer dealing with many products you can not know everything. As a contractor you need to stay in constant contact with the manufactures and technical guys for support and get ting the right application for the specific type of job.
  • Other Trades. Once a waterproofing job is complete nobody should be walking on the waterproofing membrane in the case oft area membranes. I have seen electricians on ladders on one day old waterproofing. Screws droppinng to the floor and being stepped on. These trades have no awareness of what they are doing. But the issue falls back to the builder who has a lack of control over the trades and allows the bad practices to happen once the waterproofer has completed their work. Sometimes the tiler can puncture the waterproofing when they are screading the sand and cement tile bed. And if they don't know they did it or they dont say anything then you will get a leak. If you look at the Above picture, it shows tradesmen have placed scaffolding in a planter box after the waterproofing has ben completed.

How to avoid Efflorecence!

The saddest thing is driving around Sydney seeing all these new amazingly designed buildings and then you see those ugly white runs that look like white water run stains. It ruins a building, specially those buildings with dark coloured finishes.

These problems mostly occur due to a lack of careful planning and not understanding how water flows on surfaces of buildings and what impact the water has on different elements of a building.

With careful planning you can avoid these visual uglies and also avoid the expensive cost of rectifying these issues specially if they start to cause water problems in the building.