Waterproofing Materials More In Demand In Today’s Construction Climate

Keeping water from seeping through walls has long been a key element for solid construction of homes and buildings. In recent years, however, even more attention has been focused on waterproofing systems because of several high-profile news events involving construction-defect lawsuits.

For example, a rash of “leaky condo” incidents in British Columbia and a widespread failure of exterior insulation finishing systems (EIFS) across South Carolina focused attention on the need to build with extreme attention to commercial waterproofing factors.

Builders have responded by increasing their use of advanced-materials designed “peel-and-stick” membranes, flexible flashing and/or armored flashing of many compositions, thickness levels and configurations.

Joints and edges are now fortified with transition stripping that make for impermeable barriers. Flexible stripping materials composed of rubberized asphalt — which is integrally bonded to high density and cross-laminated polyethylene — has proven to be a fantastically effective product. Its seals wall off from even intense water pressure, such as that driven by heavy or even hurricane force winds.

Furthermore, construction workers love working with this material because it is self-adhering and easy to apply. You might say that “peel-and-stick” is the construction version of the “plug-and-play” in the computer realm. These materials easily waterproof walls while also offering continuity of an air/vapor barrier assembly or drainage system.

Experienced commercial waterproofing professionals point out a significant difference between waterproofing and damp proofing. The latter is merely a way to slow the penetration of moisture, but it does not provide total waterproofing. But many projects use damp proofing simply because it is more cost effective and the structure may not be at high risk for water damage events.

Damp proofing can be accomplished with a spray-on membrane. This is an economical alternative to full waterproofing and serves well for areas like damp basements or problems with moisture seeping into foundations.

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