A Review of Waterproofing Systems

Waterproofing Systems

A Review of Waterproofing SystemsM. A. Waheed Chairman, Perma Construction Aids Pvt. Ltd. Mumbai
The waterproofing of buildings to prevent the ingress of water is an activity, which, perhaps is practiced in one form or the other, ever since the first building was built on earth. The methodology has been changing with the changes in architectural designs and availability of different building materials for construction. In the initial stages when stone was the main building construction material placed in position with mud or lime mortar, the emphasis used was to make the construction in such a way that the rainwater does not collect on the roofs. Hence old architecture relied mainly on dome structures or slanting/slopy roofs. The slow speed of such construction and unaffordability by common man to build such structures for their own dwelling, made constant evolution and development in the construction material technology. With new developments, the concepts of waterproofing have also changed. Now in the present day construction with ordinary portland cement and its blends (with puzzolonic and slag materials) a lot of compatible alternatives, are available to a builder to choose from various waterproofing systems. Some systems are old and conventional but still practiced successfully and some are modern systems designed taking the material and structural behavior into consideration.

There are some compounds, which are used as aaditive in plastic concrete to make it less permeable to water. These compounds are known as integral waterproofing compounds. They are based on plasticising and air-entrainment or water repellence principles. These are used as a good waterproofing precautions when other factors such as good mix-design, proper mixing/placing, compacting/curing etc are taken care of. This subject of using integral waterproofing compounds requires an in depth discussion hence will not be taken up here. Similarly, there are many waterproofing techniques for vertical surfaces. These techniques used are also used for preserving heritage buildings by stopping/minimising the aging process of these buildings. This subject also will not be discussed here.

First of all let us review some of the old and conventional waterproofing systems and then we would discuss the modern waterproofing techniques.

NBM&CW April 2011