Waterproofing – What, Where and How? Application, Details, and Methodology

Samir Samir Surlaker, MC-Bauchemie India Private Limited, Mumbai Sunny Sunny Surlaker, MC-Bauchemie India Private Limited, Mumbai


Waterproofing is important in protecting the structure and ensuring that the structure is usable over its entire service life. The forces exerted by water are enormous and its effects are unpredictable. Water enters the structure through the weakest route.Due to extreme requirements we put on speed, economy and construction practices, the durability of concrete is severely affected. Due to construction and/or material problems, concrete structures both above and below ground are susceptible to water ingress, due to porous structural elements. Dampness entering the living space (especially through walls and ceilings) is an indication that the concrete structure has failed its durability and that structural elements have already begun deteriorating.

Waterproofing is an art as much as it is a science and needs to be addressed as such. The main principle in waterproofing is "Keep the Outside water Out and/or Keep the Inside water In". This principle is applicable to walls, basements, roofs/terraces, R.C.C structural elements where we want to keep outside water out and to structures such as swimming pools, water tanks, bathrooms, etc. where we want to keep the water in.

The most successful waterproofing systems to date are the ones that put as many barriers as possible between the water and the structure we are attempting to protect. Again no single material can claim to be a complete waterproofing solution. The best solutions are the optimum combination of an excellent Material, Skilled Manpower to apply it, and use of the right Machinery and tools. This 3 M practice of waterproofing, is the approach we should follow because, doing a waterproofing treatment with "Predetermined" Material, Method or Manpower would more often than not lead to failures. Each waterproofing application is unique and should be treated on its merits and demerits before specifying any particular system. While designing the waterproofing system, actual service conditions should be considered for selection of the material.

That being said the following system or approach can be taken to maximize benefits of waterproofing:

NBM&CW April 2013