October 15, 2009
Engineering structures that are built at least partly underground need to be waterproofed for protection from water infiltration due to close contact with the surrounding ground. One common method involves the application of waterproofing materials to the interior and exterior walls of the structure, including the floors, to completely create a watertight seal against ground contact. The waterproofing contractor installs the system either during building construction or later as a retrofit application for remedial waterproofing.
External structures like car parks, walkways, stairways and loading decks are exposed to daily traffic and mechanical damage that also undermines their waterproofing system, thereby degrading slip- and skid-resistance, and brings a look of general deterioration.
Waterproofing structures requires a high level of skill and planning, because ground moisture can come in many forms and affect structures in different ways. For instance, minor seepage can cause infiltration and damage, more so than water that exerts a palpable pressure on the structure.
Structural Waterproofing Issues
One concern that a waterproofing contractor often encounters in waterproofing systems is the inevitability of dampness, particularly in old structures, and how to manage it. This may involve setting up proper ventilation spaces to allow moisture to move or "breathe" within the structure.
The presence of pipes, drainage systems, and electrical cables that are attached to the building, and how to reroute these elements without adversely affecting the structure, is also another issue during waterproofing.
A different issue comes from the global climate change that results in increased flooding and the elevation of water levels everywhere, and the subsequent rise in cases of basement flooding adding to the challenges in waterproofing.
Waterproofing contractor companies also have to comply with environmental legislations standards for waterproofing, which aim to lessen the chances of harmful substance leakage that can threaten human and environmental safety.
The waterproofing materials and methodologies to use depend largely on the ground conditions and the way water is infiltrating the structure. The goal of waterproofing is to create a watertight structure that is impervious to water seepage and pressure. A skilled waterproofing contractor can implement the right waterproofing system which may include a variation of cementitious polymer-based coatings or multi-coat renders, mastic asphalt or liquid-applied membranes, slurries, or even the creative use of epoxy coatings.
Some waterproofing contractor companies prefer to fortify their waterproofing systems with the construction of non-linked cavity walls and bund walls, and even establish drainage channels and pumps to remove excess water. To add "breathability" the waterproofing contractor also installs ventilated flooring to the underground chambers.
Waterproofing of deck and flooring require the application of cementitious coatings with chemical, skip or slip resistance. These coatings are impervious to water and drie quickly, ready for the onslaught of traffic in a matter of hours.
Waterproofing engineering structures require a highly-skilled waterproofing contractor to deliver a feasible design and installation of the waterproofing system. Needless to say, experience matters in hiring a waterproofing contractor, and certifications and credentials should also be a big reason for choosing one.
The right waterproofing contractor can assess the facility's needs for waterproofing through site inspections, which then allows them to specify the best waterproofing system for the particular project. Their technical expertise should cover the right methods to use in surface preparation, thinning, mixing and application, among other activities that are necessary in setting up a waterproofing system.
Steve A. Parker, Sr. Estimator, RaiderPainting.com - the preferred painting company for building owners and facility managers of commercial and industrial properties nationwide. Call 877-724.3371 for a free Estimate. And check out the Raider Painting Blog.
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