Complete Guide to Foundation Waterproofing

Foundation waterproofing is an essential aspect of ensuring the integrity of a building or structure. It is the process of protecting the substructure, most importantly the foundation, from water damage by sealing or coating it with waterproof materials. Without proper foundation waterproofing, a building’s substructure can become weakened and damaged, leading to costly repairs and even structural failure.

Foundations are made of reinforced concrete, which is not waterproof and where cracks can easily develop. Concrete is usually capable of keeping the water out however, vapor and moisture can still penetrate. When designing the foundation waterproofing, it’s crucial to consider these factors:

  • Location
  • Topography
  • Water table conditions
  • Depth of the foundation

For a country like the Philippines, where it’s wet season for at least half of the year and often experiences heavy typhoons, installing a foundation waterproofing is always a smart decision.

Components of Foundation Waterproofing

There are two essential components in building a reliable concrete foundation waterproofing: the drainage system and the waterproofing barrier. Constructing a drainage system helps divert water away from the foundation, both on ground surface and underground. Inadequate or improper drainage systems can cause your entire foundation waterproofing system to fail. 

The on grade drainage system is the first line of defense against water penetration underground. We recommend the following steps in building an effective water drainage at the ground level: 

  • Compact the soil backfill placed next to your foundation walls.
  • Implement proper sloping to direct water away from the building or structure.
  • Install a gutter and downspout system for your roof to keep rainwater run-off from accumulating near the foundation.
  • Perform regular inspection around the building to identify and fix any drainage system issues.

In terms of waterproofing barriers, one of the most commonly used materials for substructures is a membrane. There are different types of waterproofing membranes available, including asphalt, rubber, polyurethane and bentonite. Each has its own set of pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the right material for your specific needs.

Furthermore, when deciding where to apply or adhere the foundation waterproofing membrane, follow this basic rule: waterproof any foundation wall that has earth on one side and usable space on the other (storage, basement parking, etc.), including crawl spaces. Consider applying waterproofing on other walls if it’s a very wet site.

Bentonite for Foundation Waterproofing

Bentonite is a type of granulated clay that is widely popular among waterproofing contractors due to its unique water sealing properties. When exposed to water, it can expand to almost 15 times its dry volume and prevent water from passing through.

Bentonite waterproofing membrane comes in pre-formed geosynthetic clay liner (GCL) sheets that can easily adapt to any shape it is adhered to. The special molecular composition of bentonite and the high strength geotextiles it is sandwiched with creates a strong and durable membrane capable of covering cracks and moving with the structure.

Advantages of Bentonite Waterproofing Membrane

Aside from its excellent water sealing properties, there are several other reasons why bentonite membrane is a great choice for foundation waterproofing:

  1. Has reliable “self-sealing” and “self-healing” qualities.
  2. High performance: Bentonite adapts to challenging conditions of waterproofing and is resistant to aggressive environments.
  3. Long-lasting protection: Bentonite waterproofing system maintains its durability and can span the life of the structure. 
  4. Easy to install: The membrane is installed through need punching and only requires minimal equipment. It is also safe to install in all weather conditions. 

Foundation waterproofing is a crucial step in protecting your building from water damage. By using the right waterproofing solution and installing a proper drainage system, you can ensure the structural integrity of your building for many years to come. If you’re in need of waterproofing for your commercial or industrial construction projects in the Philippines, Voltite Waterproofing Solutions carry a range of bentonite waterproofing products that you can choose from. Contact us today!

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