Waterproofing concrete walls takes place during construction and renovation processes. The best time to waterproof concrete is before the walls get exposed to water and moisture. Waterproofing concrete walls must be done before they are finished and before a building becomes occupied to help prevent water damage and the potential for mold or mildew growth. New construction projects should incorporate waterproofing into the design and construction process while existing structures should consider waterproofing during renovations or repair work. Check out these tips to remember when waterproofing concrete walls for your next construction project.
Benefits of Waterproofing Concrete Walls
Waterproofing concrete walls is a key step in ensuring the longevity, safety, and appearance of a building or structure. Waterproofing concrete walls is important for several reasons. Concrete walls can be susceptible to damage from water infiltration, which can lead to structural damage and even compromise the integrity of a building. Waterproofing concrete walls helps protect against water damage by preventing water from penetrating the surface. Moisture buildup on concrete walls can also create conditions for mold and mildew, which is harmful to human health. Waterproofing can also help improve energy efficiency and lower heating and cooling costs for overall comfort in a space. Waterproofing also offers aesthetic value for concrete walls by preventing discoloration or stains caused by water damage.
Key Tips to Remember When Waterproofing Concrete Walls
Several methods can be used to waterproof concrete walls effectively, including surface coatings, waterproofing admixture, cementitious coatings, and injection grouting. The size, space, and season can all impact the options you utilize when waterproofing concrete walls. Here are some key tips to remember when waterproofing concrete walls:
Check the Source of Moisture That Causes Damp Walls
Perform a visual inspection of the area for any signs of moisture, which may include water stains, discoloration, or peeling paint. Look for any gaps or cracks in the walls or around windows and doors that may allow moisture to enter. Check the drainage around the building or structure for any water pooling near the walls or foundation.
A moisture meter can also be used to identify areas where moisture is present in concrete walls. A humidity test can also determine the relative humidity in the space, which may contribute to moisture buildup and dampness in concrete walls.
Make Sure Your Gutters Are Clean
Clean gutters are an important factor in ensuring proper drainage of water away from a building or structure. If gutters become clogged with leaves or other debris, water can overflow and may accumulate around the foundation and walls of the building. Clogged gutters can result in water infiltration, which can damage concrete walls and cause other structural issues. When gutters are clean and free of debris, water can flow freely through the downspouts that direct water away from the building. Gutters and downspouts are designed to reduce the risk of water infiltration and protect the buildings like those with concrete walls against moisture damage.
Choose the Right Waterproofing Agent
The right waterproofing agent for concrete walls may depend on a variety of factors, including the type of concrete, the purpose of the structure, and the specific conditions in the area. There are several types of waterproofing agents available, including coatings, membranes, and admixtures. Different types of concrete will require different types of waterproofing agents. The environmental conditions of the area can also impact the type of waterproofing agent needed, based on the type of harsh weather conditions expected. Make sure the waterproofing agent is compatible with other materials used in the process and how the application method may impact the project.
Improve Concrete Waterproofing with Plaster Additive
Plaster additives can be added to concrete to help improve the waterproofing properties of the mixture. Plaster additives can improve the waterproofing of walls by enhancing the density and impermeability of concrete, which reduces the amount of space available for water to penetrate. Using plaster additives with concrete waterproofing can also improve the overall durability of concrete walls by making the structure more resistant to wear and tear.
Clean Wall & Fix Any Damages Before Waterproofing
It is important to clean concrete walls and fix any damages before applying a waterproofing agent. Remove any debris, dirt, oil, or other contaminants that can interfere with the effectiveness of the waterproofing process. Always ensure the concrete is dry before the waterproofing process, or any additional moisture can cause the waterproofing agent to fail or peel away. Any damages, including cracks in concrete walls, should also be patched properly before waterproofing the walls.
Test & Check Walls for Any Leaks
Testing and checking concrete walls for any potential water leaks are two vital steps in addressing issues before they become major problems. Tests and checks of concrete walls can include visual inspections of the area and using tools like a moisture meter or thermal imaging. A water test involves spraying the concrete wall with water to see whether any water seeps through or gets absorbed into the concrete. A dye test involves injecting a colored dye into a potential crack or gap and watching for whether the dye appears on the other side of the wall.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Waterproofing Concrete Walls
Waterproofing is such a critical step in protecting a building from water damage. However, there are several common mistakes to avoid when waterproofing concrete walls. Here are three of the most common mistakes:
Ignoring Leak Sources
Waterproofing a concrete wall will not address any underlying issues. If there are signs of potential leaks, then it is important to follow those to the source. Identifying the source of any leaks and then properly addressing those must take place before waterproofing.
Neglecting to Prepare the Wall Before Waterproofing
Insufficient preparation before waterproofing can lead to water leaks, a buildup of mildew and mold, and other structural issues with concrete walls. Walls must be prepared properly, and the surface must be thoroughly cleaned and dried before applying any waterproofing agent or material.
Having Poor Sloping That Causes Stagnant Water Around Walls
When pooling water isn’t addressed, it can lead to stagnant water that leaks into the foundations and walls, compromising the structural integrity of the building. Poor sloping and inadequate drainage can result in stagnant water in the area.
Find Reliable Construction Forms & Accessories with Forming America
Avoid these common mistakes to make sure concrete walls are properly waterproofed and protected from water damage on your next project. Buy or rent concrete forming equipment to ensure concrete pours and waterproofing gets done properly. Forming America offers reliable and high-quality concrete forming equipment for sale or rent to use on your next concrete project.