WHAT IS STRUCTURAL WATERPROOFING?
Waterproofing is a catch-all term that refers to a variety of processes that make a structure, or parts of a structure water-resistant. In construction specifically, waterproofing is an essential process to protect a building from damp, rot, mould and flooding.
Subterranean parts of buildings such as basements and cellars are particularly vulnerable to water ingress and require specific waterproofing to be applied. This can range from integrated waterproofing systems in the build, concrete or bituminous tanking on pre-existing walls or a more modern membrane, drainage and sump pump systems collectively known as water management systems.
WATERPROOFING DRAINAGE SYSTEMS
Waterproofing drainage systems are designed to channel any water ingress away from a property.
Modern drainage solutions, also known as Type-C Waterproofing, work from inside the property in conjunction with waterproofing membranes and sump pumps. These systems are practical, clean and suit most foundations. They also eliminate the problem of drainage clogging that can often affect external drainage systems like French drains from the soil beneath the basement floor. These systems are also designed to look good indoors, making them a perfect fit for any stylish basement conversion.
WATERPROOFING A BASEMENT OR CELLAR
The most common waterproofing jobs that Wise Basement Systems deal with are basements and cellars. To transform a basement or cellar into a safe and habitable space it is vitally important that the space is waterproof.
Installing an water management system to a basement or cellar waterproofing, also known as Type-C Waterproofing, in an average property will only takes a matter of days to install and is, generally speaking, easy to maintain.
There is also no need for any expensive exterior excavation. Moreover, as the water ingress is managed with membranes, drainage and pumps there is no risk of hydrostatic pressure building up and causing cracks in the basement or cellar walls. This can be a common failure of traditional basement waterproofing such as tanking, especially in areas where there is a risk of structural movement or vibrations.
For complete peace of mind, our interior basement waterproofing systems also come with a 10 Year structural waterproofing guarantee.
WATERPROOFING OTHER SPACES
Wise Basement Systems do not just waterproof basements and cellars. Our expertise in structural waterproofing can be applied to other spaces in domestic properties and we can also provide waterproofing designs for commercial and construction projects.
WATERPROOFING A CRAWL SPACE
Waterproofing a crawl space or solum is slightly different to waterproofing a basement or cellar. The main problem with a dirt or vented concrete crawl space is that warm air rises into your home and brings with it air that was previously under your floorboards. This air will have excess moisture in it and will often carry mould spores, rot spores and any other (potentially) nasty bacteria and microbes that may have been lying around down there.
Specifically designed underfloor liner made from multiple layers of high-density polyethylene can help here by preventing water vapour and humidity from passing through. Suitable for crawl spaces and any other underfloor space, it is installed on the floor, walls and support beams. Once the underfloor liner is installed it completely stops moisture passing through to the property.
Once a crawl space or solum is waterproof, you will be able to access your crawl space without any worries and use it as a dependable storage space.
WATERPROOFING A GARAGE
When garages are constructed they are usually “single skin” buildings that are not designed to be habitable. This means that waterproofing is rarely integrated into the build. If your garage has an earth retaining wall, it will be particularly vulnerable to damp walls as a result of water ingress. Garages with earth retaining walls and sub-standard waterproofing are also vulnerable to cracks and leaks due to hydrostatic pressure in the surrounding earth.
Even garages that are not earth retaining are at risk from damp if neighbouring constructions on higher ground are adding water to the surrounding environment. Water will always flow to the lowest point possible, and if that point is your garage, it will need to be waterproof.
A traditional, and cost effective, method of garage waterproofing is tanking. Tanking, also known as a Type-A Waterproofing Systems, involves the application of a slurry or waterproof cement to provide a barrier to any water ingress. Tanking is regularly used in cellars and basements to prevent dampness but it is equally as effective at preventing damp garage walls.
If completed correctly, this method will allow you to protect the contents of the garage and leave a smooth concrete finish. This makes it ideal for garages that are used for storage or as a utility room.
For a more domestic garage conversion, changing it into an office for example, a Type C Waterproofing system would likely be more practical.
WATERPROOFING A FLOOR
A basement floor needs to be covered by a material that won’t be ruined by dampness from water vapour. Even if you have a basement waterproofing system installed, and your basement is no longer leaking, a concrete floor will always remain porous and susceptible to water vapour from the moist earth around your property.
Water passes through a concrete slab very slowly. As it travels through the floor it evaporates, so your basement floor is not likely to appear wet even if moisture is getting through. This makes basement floors “deceptively damp”, so waterproofing the floor is not something the owner considers before laying a wooden floor or carpet.
If you lay a carpet on a concrete basement floor without adequate waterproofing, moisture will seep through and be captured in the absorbent wood or carpeting. The organic material in the carpet, combined with the moisture and the warmth of the house, creates an ideal environment for mould and mildew. Inevitably, this leads to odours, mouldy carpeting, mouldy walls, and rot. Wooden floors will soak up the moisture leading to swelling and buckling.
Thankfully, there are retrofit solutions for this, with waterproof tiles providing long lasting and durable flooring, hardy enough for daily wear. They also act as both a vapour barrier and a thermal break for your floor helping to lower humidity and improve energy efficiency. These can come in a variety of designs from rubberised tiles to waterproof carpet tiles for cosy domestic basement conversions.
WATERPROOFING A NEW BUILD
New build properties with basements or earth retaining walls always require careful waterproofing consideration due to the potential build-up of hydrostatic pressure. During bad weather, the earth surrounding the property can become so saturated that water ingress, cracks, and leaks can begin to appear in the walls of the property.
The best solution here is an integrated waterproofing system that is designed into the construction also known as a Type-B Waterproofing System.
CONTACT THE STRUCTUAL WATERPROOFING EXPERTS
If you want to waterproof any part of your property then the specialist team at Wise Basement Systems can help. Wise Basement Systems are the waterproofing experts at Wise Property Care one of Scotland’s leading property preservation firms.
Wise are approved by the PCA, Which? Trusted Traders, Safe Contractor and more and our fully trained, qualified and experienced team can recommend the best waterproofing solution for your property.
Call us today or fill in the contact form below and we’ll get back to you.