In the last decade there have been a plethora of manufacturers introducing materials to the commercial waterproofing market. Most of these manufacturers had been in the roofing market and were looking for a way to increase market share.

In the last decade there have been a plethora of manufacturers introducing materials to the commercial waterproofing market. Most of these manufacturers had been in the roofing market and were looking for a way to increase market share. Designers should note that roofing and waterproofing applications - although similar in some aspects - require vastly different material attributes. This is especially true in below-grade applications.

Designers of below-grade waterproofing should thoroughly research materials prior to design. Remember, below-grade waterproofing failures include the cost of excavation and removal. Most manufacturers do not include these costs as warranty items; typical warranties only provide material to repair leaks. To avoid costly errors, the designers should research the manufacturer’s track record in the waterproofing industry and try to find out how responsive they are to problems.

In the design of below-grade waterproofing systems, the following material attributes are required:
  • Resistance to hydrostatic pressure.
  • Chemical resistance.
  • Low water absorption rate.
  • Uniform thickness of membrane.
  • Flexibility.
  • Performance in high ground water.
The manufacturer should be able to provide the relevant ASTM test results for all of these items.

To find out more about waterproofing material selection, read my column in the upcoming edition of Architectural Roofing & Waterproofing or you can always e-mail me questions at jdannunzio@irtparagon.