A Guide To Selecting The Best Waterproofing Membranes

A good waterproofing membrane will protect your building and structure from various elements. However, which type should you go for? In this post, we’ll tell you all about the multiple forms of waterproofing membranes and the factors to consider when selecting one. 

Waterproofing Membranes in Sheets

They are supplied in roll form, unrolled on location, and then set down on the surface to be treated. Contractors greatly favor bituminous waterproofing membranes. Bitumen is also known as asphalt. It is characterized by its sticky, dark, and highly viscous qualities. It’s a form of petroleum that is liquid or semi-solid.

Waterproofing Membranes in Liquid Form

This solution is delivered on-site in liquid form, as the name suggests. The treatment area is then either sprayed with the membrane or brush-applied with it. With air exposure, the liquid dries and produces a smooth, joint-free membrane. The thickness of the finished product may be altered to suit the demands of the site engineer, as they can always apply additional liquid chemicals per unit area.

There are two primary types:

  • Torch-applied bituminous membrane: bitumen is heated, somewhat melts, and is then pushed into the surface. It then bonds with the surface as it cools.
  • Bituminous self-adhesive membrane: These are protected by a release liner, which is taken off during installation. No torching is necessary; installation is safer and quicker, and great adhesion is still achievable at low temperatures. For instance, the Bituthene 4000 Roll is one great self-adhesive membrane option to consider.

How to Select the Best Waterproofing Membranes

To choose the best waterproofing membrane for your project, there are a few factors you should consider:

  • UV Stability: Determine if the UV stability level of the membrane is high enough for your area’s climate.
  • Elongation: This is essentially the stretchability of the membrane, measured in percentages. An elongation specification of at least 150% is recommended, with around 200% being ideal. For instance, the Bituthene 3000 Roll features great flexibility and can be easily used in hard-to-reach places and tight corners.
  • Breathability: The better the waterproofing ability of a membrane, the more likely it is that when even the smallest bit of water enters the structure, it remains stuck there. If this is of great concern for a specific area, you can opt for breathable membranes. They help to release water into the air as water vapor.
  • Tear Resistance: Membranes with good elongation do not necessarily have great tear resistance. Be sure to test it out for yourself by physically tugging a sample piece.
  • Abrasion Resistance – This is related to the membrane’s ability to withstand wear and tear. Will it hold up even as people are working on it?
  • Chemical Stability: Be sure to inquire about the possible chemical reactions the membrane may have with the building and environment. For instance, how does it fare in areas with exposure to soil or frequent rainfall?
  • Geometry: When the application area is in a complex shape (e.g., junction of a column and beam), going with a liquid waterproofing membrane is recommended. This is because a sheet membrane could potentially fold.
  • Case Studies: Ask for examples of past projects where the membrane has been used. This can give you a better idea of which waterproofing membrane option to go with.

We hope this guide gave you a better understanding of the types of waterproofing membranes available and how to go about selecting one. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Metro Sealant if you want recommendations!