What You Need to Know About Waterproofing Your Concrete

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Waterproofing concrete is very important. Not just for the little things, like keeping puddles from ruining your freshly painted floor, or making it easier to re-coat after a storm. But also for larger things: keeping the foundation of a building strong, and preventing cracks in walls from spreading, and waterproofing pipes, and so on.

Waterproofing concrete has been around for a long time; there are manuals detailing how to do it and what chemicals to use. But that’s not enough: even after you know how to waterproof concrete, it can still be hard to do it right.

Why? There are a lot of different kinds of problems with waterproofing concrete. The simplest problem is that you don’t always want your waterproofing to be waterproof – if you want your floor to be able to breathe during the summer, the best thing is not plastic sheeting but an air space between the plastic and the floor. And if you do want your floor completely waterproof, it’s not always obvious how much insulation you need.

And then there are all sorts of legal issues, especially if you’re doing work for someone else’s property: whether you’re going to get paid for doing the work (called “compensation” in shorthand) and whether you

Waterproofing concrete is a hot topic, but it’s usually about the wrong thing.

Waterproofing concrete is about making sure water can’t get in. But water can get in all the same. Water can get in if you drop it from a height or if it rains or floods. So that is not the main thing to worry about. The main thing to worry about is getting rid of that big hole in your basement wall, where the brickwork has cracked and water gets in all the time, but doesn’t leak out.

Waterproofing concrete is just one way of filling up that hole and making sure there’s no more water coming in; it’s not even necessarily the best way at a particular site. One good waterproofing technique is to put rock walls on either side of the crack, fill up the gap with concrete, and pour some grout into it so that any water that leaks through will drain right out of there. This method works well—if you live in an earthquake zone.

If you don’t live in an earthquake zone, you might want to see if your contractor can recommend another technique for your site. It’s not easy to waterproof concrete without having cracks or holes; but if you have them, those are the things that

We are often told to stop “wasting” water. But we don’t use it all up: a lot evaporates or escapes through the soil. And even if we spilled every drop, it would quickly evaporate into the atmosphere. Therefore, wasting water is not a problem.

Wasting water is a problem when you want to waterproof something. Concrete is one of the most commonly used waterproofing materials, but it doesn’t work very well. Water just soaks right through. The reason concrete doesn’t work so well is that it’s not really waterproof at all; it just makes the water behave like a liquid when it hits the ground.

Waterproofing concrete is easy. The trick is to make water behave like a solid, which means making it absorb more water when it hits the ground than when it hits concrete. This can be done with various additives, but the best additive for a particular job is gravel.*

One of my jobs was to install these new waterproofing systems on many of the big bridges in Boston, including the Longfellow Bridge and the Zakim Bridge (which I also call “the umbilical cord bridge,” because they link North and South Boston). One of my fellow workers was Tom Messina, who had recently moved

Waterproofing concrete is often used as a metaphor for the general problem of waterproofing buildings. But it’s not quite the same thing.

Waterproofing concrete is a technique for sealing concrete against water penetration, not a way of preventing water from getting in or out. It is one of a number of techniques that can be used to prevent water damage.

It also has important advantages over other techniques. Waterproofing usually makes a building smaller, but in some cases it can make it larger and more comfortable while maintaining the level of protection you get with any technique.

Edward Sanders, who has installed more than 10 million square feet of waterproof concrete, has written an excellent article about waterproofing concrete at The Concrete Network.

If there is one thing that has caused the loss of more homes in recent years than any other, it is water damage from the rain. Rainwater can come in through cracks in your roof and leak into your living space, and worse, it can also soak under your foundation and find its way into your crawlspace. Rainwater is not only unsightly; it can cause serious damage to your home.

The good news is that concrete is a pretty good material for waterproofing your house. Concrete is an excellent building material because it absorbs water very well. Waterproofing concrete has been the subject of much research, and there are a number of ways to do it successfully.

Waterproofing concrete requires using some type of water-resistant sealant around the perimeter of the concrete wall before it sets up. The sealant should be applied with a brush or roller, leaving no gaps between the sealant and the surface of the concrete wall. Ideally, you will be able to apply several coats of sealant without any visible gaps between them.

The only way to thoroughly waterproof concrete is to add a bit of grout. Grouting is like mortar, except it doesn’t contain cement and it doesn’t harden. It’s just a liquid that can act as a sealant between two surfaces. You mix it into the concrete in one of three ways:

1) For new concrete, you pour it in while it’s still wet and let it dry out.

2) For old concrete, you pour it in when the concrete has dried enough to be workable. You let the grout dry for about 24 hours and then you can start working on waterproofing the concrete.

3) For existing structures, you simply top off the existing waterproofing with grout.

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