The importance of Surface Preparation to the success of waterproofing membrane installations

waterproofing is a delicate business and one of the most important part of any project, and yet the most trivialized by professionals in the building and construction industry in West Africa. The unfortunate consequences are tales of woes and avoidable damages often caused by leakages and water infiltration after the project has been handed over. Each year moisture and water damages in building are responsible for billions of Naira in losses to home owners and real estate developers.

Preparing your surface is the most critical aspect of any waterproofing application. This is because Proper surface preparation is an important factor in ensuring the success of any waterproofing membrane, irrespective of whether it is bitumen felt membrane, Hot and cold Polyurethane membrane systems, EPDM Flexible cementitious systems etc.

Proper Surface preparation enables bonding between the membrane and the substrate. When you have loose sandy finish as a result of poor concrete or Mortar mix design, there is hardly any waterproofing membrane that will achieve its optimum performance on such a surface.  The all too familiar scenario in this instance is the di-lamination of the treatments from the concrete surface.

Good surface preparation requires that surfaces are free from all loose particles, droppings, clean, dry and dust free. You may need to even grind or sandblast the surface. If there are cracks, or damaged concrete parts, this will need to be filled with repair mortar or other suitable materials.

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Lesson to Learn: You will increase the durability of your waterproofing membrane by ensuring that your substrates are properly prepared before the placement of membranes and coatings

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