In any residential or commercial building, there are usually only two main types of materials used for waterproofing – sheet or liquid membrane. Although neither one option is inherently better than the other, it all boils down to the building development requirements, time allowance, budget and environmental conditions.

Common applications of waterproof membranes:

  • Roofs / Terraces
  • Decks
  • Pedestrian paths
  • Carparks
  • Landscape
  • Toilets
  • Basements
  • Swimming Pools

Below, we explore the advantages and drawbacks of each waterproof membrane (Sheet-Applied vs Liquid-Applied / Fluid-Applied) to help you make an informed decision when it comes to waterproofing your building.

Sheet-Applied Waterproof Membrane

A waterproofing membrane that comes in the form of sheet rolls. There are several types of sheet applied waterproofing products primarily differentiated by how they adhere to the concrete surface. These include torch applied membranes, self-adhesive membranes and membranes that are applied using a liquid adhesive. Torch applied membranes are most commonly used type of membranes in waterproofing applications.

Advantages

Uniform thickness:

Since the sheet membranes are packaged in rolls that are applied onto the surface, you can be assured that the thickness of the membranes is uniform and even throughout.

Exact coverage:

The amount of coverage for each sheet membrane is already determined per roll. Given its consistent size/thickness, it is not subject to over or underuse like liquid membrane can be.

Wide range:

Can be applied in a wide range of weather conditions, and over green concrete.

Drawbacks

Not fitted to size:

Sheet membrane must be cut and pieced together to suit the size of your space.

Sealing details:

Requires special attention to seams, penetrations and changes in plane. Sealing seams and treating changes in plane or penetrations requires very fine attention to detail. In other words, it is not seamless, and any visible appearance of joints depends largely on the skills and workmanship of the applicator.

Labour intensive:

Installation is labour intensive and can be more costly.

Case Study: The ANZAC Memorial project

We've used torch applied bituminous waterproof membranes in many prestigious projects across the globe.

Over 12,000m²  of Torch-on (TREMproof 3000 and TREMproof 4000) was installed at the ANZAC Memorial project in Sydney, Australia, in a double layer for the water fountain and external walkways. Watch more to find out what went into this significant project to make it a success.




Liquid-Applied Waterproof Membrane

The waterproof membrane comes in liquid form, which is then either applied by spray, roller or brush. The liquid cures to a solid membrane either through:

  • Evaporation of solvent or water
  • Reaction with moisture from the air
  • Or in the case of a 2-component product – the reaction between the Pt A and Pt B when mixed.

The end result is a seamless, joint-free waterproofing membrane. Some types of liquid waterproofing membranes include water-based, solvent-based, high solids urethane or cementitious-based.

Advantages

Easy installation:

As a liquid-based waterproofing membrane, it can be spread very easily without being smoothed out tediously as compared to the sheet waterproofing membranes.

Full coverage in corners:

Because of its liquid form, the waterproofing membrane can be applied to every nook and cranny of a surface. This ensures an even and full coverage waterproofing with a uniform finish and allows for easy maintenance.

Versatile application options:

Liquid membrane waterproofing can be applied using a brush, roller or spray.

Drawbacks

Possibility of air bubbles:

This can be caused by incorrect or poor substrate preparation or a damp substrate.

Coverage inconsistency:

Because the waterproofing membrane is applied in a liquid form onto a surface that may be uneven and with a variable surface finish, it becomes more challenging to control the applied thickness.

Drying time:

Liquid membranes need time to dry and this delays the construction productivity since installation of flooring tiles cannot be done immediately unlike on sheet membranes.



Final Notes

Whatever your choice of waterproofing membrane, the most important thing is that it completely seals off any wet areas and prevents leaks or water damage. This ultimately boils down to selecting the appropriate type of system for your building/wet area and the workmanship of the applicator.

It is imperative that this part of the construction process is never compromised because a properly installed waterproofing system by a trained applicator will help to preserve the integrity of the concrete and save money on future maintenance costs.

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