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Guide to Concrete Waterproofing

Last Updated Oct 11, 2011 · Written by Jaclyn Fitzgerald


Concrete is one of the most commonly used and most popular building products and you’ll see it everywhere in the home.  However, concrete is a porous material so it needs to be waterproofed in order to protect both it and the underlying structure.  There are different methods that you can use to waterproof concrete and we outline them here.  If you need to know anything else at all about waterproofing concrete, just speak to your local waterproofing professional who will be only too happy to help.

Crystalline Concrete Waterproofing


This is a permanent method of waterproofing concrete as the waterproofing itself actually becomes part of the concrete.  Crystalline concrete waterproofing works by using a crystalline compound that actually reacts with water and concrete. The result of this reaction is that millions of tiny crystals grow within the concrete, filling up the gaps, hairline cracks and pores.  Because the tiny gaps and pores within the concrete are completely filled, water cannot penetrate through at all – the concrete is completely waterproof.

Concrete Sealers


A sealer is a more common method of waterproofing concrete and you can choose from a penetrating sealer or a coating sealer.  A penetrating sealer sinks into the concrete itself and reacts with it in order to provide protection against water and other substances.  Penetrating sealers are great if you don’t want to change the look of the concrete at all, such as when you’ve used coloured concrete or otherwise applied a treatment to it.  A coating sealer forms a film over the top of the concrete and the film stops water from getting through.  Coating sealers can be clear or coloured, and are very easy to apply.  Be aware that both penetrating and coating sealers may need to be reapplied over time however.

Concrete Waterproofing Membranes


A concrete waterproofing membrane is a waterproofing agent available in either sheet or liquid form.  Sheet membranes are applied to the concrete using an adhesive and provide a permanent, waterproof barrier when correctly applied (with the necessary overlaps etc).  A liquid membrane is applied using a roller, paintbrush, or spray gun and it dries to form a rubbery membrane that completely covers and waterproofs the concrete.  These membranes are incredibly effective but may need to be repaired if they get torn or damaged in any way.

Cementitious Concrete Waterproofing


Cementitious concrete waterproofing is an effective method of waterproofing. It works by using a mix of a cement based compound, additives, water, and bonding agents that is applied to concrete in a slurry form.  The slurry then dries and it completely waterproofs the concrete.
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