Generally, homeowners don’t spend too much time pondering about waterproofing their homes. There is a good reason for this. If done correctly during the construction phase, it is not something they should have to worry about anytime soon.
However, the exposure to natural elements and extreme weather conditions during the year do cause natural wear and tear. Little by little, water can seep through the walls making the inside of the house damp.
Additionally, it is even possible to develop cracks in the roof, or a terrace, due to expansion and contractions of concrete as temperatures fluctuate. Concrete tends to shrink when it is cold, making minute, harmless cracks become wider in wintertime. Over the course of years, as this process continues, the once harmless cracks become a major problem, if left untreated.
Why is Waterproofing Necessary?
There are a number of reasons for making sure that your house is waterproof. First and foremost is the health of the residents. If there is excessive moisture in any part of the house, it potentially becomes a propagating ground for moulds, fungi, and other microbes that can become a health hazard. Continuously breathing in air that is laden with moisture can lead to respiratory issues such as asthma. The ever-multiplying microbes can cause various infections, allergic reactions and irritations.
Secondly, waterproofing is essential to the structural integrity of the house. That untreated crack in the roof will only get worse over time, especially during the rainy season. Leaks in the roof have the capability to spread throughout the building and seep into the electrical wiring system of the house. This in turn can destroy electrical appliances. Too much moisture in the walls over a long time can weaken them, reducing the lifespan of the structure. If you are renovating your house without prioritizing waterproofing first, you may be wasting your money.
Lastly, it is all about aesthetics. If your home is water absorbent, eventually there will be unsightly stains on the walls or ceilings. A musty smell will permeate the air. With time the paint will start peeling, leaving a mess on the floor and spraying dust particles in the air. The unsightly, green mildew will be visible to all.
Sensitive Areas that Need Waterproofing in Your Home
Some parts of the house are more prone to seepage than others. That is why it pays to make sure they are tightly sealed. This means the homeowner needs to be vigilant. Before starting any home renovation project run a quick check to ensure that the sensitive areas are tightly sealed.
This is one place in the house which in contact with water constantly throughout the year. The space behind the shower area is especially prone to moisture. Make sure to check that none of the seals around the bathtub or shower area are broken.
The seals around countertops, backsplashes, and sink must be intact. Cracks in countertops can allow water to bleed into the space between cabinets and walls. Left untreated it has the potential to damage the wall and the cabinets. Sealing joints in time can save a lot of aggravation and money.
Exposure to direct sunlight and other elements of nature make them a greater risk for water seepage. The smallest cracks widen over time and become a big problem. Waterproofing becomes more important if a wooden frame is involved. Not protecting balconies against water deterioration can cause them to collapse.
This is one of the largest exposed areas that have to withstand rain, snow, wind, and sun. Any leakage here has the potential to penetrate all through the house. Make sure there are no overflowing gutters here. Not only must the shingles be intact but the underlay must also be in good condition.
Walls take the worst beating Mother Nature can throw at it and must withstand a direct hit when it comes to wind, rain, snow, and sun. They take the full force of all the natural elements. The smallest cracks begin to widen when water freezes at night and expands. This starts a chain reaction of more fissures where water can settle and cause damage. It is vital that any cracks here are properly sealed.
What Waterproofing Materials to Use?
There is a large variety of materials suitable for waterproofing different areas of the house. Price ranges also vary according to their quality. One thing to keep in mind is that quick fixes, while cheaper tend to be short-lived. It is best to deal with seepage problems with long-term solutions. A long-term solution will mean you don’t have to keep reapplying the quick solutions every few months and they can last decades. Also factor in the degree of dampness. Mild seepage may only require a single application of a sealant whereas severe situations may require more specialized treatment.
Masonry Paint is made out of latex and ceramic. It is good for applications on concrete, cement, stones, and bricks. It is especially good for your exterior surfaces, making them water, UV, and dirt resistant. Its UV-resistant properties protect the walls from cracking and peeling.
Epoxy Paint is good for waterproofing roofs and other exteriors. It is made using resins known as poly-epoxides and is very long-lasting. One reason for its long-term protection is that it is five percent thicker than most other floor paints. It is a good option for spaces like a garage floor, driveways, swimming pools, and decks.
Acrylic Paint is another waterproofing paint that can be used on all types of surfaces like concrete, masonry, wood, and clay. It is fast drying and requires no special tools for application. It is available for interior and exterior use.
Silicone Sealant is good for sealing sink areas in the kitchen and bathrooms. It can be applied to space where a wall and joint connect. It is a good way to keep moisture out. You can use it to seal areas around windows, toilets, and bathtubs. Furthermore, it can be used to waterproof small cracks in walls. There are other more powerful sealants, but the durability and flexibility of silicone sealants make them a top choice.
Concrete Silicate Sealer
Concrete Silicate Sealer is a bit pricy compared to other options but it is also more durable. Silicate-based sealers seep into the concrete where a chemical reaction occurs to form a strong blockade against moisture. If applied properly, they give the concrete greater strength while having no effect on its appearance. However, such sealers can only be used on untreated surfaces and multiple applications are necessary.
Polyurethane Sealants are extremely versatile. While most commonly used in commercial applications for waterproofing, they are good for residential use too. For home use, they are available in tubes that require a caulk gun to apply. They are capable of sticking to most surfaces like stone, concrete, wood, vinyl, metal, and plastic.
Co-Polymer Sealants also known as clear sealants are good for application on metal, tile, and glass. Appearing perfectly clear they are great for aesthetic purposes in places like the kitchen, basement, and bathrooms. You can even mix these with paint to aid in sealing walls. In addition to water, they also resist molds.
Flooring sealants are available in two main categories, namely, finish and sealant. The sealant can penetrate pores of materials like brick, cement, wood, and other permeable materials making them moisture-proof. Finish variant is an additional application that forms an appealing, shiny top layer. The additional finish layer helps protect hardwood floors against moisture and prolong life. Sealants require several applications, but once done water penetration will not be an issue.
Important Considerations When Purchasing Sealants for Waterproofing
When in the market for sealants, there are a number of factors to keep in mind. Price is not necessarily the only driving factor. You must consider durability. While a sealant may be more expensive, it could be because a single application will last years. Whereas a less expensive one may have to be reapplied every year, making it more expensive in the long run.
Silicon-based sealants tend to have long life spans. You should consider the ease of application. The incorrect application renders a sealant useless. The different places you need to waterproof have different flexibility rates. Putting a sealant that is not very flexible in a spot that requires flexibility can cause problems. Polyurethane sealants tend to be most flexible. Adhesion is another crucial factor. You don’t want to purchase a sealant for waterproofing tiles if it does not stick to them!
Waterproofing your home is a critical step in protecting against moisture. Spending a ton of money on home renovations can all go to waste six months down the line if the house is not protected against moisture seepage.