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Basement Waterproofing Membranes Explained

Basement waterproofing membrane, or tanking membrane, is a type of structural waterproof membrane that is used to protect properties against penetrating damp, or as part of a cavity drainage system. Although membranes are a relatively new solution to dealing with damp problems they can be very successful when utilised in basement waterproofing.

If your basement is suffering from damp problems and water ingress then your contracted waterproofing specialists may well look at tanking membranes as a solution. To help you understand a little bit more about this basement waterproofing system we’ve outlined how they work and the different types.

How do Structural Waterproofing Membranes work?

Structural waterproof membranes are made from high performance polyethylene or polypropylene and are resistant to water, chemicals and extreme temperatures. The membranes are shaped with studs on one side that are designed to maximise an air gap which provides a channel for any water to safely be removed towards the drainage system on the basement floor. Basement tanking membranes are installed as part of an all-round basement waterproofing system.

What Are The Benefits Of Basement Waterproofing Membranes?

Waterproof membranes are very hardwearing, have a long life cycle and suffer no reactions to water which means they have very little need for repairs. Tanking membrane can be installed quickly and is flexible enough to be easily installed in a vast array of spaces. There is also very little maintenance involved which all means years of stress-free basement waterproofing

With cementitious tanking waterproof systems you may experience cracking from hydrostatic pressure or vibrations from the external environment. This common problem is not one that can be said of waterproof membranes. Waterproof membranes can also be plastered directly or dry lined which means that the membranes can easily become integral to your fixtures – perfect for basement conversions.

What Are The Types Of Basement Waterproofing Membranes?

All waterproofing membranes can be classed into 2 main groups – liquid systems and sheet-applied systems. These materials are shown below.

  • Bitumen
  • Cementitious high-build coatings
  • Composite layers
  • Elastomer
  • EPDM rubber (ethylene propylene diene monomer is a synthetic rubber)
  • Fabrics
  • Fibreglass
  • Geosynthetic (bentonite) clay liners
  • Mastics
  • Metal sheet
  • Polyethylene
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Polymer liners
  • Polypropylene
  • Polyurethanes
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • Resin coatings
  • Rubber
  • Silicate

The type of material that is commonly used for basement waterproofing, as mentioned previously, is the sheet-applied membrane, including polyethylene, plastic sheeting, polymer liners, polypropylene, polyurethanes and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

We will go deeper into the other waterproofing membrane materials in a future article.

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