With the truth in the statistics it is clearer than ever that home renovators and property owners face unfortunate odds when it comes to waterproofing. The answer is in education.
Waterproofing has been around a long time, liquified heated tar was used in ancient times to waterproof objects and materials and even today tar and oil based waterproofing is still in use. But the construction has changed, we now rely on thin walled products, fibre cement, plaster and timber frame construction. The mass of a building will no longer provide security against the ingress of water. This is probably the reason why more than ever before we see the rise in water problems.
Architecture has opened up many possibilities in design for balcony construction over living spaces, light wells, roof top decks. But these come with strict requirements, sadly the building industry can be rife with poor adherence to the standards required in these critical areas. Areas where not only UV light and heat play a massive role but wind force and building subsidence. People are not aware of the massive force these exert on the subfloor membranes, most often the only layer separating the occupier from the outside elements, namely water.
The cost of rectification is astronomical in comparison to what a properly scoped waterproofing system would be. It’s true to say a stitch in time saves nine. In most cases sheet membrane systems are the most effective in creating extremely long lasting external membranes, spray on polyurethane and liquid rubber come close second.
Stricter enforcement of the standard of waterproofing requirements is absolutely necessary but until this becomes legislated and legally binding in the construction industry home owners and builders must educate themselves and ensure the strict requirements for watertight construction is followed and if possible exceeded.
Simple it seems but to change people and industries with current set practices is very difficult. People are afraid to be wrong, afraid to admit that they have not been strictly thorough in the past. To change is in a way an admission of guilt in this. And it is this which we are up against on the peer to peer level.
Be assertive in your demands for a performance waterproofing system. Ensure you have a qualified trades and an experienced set up for the waterproofing both in your bathroom and out. Know the requirements for wet areas and choose carefully when selecting a contractor to carry out the works. Professional trade waterproofers will have high attention to detail as the work requires. Hire dedicated specialists over tiler/ waterproofers and builder handyman waterproofers. Specialists base their income on the security of the work they provide whereas all in one workers have multiple concerns and more often than not these are the jobs that fail.
We have to surrender total control to others in the day to day, but that doesn’t have to mean we are forced to accept the low standards that proliferate some levels of the construction industry. Choose quotes based on the merits of their level of expertise, past jobs and if they hire specialists, choosing a quote based on costs alone is wrong. You will always invest more in quality, but it will stand the test of time and save money in the long term.