Imagine a condition:
A house is having a series of leakage spots at the walls & ceiling. They called the waterproofing guy and got the needful rectified. After the work has been complete & one fine day suddenly the Leakage happen to occur again with same intensity as earlier & customer calls up and narrates, “Hey! The waterproofing work undertaken by you is leaking again”.

A question comes often to the mind of the contractor and consumer as well
What failed that Waterproofing?’.

Let’s see the different possibilities involved here:

Consumer’s perspective:

Let’s get our feet in a consumer’s shoe, a Consumer usually thinks about following:

  1. Must have not undertaken work sincerely
  2. Must have not filled the cracks properly
  3. Must have put only one coat instead of recommended number of coats
  4. Must have used the compromised on the product quality used!
  5. What was the Supervisor there for?
  6. Must have engaged poor skilled labor or subcontractor
  7. Stupid contractor didn’t know how to do the work
  8. Contractor has cut on the corner to win this job
  9. Contractor didn’t understand my leakage problem
  10. Contractor is not competent enough to undertake that project
  11. Contractor must have made huge money of this job
  12. Etc etc

Contractor / Applicator’s perspective:

At the same time keeping feet in applicator’s shoe gives thoughts as follows:

  1. That surface was going to leak again, I have told the customer to spend more and get fixed properly
  2. I told them to treat the complete premises
  3. Customer didn’t brief exact problem precisely
  4. Customer might have trespassed during curing period
  5. Customer might have punctured the waterproofing
  6. Did I missed out to treat any part?
  7. Did the product failed?
  8. my team didn’t deliver the quality work?
  9. I guess supplier provide me with expired material
  10. Etc etc.

And because of above all these assumptions brings too much heated conversation between related parties including client, consultants, contractor, supplier, labors, supervisors etc.

Also Read: Importance of Choosing the Right Waterproofing Contractor

Read further the potential reasons of the Waterproofing failures.

     When any construction of a structure is undertaken, its been processed on the basis of the purpose of us (commercial, residential or others). Also the performances of the structure in terms of lead bearing capacity, ageing, earth quake resistance, waterproofing etc are optimised and relevant products with systems are selected.

     Later on the basis of the cost variation, client/contractor chooses the material & system application as per the available budget. It’s the first step of mistake.

     Always understand the solutions rendered during creation stage are usually strong and are part of the construction. Waterproofing undertaken post construction is added coating and can never be as strong as the waterproofing done at time of construction. This could be second reason of waterproofing failure.

Likeways, after the completion of construction and passing age of few years, the leakage problem arises due to following factors:

  1. Naturals:
    • Structural vibrations & Earth movements
    • Exposure to weather (Sun, Rain, Wind & at times Snow)
  2. Man-Made:
    • Dead-loads to the structure
    • Wrong selection of Product & Systems
    • Poor Workmanship during construction

Above mentioned factors are the major reason to damage the existing waterproofing in structure present since construction.

Also Read: Need of Waterproofing in Concrete Structure

But when Re-Waterproofed premises fails, following are the reasons for sure:

  1. Poor & Improper diagnosis of the problem source
  2. Study of the Structure
  3. Wrong Selection of Products
  4. Surface Conditions
  5. Wrong Application of Products
  6. Poor Value Engineering & Drainage
  7. Cutting of the corner
  8. Design Flaws
  9. Failures to complying Manufacturer’s Instruction
  10. Patch Work
  11. New Leakage Source Creation

Read in detail about Failures of Waterproofing:

  1. Poor & Improper diagnosis of the problem source:
    The source of leakage problem not necessarily be available at the visual spots. The water can seep in structure in any direction (specifically gravity is unaffected direction). Usually the visual spot and source of leakage problem are different and needs to be diagnosed thoroughly.
    At times contractors so called Experts by themselves deviate the scope of work of their favor and could convince consumer on basis of fear of additional damage to their structure and pocket.

    Also read: How to investigate Water Leakage?

  2. Study of the Structure:
    Structural vibration & earth movement being one of the natural reason which adds up to leakage, so the thorough analysis of the activity of the structure can speed up to jump to conclusion.
  3. Wrong Selection of Products:
    Selection of Right product is definitely a key to ensured waterproofing experience. The products in Waterproofing are of different quality and entitle different purpose of use. The product applied is not the right / ideal suitable product it could lead to fatal leakages and effectively cost the consumer more (one time for application, second for removal & third for application of right product).

  4. Surface Conditions:
    Even after selection of right product the waterproofed surface still leaks. One of the many reasons is poor surface adhesion or surface preparation.
  5. Wrong Application of Products:
    Usually a waterproofing system is composed of a few layers (primer, base coat, reinforcement coat, top coat, sealer coat) if this sequence is mistakenly changed or altered; whole result is changed.  

  6. Poor Value Engineering & Drainage:
    The drainage level & perspect of the engineering are missed out being a labour turned contractor and not experienced waterproofing contractor. Also the necessary drainage provisions are missed out.

    Remember: Waterproofing is a preventive & non-curative measure.

    Also read: Waterproofing Requirement

  7. Cutting of the corner:
    Sometimes even after selection of right product & doing prescribed surface preparation the surface waterproofed don’t show up the performance, it’s simply because of the untreated source or corner cutting in application of waterproofing system.
  8. Design Flaws:
    The failure of designing the structure member of the building structure towards termination with necessary sealing details.
  9. Failures to complying Manufacturer’s Instruction:
    One of the important and crucial parameter for the success & failure of the waterproofing.
    The products generally used are polymer blended in some or the other co-polymers. These blends have different pot life and different curing period. Failing to maintain & follow these instruction could be additional waste of time, efforts & value.
  10. Patch Work:
    At times, not accomplishing the site in total can lead to creations of the problem from the neighboring cracks and eventually the waterproofing work undertaken fails.
  11. New Leakage Source Creation:
    This is one of the authentic problem which can occur in any site (weather new construction or aged construction). The treated surface may create the adjacent crack line or the adjacent wall might be seeping the water towards the treated wall.
    There are too many, literally too many (our recorded cases of 68) possibilities of the new leakage / seepage source creation.



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