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A Guide to Waterproofing Membranes

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Exterior waterproofing is an essential process for all commercial and residential structures, although the exact requirements will vary. This is achieved using different waterproofing materials and they are also implemented in a variety of methods, as would be applicable for the project’s specifics.

Membranes are one of the many waterproofing materials used today to reinforce building envelopes with reliable waterproofing. Since there are several different types of membranes that can be used to insulate building surfaces against moisture/water damage, we will be taking a quick look through some of the most commonly used waterproofing membranes next.

ICF Waterproofing Membrane

As the name itself suggests, Insulated Concrete Form membrane, aka ICF waterproofing membrane is designed to be used with insulated concrete forms primarily. However, the adaptable nature of this flexible, durable, self-adhesive, and bituminous membrane also makes it ideal for waterproofing any surface constructed from poured concrete or concrete masonry unit (CMU).

These are specialized forms of polymer-modified bitumen membranes which allow structures to stay waterproof even when subjected to harsh temperatures, UV rays, heavy weight loads, and air-leak susceptibility. Being capable of withstanding significant hydrostatic pressure as well, the potential of ICF membrane’s waterproofing applications is vast in commercial structures. Visit this page about ICF waterproofing on the official W.R. Meadows website to know more about the membrane, its method of application, and associated costs.

EPDM Waterproofing Membrane

EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer, and the synthetic rubber membranes exhibit remarkably high tensile strength. The waterproofing membranes add significant resistance against harsh weather conditions, heat, and even alkaline/acidic cleaners to reduce carbonation on applied surfaces.

Thermoplastic Waterproofing Membrane

Manufactured from polypropylene, ethylene-propylene, and reinforced with polyester plastic polymer, thermoplastic membranes are manufactured as sheets. Primarily used for waterproofing roofs and other flat surfaces, the material is particularly resistant to UV rays, heat, fie, and direct effects of weathering. It’s one of the cheapest options available for those looking to get a budget, waterproofing solution for their roofs.

Polyurethane Waterproofing Membranes

Polyurethane membranes are also used for waterproofing roofs, in addition to patios and decks. The liquid applied membrane is unfortunately limited to flat surfaces only, and cheaper variants are highly reactive to alkaline chemicals. Nevertheless, polyurethane membranes are quite reliable as far as their waterproofing, load bearing, crack-sealing, and anti-weathering properties are concerned.

Although it’s an expensive membrane, customers often prefer the seamless aesthetics which only polyurethane membranes can provide to roofs. There is distinction within the liquid-applied membrane though, in accordance with how many components (1 or 2) and what components the membrane has in it. You should be able to choose between aliphatic polyurethane, polymer modified polyurethane, and fiber-reinforced polyurethane.

There are often different names used for same or similar membranes, so it can get a little confusing. However, you can read through the naming quite easily, unless it’s a proprietary trademark. For example, a bituminous membrane is not a completely different membrane type, but a broad term used to designate all asphaltic (bituminous) waterproofing membranes. This includes the formerly mentioned ICF Waterproofing Membrane, since it is categorized as a polymer-modified bitumen membrane.

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