How long does waterproofing last?

Empty floor with modern building

So, how long does waterproofing last? It’s a question we’re often asked at Danrae Group and one without a definitive answer.

While basic waterproofing membranes should last at least ten years, they can last much longer given the right choice and circumstances. Conversely, poor quality waterproofing will rarely last the distance.

Danrae Group has broad specialisation spanning diagnostic, solution design, waterproofing, remediation, preventative maintenance and consulting. With longstanding experience, we’re the go-to for permanent waterproofing solutions in any sector.

There are three key factors that influence waterproofing longevity: membrane quality, quality of workmanship and post-project preventative maintenance. Here’s how they each play a role in your waterproofing solution, and the steps you need to take to ensure your waterproofing lasts for decades.

Heating and melting bitumen

The importance of membrane quality

Waterproofing membranes each have specific properties that lend them to specific uses.

Membranes need to have robust waterproofing abilities and be sturdy enough to withstand natural building movement, chemicals and harsh climates – and they need to suit the particular area of a building, such as a damp basement, exposed balcony or a flat roof.

The Danrae team is fully qualified and certified to work in every type of membrane, including liquid, PVC, TPO, peel and stick, and injection products, we provide tailored recommendations for every project, and we know the products inside and out – and that quality makes all the difference. As Wayne Spiteri, our Sales Director, explains:

“To do a repair you need to remove the existing membrane, lay down a new one and complete any remedial building such as carpentry or tiling. It can be very expensive. And if you don’t have the right product, you may need to do it all again in 10 years.

A cheap product might last 10 to 15 years. A quality PVC membrane might be a third more expensive but last up to 60 years, so there are incredible benefits long-term.”

Man using torch to melt the bitumen

Why workmanship matters

The second key factor in waterproofing longevity is workmanship. In 2016, the Australian Institute of Waterproofing revealed that, according to statistics, “Waterproofing accounts for just 1% of a building’s costs, yet water leaks and the resultant damage can account for 80% of all building defects.”

Both ineffective solution design and shoddy workmanship contribute to these waterproofing failures.

The weak points in any waterproofing systems are the points where horizontal and vertical surfaces meet. These natural gaps are a key area and one that careless waterproofers rarely pay attention to. An expert waterproofer will take into account the shape and surfaces of the space and design a comprehensive solution.

“When you can create a waterproofing design for a specific environment, choose premier products and install carefully and efficiently, you can expect longevity and the flexibility to rectify the situation if something does go wrong further down the track,” says Wayne

Thunderstorm at night

Preventative maintenance for long-term waterproofing

Once you have a quality waterproofing solution in place, you want it to last. And that’s why you shouldn’t forget about it after project handover.

External factors can play havoc with your waterproofing – from extreme storms to birds pecking at membranes, or even mishaps during other trades work.

With a preventative maintenance plan, we will inspect your membrane on a regular basis, compile a report if we find any areas in need of remediation, and if we see something small that needs an urgent fix, we’ll do it on the spot.

Preventative maintenance also has a key benefit in terms of your warranty. Suppliers can void a warranty if you fail to take basic steps to keep your membrane in good shape. On the other hand, if you keep your membrane waterproofing in good condition, they may even extend your warranty – and sometimes by years.

Two men checking a design while on the roof with a pool

How to make waterproofing last

As we’ve previously discussed, Sydney strata property defects have made headlines in recent years. To ensure your waterproofing lasts and you don’t see similar issues, you need a considered solution design, quality waterproofing and remediation and, ideally, ongoing preventative maintenance.

At Danrae Group, we provide end-to-end waterproofing for strata, construction, civil, commercial and government projects, so our team can look after every aspect of your waterproofing now and into the future.

Please contact us for a waterproofing solution that lasts and read more about waterproofing techniques.

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