When it comes to buildings, moisture is the enemy. Always. Moisture control is job one in construction planning. Most E&O insurance claims in the inspection industry involve moisture intrusion. Moisture is a top cause of building defects. Aside from the potential for your building’s degradation, health hazards like mold cause millions of dollars in medical bills annually. And black mold isn’t the only culprit. (In fact, there are many molds that are black – there’s no single type of black mold.) Many mold types can produce mycotoxins. Dallas is the top U.S. city for mold health issues, followed by Riverside-San Bernardino, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. In fact, the annual cost for allergies caused by mold and dampness is $3.7 billion. (It turns, out, 28% of us are genetically prone to mold-related health issues.)
Whether your building is new or old, moisture will always find its path of least resistance. And within 24 to 48 hours of water damage, mold will form. Some of these moisture pathways include:
- The building site not allowing for proper drainage
- Selecting moisture-sensitive building materials
- Poor prep and installation of moisture-proofing materials
- Poor gutter systems, condensation drainage systems, and drainage planes
- Water vapors infiltrating through your building envelope during humid weather days
- Poor water vapor exfiltration through your building envelope during cold weather months
WHERE DO I APPLY PRE-APPLIED VERTICAL WATERPROOFING
Bonded, pre-applied waterproofing membranes, a.k.a., “blindside membranes,” are applied to the blindside, or inside, of your vertical wall before you pour your vertical wall foundation. (For more information on what a blindside is, click here.)
WHY DO I APPLY VERTICAL PRE-APPLIED WATERPROOFING MEMBRANE?
Vertical pre-applied waterproofing membranes are applied to your vertical excavation walls to bond to your concrete. These membranes prevent water from migrating into your structure and causing moisture damage.
Aside from the moisture migration, in some cases, membranes can be incorporated as a barrier in a mitigation system for radon or methane. (Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, estimated to cause between 3% and 14%, per the World Health Organization.) The U.S. EPA found 1 in 3 homes in seven states were over the recommended action level for radon exposure. Hawaii has the lowest radon levels because it has a low uranium content in the rocks, as well as the rocks being porous, which enables air infiltration to do its job and dilute the radon concentration. These are the 10 states with the highest radon levels, per the EPA:
- South Dakota
So, how can you protect against moisture infiltration, as well as radon and methane? One way is by pre-applying waterproofing membranes before pouring your vertical concrete. Pre-applied membranes will protect your structure against moisture infiltration and all of the issues that come along with being unable to control this.
Where do you install pre-applied waterproofing membranes?
Pre-applied waterproofing, or sometimes referred to as “blindside waterproofing,” is installed in below-grade applications onto a soil retention system, such as piled walls, diaphragm walls, and the like. Building developers want to maximize their real estate footprint on the land available to them, so the exterior or positive-side waterproofing often is impossible because of their space constraints. In these situations, builders will use blindside waterproofing to maximize their land usage while still preventing and protecting their structures from seeing water damage and/or vapor intrusion.
Pre-applied waterproofing membranes are typically found on these installations:
- New basement construction
- Underground rail stations and tunnels
- Underground parking garages
- Tunnel shafts
- Elevator shafts
Whether your building project is a retrofit, refurbishment, or new construction, pre-applied waterproofing membranes will protect your structure in the following ways:
- Bridging cracks
- Lateral water underflow
- As a barrier to methane and radon
Our innovation team at W. R. MEADOWS has developed several products in our portfolio to help you perform pre-applied waterproofing to your vertical applications. Those products include:
Become an expert on W. R. MEADOWS’ pre-applied waterproofing solutions: call (800) 342-5976 to speak to one of our experienced sales associates.
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