Tips for Choosing the Right Waterproof Building Material for Your Project (2023)

Tips for Choosing the Right Waterproof Building Material for Your Project (1)


Your building envelope keeps interior building systems and occupants protected from the elements, including heat, cold, wind and, in particular, water. Water intrusion is one of the most pervasive and difficult to control issues for any building owner or operator. If you’ve dealt with water damage, we feel your pain. If you haven’t, then you’re unusually lucky, and we’d like to know your next Power Ball numbers.

If not proactively dealt with, water damage can lead to mold growth, indoor air quality issues, cracking of the foundation and more. In addition to the compromisation of other concrete building envelope elements, premature failure of many internal and external building materials may also occur.

New build or renovation aside, the singular best way to protect your building is to choose the right waterproofing materials during the initial design phase. Protection can span concerns regarding wet weather conditions, water features, keeping occupants safe from contaminated groundwater or otherwise.

4 Considerations When Choosing Waterproof Building Materials

Tips for Choosing the Right Waterproof Building Material for Your Project (2)

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Regardless of your project, high-quality waterproof building materials will have several features in common. Look for those that differentiate themselves by offering:

  • As few seams as possible: In any material, the seam is the weakest point and most likely to fail over time or through repeated exposure to water.
  • Full adhesion to the substrate: Water always chooses the path of least resistance. Make sure your waterproof material does not allow for pockets or bubbling to form between the membrane and substrate.
  • Look for redundancy: Layers of waterproofing membrane will help the whole system last longer and let you address issues before they become critical problems.
  • Efficient installation: No matter the building type, time is money in a construction project. Choose a waterproof building material that can be installed quickly and efficiently without compromising quality and creating delays.

Choosing the Right Waterproof Building Materials Specific to Your Project

Tips for Choosing the Right Waterproof Building Material for Your Project (3)


Once you’re confident you have chosen a high-quality, high-performance waterproof solution, the next step is to select the product that will work for your specific needs.

Factors to consider include:

  • Whether your project is above-grade or below-grade
  • The overall area of the space that needs waterproofing
  • Slope and drainage included in the design
  • The presence of contaminants in the water
  • Desired durability and the necessary level of redundancy

If Your Project is Above-Grade

Above grade waterproofing is essential. A structure that has no flashings, no sealants and no membranes on the deck or balcony area won’t last more than a few years. Products used for above-grade waterproofing also differ substantially from their below-grade counterparts.

Above-grade waterproofing products must be watertight, adaptable to a range of temperatures, resistant to UV light, and in some cases aesthetically pleasing. Balconies, parking decks, rooftop terraces and plazas need waterproofing to protect the building envelope from moisture ingress.

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That’s why builders feel confident with EPRO’s Deck Protection System. It guards against water infiltration on podium decks, green roofs, balconies, and planters. You can use EPRO’s e.Protect+ system for large projects with two layers of reinforced membrane. Or you can use EPRO’s e.Proformance system for small, lightweight projects.

If Your Project Is Below-Grade

Waterproofing below grade brings with it a unique set of challenges. Concrete foundations may be under continual hydrostatic pressure even when groundwater is not present; this is caused when the soil around the foundation is less compacted than the soil in the larger surrounding area. This causes water to collect in the looser soil, keeping it close to the foundation where it can potentially damage the foundation.

Unfortunately, waterproofing a foundation isn’t always that simple. In many areas, new construction sites are situated on brownfields or repurposed industrial properties. Here, issues like contaminated groundwater mean contractors need to choose a product that mitigates vapor intrusion by keeping out solvents and other organic chemicals along with water.

At a recent construction site of a 110,000-square foot office building store, contractors and project managers needed a below-grade waterproofing membrane to meet their site condition requirements. The office building was built on a contaminated wetlands area in Playa Vista, CA.

For this project, contractors working with waterproofing and environmental experts chose EPRO’s below-grade E.Protect+ System composite waterproofing system. This system keeps groundwater, methane gas and organic solvents out of the building, and it is designed to adhere to the concrete quickly and will not sink or settle as the surrounding soil subsides over time.

If Your Project Is Smaller

Smaller area projects like a balcony or large planters may only need limited waterproofing. While all concrete is porous, these areas are less likely to be exposed to significant standing water, hydrostatic pressure or traffic, so a lighter waterproofing product may be sufficient.

A concrete waterproofing product like EPRO’s above grade E.Proformance Deck Protection System is designed with smaller spaces in mind. It offers 70 mils in three layers of redundant protection that can be installed over concrete topping slabs, plywood substrates and highly sloped decks.

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A thinner, lighter waterproofing membrane can be installed faster and provides the necessary protection when installed in areas that drain quickly and where standing water isn’t an issue.

If You Need Durable Protection Over a Large Space

Tips for Choosing the Right Waterproof Building Material for Your Project (4)


According to Angie’s List, the cost of fixing basement space flood damage can range from $10,000 to $50,000 for a residential space and significantly more for a larger commercial space depending on the amount of water and extent of the damages. The larger the space, the larger the risk, which is why investing up front with waterproofing is so important.

A great example of investing upfront is The Venetian. It is a global attraction, primarily because of its rooftop pool. It spans two acres and is considered to be somewhat of a structural wonder. It exemplifies that there are swimming pools — and then there are Las Vegas swimming pools.

During a recent renovation, the entire pool deck was resealed, requiring contractors to expose and strip away more than three acres of the old waterproofing.

Vegas winters can be windy and lead to an excess of dust and debris on construction sites. In situations like this, contractors could benefit from a concrete waterproofing product that applies quickly and adheres fully to the substrate to prevent the potential for damage once the pools are filled and operational again.

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For the Venetian project, the chosen solution was EPRO’s E.Protect+, which provides 136 mils of protection in three redundant layers, helping to ensure the system’s integrity, even with the adverse wind and dusty conditions.

If You Need to Waterproof Quickly

Efficiency is critical in any project, and waterproofing concrete as quickly as possible helps reduce the chance of water intrusion, even during construction.

At the Ritz Carlton in Paradise Valley, AZ, the 200-room hotel surrounded by villas and single-family homes needed two below-grade parking garages. However, the waterproofing product selected initially wasn’t available. For such a high-profile project, delays could be damaging.

To keep the project on track, the general contractor selected EPRO E.Protect e.spray to add an 80 mil waterproofing barrier. This product can be applied to even green uncured concrete, which kept the project on schedule and accelerated the timelines.

Which Waterproofing Product Is Right for You?

With warranted waterproofing and contaminant barrier systems for below-grade applications, including shoring walls, walls, underslabs, and above grade deck applications, EPRO is the #1, single-source provider for your entire project.

EPRO offers a “good - better - best” system for each application, which allows customization and flexibility to perfectly match an EPRO system to your project based on budget, site condition, construction materials, timeline and desired level of protection.

Choosing the best waterproof building materials will be critical to any project’s success and the building’s longevity. If you need help selecting a quality waterproof product, or collaborate on an upcoming project, contact the experts at EPRO.

(Video) Materials And Their Properties


What are the best waterproofing materials for your building? ›

As promised, we will give you now a comprehensive list of waterproofing materials.
  1. POLYURETHANE. Polyurethane is considered one of the best waterproofing materials. ...
  3. EPDM RUBBER. ...

What should be the properties of water proofing materials? ›

The materials for waterproofing in effect should have properties like water-tightness, flexibility, crack-bridging ability, bonding strength, breathability, resistance to UV radiations, microbial attacks, fungus growth, mechanical stresses, insulation characteristics and above all the cost effectiveness.

Why is it important to choose the right materials to make an object? ›

From design to manufacturing, choosing the right materials ensures the highest possible standard for the finished product. This is a consideration that should be taken into account throughout the entire process, from the initial planning stages to the delivery of a final product.

What are the three factors to be considered when choosing the right material answer? ›

Explanation: The basic three things to consider while choosing a material are the cost of the material, the producer of the material, and the brand of the material.

What are the methods of waterproofing & materials used for waterproofing? ›

Types of Waterproofing Methods
  • Cementitious Waterproofing.
  • Liquid Waterproofing Membrane.
  • Bituminous Membrane.
  • Bituminous Coating.
  • Polyurethane Liquid Membrane.

What are the general recommendations for waterproofing? ›

As a general rule, all smooth surfaces such as glass and metal require a primer. Surface with poor strength and high porosity would also need priming / sealing. Various primer systems including epoxy, moisture curing PU, silane / Siloxane based primers and latex based products are widely available in the market.

What is waterproof material in construction? ›

Polyurethane is a highly popular liquid waterproof membrane that can be in the form of a water-based, acrylic-based or even a hybrid type product. It is ideal for use in many different situations including concrete and timber surfaces in both internal and external situations. Polyurethanes cure to form a tough seal.

Why is waterproofing important in construction? ›

Bad waterproofing creates serious risks to the integrity of the building. Construction projects may suffer structural damage due to poor or insufficient waterproofing of the roof and concrete. Cracks in the foundation or joints exposing to water can lead to more serious structural problems.

Why waterproofing of any building is necessary? ›

It is very important to waterproof your home or building from all possible damage. No waterproofing can lead to the development of cracks, paint peel off and even molds, mildew and air contaminants. It is also a great risk for the structure and foundation of the building.

What is a sustainable waterproof material? ›

Recycled polytetrafluoroethylene. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene widely used in the textile industry. It makes quality, durable, performance, and waterproof fabrics.

How many types of waterproof are there? ›

What are the types of waterproofing? The most common types of waterproofing are cementitious waterproofing, liquid waterproofing membrane, bituminous membrane, bituminous coating, and polyurethane liquid membrane.

What are the types of waterproofing materials their benefits & uses? ›

Different Types of Waterproofing Methods Popularly Used In Construction
  • Cementitious Waterproofing.
  • Liquid Waterproofing Membrane.
  • Bituminous Coating Waterproofing.
  • Bituminous Membrane Waterproofing.
  • Polyurethane Liquid Membrane Waterproofing.
26 Mar 2019

What are the areas in the building that needs waterproofing? ›

In building construction, waterproofing is a fundamental aspect of creating a building envelope, which is a controlled environment. The roof covering materials, siding, foundations, and all of the various penetrations through these surfaces must be water-resistant and sometimes waterproof.

What is one of the most important properties of a material when choosing materials to be in an electrical circuit? ›

Electrical resistivity and conductivity is an important property for materials. Different materials have different conductivity and resistivity. Electrical conductivity is based on electrical transport properties.

How it is important in selecting right materials in the application of engineering? ›

In the long run, understanding the process used in material selection will enhance the process of engineering design analysis, will reduce cost and accelerate the development schedule and provide the project the best chance of success.

What is the importance of choosing the right materials and tools for your work? ›

The right tools can help you work faster and more efficiently, and they can also help you avoid mistakes and errors. The right tools help you do a better job. With the right tools, you can work more efficiently and get the job done right. It is important to select the right tools for the job when working with tools.

What are the four 4 basic steps in material selection process? ›

The materials selection process for a component or joint between components involves these steps:
  • Identify the design requirements.
  • Identify the materials selection criteria.
  • Identify candidate materials.
  • Evaluate candidate materials.
  • Select materials.
29 May 2017

What is the first thing that need to be identified always in choosing the right material? ›

Mechanical and chemical properties are the first thing you must consider. They determine the product's functionality and lifetime. You need to understand how the product will be used and find suitable materials. Ask suppliers for the property sheets of different materials and compare them.

What concrete is waterproof? ›

Concrete is not waterproof

Concrete is naturally porous and not waterproof. It actually absorbs water quite well, making it an ideal surface for airport runways, sidewalks, and pool decks. But when water absorption is not desired, like the shell of an in-ground swimming pool, higher density shotcrete is needed.

What tools are used for waterproofing? ›

Equipment and Tools
  • Portable Torch Kit 1 Product.
  • Notched Squeegee 2 Products.
  • Dust Shrouds 3 Products.
  • 24 Seg PCD 2 Products.
  • Magic Trowel 2 Products.
  • Tape 1 Product.
  • Rollers 9 Products.
  • Pro Grade Mixing Paddle 1 Product.

Which waterproofing is best for roof? ›

Bitumen is a good waterproofing material due to its nature. It is easy to apply and economical. Bitumen-based liquid membrane and bitumen-based roll membrane materials are the most well-known, economical, and high-performance materials used for roof insulation.

Which type of waterproofing is most expensive waterproofing? ›

Polyurethane liquid membrane method of waterproofing is used for the flat roof area and exposed to weathering. This waterproofing method is expensive.

What is best membrane for waterproofing? ›

Polypropylene membrane

It is a very efficient and durable waterproofing material used in most constructions. It is a common waterproofing material used on concrete flat roofs . Apart from concrete roofs and low-pitched roofs, other areas of application are concrete gutters, basements and retaining walls.

What is the best way to waterproof a concrete roof? ›

The best option which is Polyurethane Coating. The procedure involves surface preparation with wire brushing followed by cleaning and filling the exposed cracks with elastomeric material. Then priming the surface for better adhesion of the PU coating. Then apply the coating using brush/roller/spray in two coats.

What are the benefits of waterproofing? ›

Waterproofing is essential to help reduce moisture levels in the interior surfaces, preventing water damage and structural breakdown across common surfaces such as walls, ceilings, basements, floors, rooftops and, bathrooms.

Which is best waterproof or water resistant? ›

In short, water repellent provides better protection than water resistent, but is still less protective than waterproof. In a downpour, it's going to do fairly well, but waterproof will always be best.

Which of these is used as a waterproofing material in construction? ›

Polyurethane liquid membrane method of waterproofing is used for the flat roof area and exposed to weathering. This waterproofing method is expensive. Polyurethane Liquid Membrane can offer higher flexibility.

Which cement is good for waterproof? ›

Waterproof cement is the name given to a portland cement to which a water-repellent agent has been added. Hydrophobic cement is obtained by grinding portland cement clinker with a film-forming substance such as oleic acid in order to reduce the rate of deterioration when the…

What is the common material used in the waterproof membrane? ›

Polyurethane Liquid Membrane

Also commonly abbreviated as PU, it is one of the most common waterproofing materials used. Polyurethane offers a seamless waterproofing membrane and seal; it can fill capillary cracks extremely well while decreasing the concrete's water absorbency.

Which material is used for quick waterproofing of soil? ›

Sheet waterproofing membrane

The most common type of sheet based membrane is a bituminous waterproofing membrane. This type of membrane is stuck to the substrate with a hot tar based adhesive using blowtorches.

Why is waterproof membrane important? ›

A high-quality foundation waterproofing membrane serves as the all-important barrier between the concrete and the surrounding earth. It helps prevent water infiltration and can even resist harmful contaminants from entering the structure.


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