Home Home-improvement Waterproofing – What You Need to Know

Waterproofing – What You Need to Know

by Gary Moody
Retaining Wall Waterproofing

Whether you’ve just bought a house, you’re carrying out routine maintenance, or you’re thinking of renovating, you should never underestimate the importance of waterproofing.

Water damage can be among the most insidious forms of damage around the home. It’s a progressive and aggressive problem that, once started, will only spread and get worse. To make matters extra tricky, it can be hard to detect until the damage is done and, if not addressed early, can be very costly to repair.

When it comes to water damage, you’re best off taking a preventative approach. Because prevention is better than cure, right! This means taking care to waterproof any wet areas or areas that might be vulnerable to water damage.

It also means being able to recognise the early signs of water damage and understanding the causes, sources and risks of water damage around the home.

So, we’re going to run you through a few things you need to know about identifying and preventing water damage around the home.

Signs of water damage

If you can recognise the early signs of water damage or identify potential causes of water damage, you could end up saving yourself a huge amount of money and heartache down the road.

Here are some of the main indicators of potential water damage:

  • Pooling water (either inside or around the home)
  • Mould or mildew (could be on building structures, furniture or even your clothing)
  • Interior condensation or humidity
  • Odours (including mould, mildew or damp)
  • Damp spots on walls, floors or ceilings
  • Peeling paint
  • Rust
  • Warped paneling
  • Mysterious stains
  • Termite damage (since moisture attracts termites)
  • Swelling walls
  • Rotting timber

While these might not necessarily be signs of water damage, they may indicate the risk of water damage and should be checked out immediately.

Identifying vulnerable areas

Many areas around the home can be prone to water damage. Obvious at-risk areas are wet areas like kitchens, bathrooms and laundries. Besides the surface areas, like kitchen sinks and shower tiles, any internal areas that house water pipes can also be vulnerable to water damage.

Lower levels (since water flows down) like basements and cellars, as well as foundations, are also particularly prone to water damage.

Since the roof is your home’s first line of defense against the rain, your roofing and guttering are hugely vulnerable to water. Making sure you guttering is undamaged and flowing clearly is of vital importance when it comes to ensuring proper drainage around the home.

And it’s not just the structural elements in and around the house that are at risk. Water damage can take its toll on your garden and other outdoor areas like sheds, fences, retaining walls, balconies, driveways and footpaths.

When it comes to outdoor jobs, like balcony waterproofing in Melbourne, things can get a bit complex as you’re dealing with a number of different surfaces, materials and joins that may be vulnerable to damage.

Take a proactive approach

Once you’ve identified the vulnerable areas around your home, you can take steps to protect them from any potential damage.

If you’re living in an old house, it’s possible the wet areas were never properly waterproofed or were waterproofed using outdated methods. If your home was renovated on the cheap, then corners may have been cut when it came to waterproofing.If you’re unsure, it may be worth getting a licensed waterproofer to check over the wet areas of your home to make sure they’re up to standard.

Depending on the surface or the room, waterproofing can take a variety of forms, from a simple tube of sealant to multiple coats of sheet and paint-on membranes under your bathroom tiles.

While minor waterproofing jobs around the house are fine for any DIY handyman, if you’re doing something major, like a full bathroom renovation, it’s important to obtain the services of a certified waterproofer. Internal and external waterproofing is specialised work and must be carried out in line with Australian Standards AS3740 and AS4654. Any problems, mistakes or cut corners can lead to building code violations, may affect your insurance and could end up being hugely costly in the long run.

While some outside jobs, like retaining wall waterproofing, may be easy enough for a DIY handyman, it might be worth seeking the services of a drainage or stormwater engineer to inspect the drainage around your home. If you have significant drainage problems, then a simple waterproofing might not solve the problem.

Some things to bear in mind

Waterproofing takes time. Depending on the job, a layer of waterproofing can take up to 24 hours to dry and some jobs need four layers. Drying can also take longer in humid conditions or in winter, so you need to make sure you factor in the right amount of time to get the job done properly. You should also make plans for alternative facilities since you won’t be able to use the area while it’s being waterproofed.

Waterproofing can be expensive. You could be looking at thousands of dollars to fully waterproof a bathroom. And even more if there’s already water damage that needs to be repaired. Waterproofing should be viewed as an investment. It may cost you up front, but it will definitely save you money in the long term.

Waterproofing can be complex. Consider balcony waterproofing in Melbourne: it may involve treating and sealing the balcony surface, making sure doors and windows are properly sealed, directing water drainage away from the balcony surface and more. This may involve the work of a variety of contractors.

At the end of the day, factoring in waterproofing to any repairs or renovations is an absolute no-brainer. It’s also important to make waterproofing part of your regular home maintenance schedule if you want to keep your home in the best possible condition.

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