You’ve probably noticed foundations or basements leaking water during rainy weather and thought to yourself, “There has to be a better way to waterproof buildings!” Well, there is – it’s called an integral waterproofing compound. Integral waterproofing is a special additive you mix into concrete, mortar, or stucco that makes the material itself waterproof. How cool is that? No more messy surface treatments or coatings to reapply every few years.
Integral waterproofing compound contains active chemicals that react with the concrete during the curing process. Millions of small waterproof stones develop as a result of this process, filling the pores and capillaries in the concrete and preventing water molecules from passing through. The concrete ends up waterproof, but still breathable so moisture vapor can escape. For more than 50 years now, contractors have used integrated waterproofing to build strong, lengthy-lasting waterproofing in residential and business foundations, retaining walls, planters, and different systems.
Pretty clever technology, right? If you’re planning a building project and want maximum protection from water damage, an integral waterproofing compound is definitely something you should know about. In this article we’ll explore how it works, the different types available, and how you can take advantage of this product.
Let’s dive in!
What Is an Integral Waterproofing Compound?
An integral waterproofing compound is a concrete admixture used to make concrete structures water-resistant. Unlike surface sealants that are applied after the concrete has cured, an integral waterproofing compound is added directly to the concrete during batching to create waterproof concrete.
How It Works
Integral waterproofing compound contains active chemicals that react with the concrete during the hydration process as it hardens.
The waterproofing compound is added to the concrete at the time of batching – usually in liquid or powder form. It is thoroughly mixed into the concrete, distributing the active ingredients evenly.
Once the concrete is poured and starts to harden through hydration, the integral waterproofing compound reacts with the concrete, generating non-soluble crystals that plug up pores and capillaries. This prevents water from seeping through.
The waterproofing compound also usually contains hydrophobic agents that help repel water, as well as plasticizers to make the concrete denser and more durable. All of this results in a waterproof barrier within the concrete. With the proper dosage of a high-quality integral waterproofing compound, you can have concrete that is waterproof for the lifetime of the structure.
Compared to surface sealants, the integral waterproofing compound provides complete protection and requires no reapplication. For waterproofing projects, it is a smart, cost-effective solution.
How Does Integral Waterproofing Compound Work?
Integral waterproofing compound works by actually becoming part of the concrete itself. Unlike surface sealers that just coat the outside of concrete, integral waterproofing mixes right into the concrete during batching and casting.
When the concrete cures, the waterproofing chemicals react to form a barrier within the concrete that prevents water and moisture from passing through. This internal barrier is much more durable and long-lasting than any surface coating.
There are a few ways integral waterproofing compound can work:
- Hydrophobic pore blocking. The waterproofing chemicals fill in pores and capillaries in the concrete, blocking the pathways for water to seep through.
- Crystalline formation. Some waterproofing admixtures contain chemicals that react with byproducts of cement hydration to form millions of tiny waterproof crystals throughout the concrete. These crystals fill pores from within to create a water-tight barrier.
- Membrane formation. Other integral waterproofing admixtures react to form a thin, continuous membrane throughout the depth of the concrete. This membrane seals pores and voids to prevent water penetration.
No matter the mechanism, an integral waterproofing compound provides comprehensive protection against water damage and moisture for the lifetime of the concrete. By integrating the waterproofing into the concrete itself, there are no coatings to scratch, peel, or wear off over time. Your concrete will stay dry for good.
What are the advantages of an Integral waterproofing compound?
Integral waterproofing compound is a versatile and durable solution for waterproofing concrete. Some of the main advantages of using this type of waterproofing include:
- Seamless Protection -The integral waterproofing compound is mixed directly into the concrete during batching, so it provides complete, seamless protection. There are no joints or seams where water can seep through, unlike surface-applied waterproofing treatments.
- Long-Lasting- Once the concrete has cured, the integral waterproofing compound becomes a permanent part of the concrete matrix. It won’t break down or deteriorate over time and has a lifespan equivalent to the concrete itself. Your waterproofing solution will last for the lifetime of the structure.
- Resists Hydrostatic Pressure –Integral waterproofing compound is able to withstand significant hydrostatic pressure from groundwater.
- Low Maintenance –Unlike surface sealants or membranes, integral waterproofing compound does not require frequent inspections, repairs, or touch-ups. It is a low-maintenance solution that continues working effectively for decades with no additional upkeep needed.
- Cost-Effective –Although an integral waterproofing compound requires an initial investment, it ends up being very cost-effective due to its long lifespan and minimal maintenance needs. It also prevents expensive water damage and repairs that would otherwise be required in its absence.
In summary, the integral waterproofing compound provides comprehensive, durable, and long-lasting waterproofing for concrete structures in a convenient, low-maintenance, and cost-effective manner. By integrating waterproofing directly into the concrete matrix, it is able to overcome many of the disadvantages of surface-applied methods.
So, there you have it. Integral waterproofing compound is a specialized concrete admixture that makes concrete water-resistant from within. It protects concrete structures from water damage for the long haul without changing the appearance or requiring surface treatments. By integrating the waterproofing agent right into the concrete during mixing, it becomes an inherent part of the material.
Using integral waterproofing compounds in new construction or renovation projects is really a no-brainer. No need to deal with messy surface coatings or treatments that can break down or require reapplication over time. With integral waterproofing, you get durable water resistance built right in for the lifetime of the concrete.
For any concrete structure, an integral waterproofing compound delivers peace of mind that water will stay out where it belongs. So next time you have a project involving concrete, specify integral waterproofing and rest assured you’ll never have to worry about water damage again.