The Importance of Masonry Waterproofing

Photo of author

By admin

Masonry is highly vapor permeable but can be impervious to moisture with the proper waterproofing. Different foundation materials react to temperature and moisture changes differently, so the choice of waterproofing process will depend on which type of foundation you have.

Masonry waterproofing treatments are either transparent films or penetrant repellents. Films create a surface on the masonry that reduces vapor transmission, while penetrant repellents are absorbed into the masonry and line the pores.

Sealing Cracks

Masonry waterproofing is necessary for brick buildings to protect the integrity of the masonry from moisture. Without it, the brick and masonry walls will be prone to hairline cracks, allowing moisture into the building. This excess moisture penetration can cause mortar deterioration and hazardous mold, mildew, and algae growth.

Waterproofing consists of applying a straightforward liquid treatment to the face of the concrete masonry unit. Typical treatments are silanes, siloxanes, and acrylics. These treatments are either penetrant repellents that penetrate the surface of the masonry, lining the pores and adhering to it, or film treatments, which span over small cracks and voids. Both types can reduce vapor transmission and prevent water penetration.

In single-wythe concrete masonry units, control joints are required in wall systems where crack width detracts from appearance or where water penetration may occur. The use of proper reinforcement size and spacing can also reduce crack width.

Preventing Leaks

Masonry walls that aren’t protected from water penetration can become a source of moisture problems. This can occur in brick-wall systems with or without cracks. It is typical for this moisture to seep through the grout of a masonry wall system or the mortar joints and cause damage.

A masonry waterproofing product can help protect your masonry walls from this moisture. It is essential to have a masonry waterproofing expert perform routine inspections to find any existing water leaks in a brick wall. These experts can repair these small leaks to prevent extensive damage and stop water from entering your home or business.

Preventing Mold and Mildew

Masonry walls that have not been appropriately waterproofed can become subject to hazardous mold and mildew growth. These molds thrive in warm, damp, poorly lighted areas and can cause damage to clothing, carpets, and other fabrics. They also leave musty odors and discolor paper, leather, wood, and other materials.

Waterproofing products that can be applied as a surface treatment include clear, liquid repellents such as silanes and siloxanes. These are absorbed into the face of the masonry, lining the pores. They reduce vapor transmission and have good penetration properties, although they do not bridge cracks or voids.

Other waterproofing treatments include fill coats sprayed on the wall to smooth out surface irregularities and fill small voids before applying a finish coat. These can be used as a priming sealer but are less durable than true masonry waterproofers. They may also be subject to deterioration from alkalis. These products are not recommended for use on surfaces that will be painted or stained.

Preventing Corrosion

Masonry walls are susceptible to corrosive damage from weathering, acid rain, and salt spray. Corrosion leaves an unsightly surface mark and compromises the structural integrity of masonry wall materials. For this reason, corrosion protection is essential.

Waterproofing creams penetrate deeper into masonry surfaces, imparting long-term water repellence that lasts far longer than silanes or silicones. However, they must be applied over a clean, sound, and repaintable masonry surface.

This waterproofer withstands up to 98 mph winds and prevents moisture migration through a masonry surface, even when damp. This waterproofer is tintable, allowing contractors to match the color of any brick surface.