Every type of building, whatever its size or function and whatever materials are used, needs to be protected from the elements. Sun, wind, rain, ice and snow - all of these can take their toll on buildings over the years, as changing temperatures cause expansion and shrinkage of the construction materials.
In countries like the UK, where we have a fair amount of annual rainfall, this becomes even more important. We often get a lot of wet weather, even in summertime, so our properties need proper protection from water ingress with proper installation standards.
And it isn't only the rain actually falling from the sky that causes the problem. The water beneath ground level can seep into basements and cellars, vaults, underground parking areas, basement flats and so on, causing a lot of damage and making the space damp and unusable.
Structural waterproofing combats these types of waterproofing, creating a dry, clean and usable space, giving you peace of mind and adding value to your property.
This is an umbrella term that covers a range of techniques used to make a space watertight. It is often undertaken at the same time as other waterproofing or damp proofing work, such as the application of chemical damp proofing. This makes good sense, as it pays to protect the entire building from water ingress rather than just one part.
However, structural waterproofing focuses on the parts of a building that are below ground (at least partly) and are at risk of water penetration. Within the industry, the term is reserved for buildings that have earth retaining walls, such as basements. These techniques can be 'retro-fitted' into older buildings or incorporated into new builds.
There are several types of structural waterproofing available, including the following:
Each method is suited to different conditions, which is why it is essential that an expert is involved in deciding the best one for your project. They will assess the situation and recommend which treatment, or combination of treatments, is the right one.
Absolutely! Whether you have an old property with a cellar or basement that you want to turn into usable space, or are planning a new build that includes space below ground level, you will need a structural waterproofing solution. So basement waterproofing and other waterproofing systems and structural waterproofing solutions using the correct structural waterproofing products and a certified structural waterproofing contractor is a must given damage it can cause if done wrong.
Without one, your property will be at risk of mould, mildew, rising/penetrating damp, dry rot and wet rot, and so on. Exposure to damp conditions and mould can negatively affect your health. Any soft furnishings, carpets, or porous materials can be tainted and damaged by damp. Wood can be affected, whether it's furniture, flooring, decorative or structural.
Many older basements and cellars are located in large urban areas, such as London. Because these places are densely populated and packed with buildings, there is a greater concentration of surface water. This water has to go somewhere, and drainage systems can't always cope.
Away from the cities, water table levels can fluctuate, especially after heavy rainfall. In either situation, groundwater can saturate the area around basements, where gravity causes something called hydrostatic pressure. This forces water through porous surfaces and cracks in your foundation or basement walls.
So, wherever your property might be, you will need an efficient and effective structural waterproofing system.
The cost will largely depend on the type of property, the size and shape of the space, where it is located, and the waterproofing protection method selected.
What has to be kept in mind is that structural waterproofing services are an investment that will add value to the property and protect it from water damage in the future. It is vital that this is undertaken by professionals and is done right the first time to save you from further cost and inconvenience further down the line.
As a general rule, the average cost of waterproofing a basement area in the UK is around £120 per metre squared. This means that a basement measuring 5m by 4m with walls 3m high will cost about £8,000.
Many structural waterproofing specialists will offer a free survey to begin with, but some may charge up to £200 for this service.
Never be tempted to opt for the cheapest waterproofing surveyors and always secure several quotes after checking online reviews or word-of-mouth recommendations.
Remember, the overall cost may include preparation or structural work, level of access to the site, the quality of materials, application of screed or installation of electrics, skirting boards etc. and the length of time taken to complete the work.
It isn't so much a question of whether you need structural waterproofing, it's more a question of which type you need and how soon will you get it fitted. So, whether your old basement needs waterproofing or your new build includes living space below ground, contact Damp Hero for a guaranteed installation to discuss an effective waterproofing strategy to suit your needs and your budget.