Construction Business – March/April 2005
WATERPROOFING IS ESSENTIAL for preventing water damage and preserving the integrity of any concrete structure. When it comes to concrete tanked structures, however, effective and reliable waterproofing is doubly critical.
“Concrete tanks play a vital role in many communities,” says Kevin Yuers, vice-president for the Kryton Group of Companies. “They function as drinking water containers, wastewater treatment plants and water storage reservoirs. Not only is a leak in a facility like this expensive and time-consuming to repair, it can be inconvenient and even dangerous to the community.”
Wastewater leaking out of a treatment facility can threaten the surrounding environment with sewage. In drought-affected areas, even a small amount of water lost from a reservoir can be costly. And the seepage of groundwater into a potable water storage tank can introduce waterborne contaminants, threatening a community’s entire drinking supply.
Yuers says the likelihood of problems like these can be reduced or eliminated altogether by selecting the appropriate waterproofing system. “Almost all concrete will eventually crack during curing or due to settling, seismic activity or other factors. The best approach is to plan ahead for this eventuality. There are a number of concrete waterproofing products on the market, including liquid sealants, barrier and membranes and crystalline waterproofing technology. A little research now can save a whole lot of trouble later.”
Effective waterproofing is especially important in underground or partially buried concrete tanks.
How do you select a reliable waterproofing system that meets your needs and keeps water in (and out of) your concrete tanked structure? Yuers suggests considering the following points when choosing the method that’s right for your project:
Budget. How much does the system cost and how does it compare with other systems? The more labour-intensive a waterproofing system is, the more expensive it is likely to be.
Application Timeline. How long will the waterproofing system take to install? Does this fit with your construction timeline?
Flexibility. How much design flexibility does the system offer? Some waterproofing systems require you to leave room for application on the outside surface. Others can only be applied at a certain point in construction. Some are more flexible and can be applied before, during or after concrete is poured.
Lifespan. How long will the product last? Some systems have a finite useful life, while others last the life of the structure.
Corrosion Protection. Corrosion of steel reinforcements from contact with water and waterborne contaminants can significantly shorten the life of a concrete tanked structure. How much protection will the system offer against steel reinforcement corrosion?
Safety. Is the system certified non-toxic and safe for the environment? This is especially important if your tank will hold potable or drinking water.
Manufacturer’s Guarantee. What kind of guarantee does the manufacturer/distributor offer? Choose a manufacturer or distributor who’s willing to stand behind the products they sell.
Yuers says effective waterproofing is especially important in underground or partially buried concrete tanks, since sub-grade cracks and leaks may be more difficult to detect and more expensive and time-consuming to repair. He recommends following manufacturers’ guidelines closely, as this can impact the system’s warranty.
Leo Connell is marketing director for the Kryton Group of Companies. For more information about effective waterproofing solutions for your concrete tanked structure, visit www.kryton.com or call 1-800-267-8280.