Which Material is Used for Waterproofing?

People ask us all the time which material is used for waterproofing? The truth is that there are more than one! Waterproofing is done with a system of waterproofing materials that all work together to protect your basement from future basement leak repair. The waterproofing materials used are a result of decades of research, engineering and practical use on foundation walls and the waterproofing process has been perfected until the next major breakthrough in waterproofing technology has been discovered. In this blog post, we will go over all the waterproofing materials RCC uses for every basement leak repair job so you can have more knowledge about what it is and its greater role in the waterproofing system. The waterproofing materials include: hydraulic cement, rubberized membrane, reinforcement mesh, an air gap membrane, drainage tiles and drainage gravel.

1. Hydraulic Cement

Hydraulic cement is used to seal cracks and leaks in masonry and concrete construction. Hydraulic cement is directly used for sealing the foundation cracks that are allowing water leaks into your home. It is a form of cement that builds up very quickly and hardens after being combined with water which makes it perfect for sealing concrete cracks. In the construction business, hydraulic cement is frequently used to seal buildings below grade and in situations where foundation walls might be damaged or flooded in water.  When mixed with water, hydraulic cement quickly dries and hardens to the surface it’s applied to.  In contrast to the slow dry times of typical store purchased cement, it can really become firm entirely in a matter of minutes. Due to its beneficial characteristic, hydraulic cement is employed in building and structural repair work.

2. Rubberized Membrane

Our primary waterproofing process makes use of rubberized membrane which is applied all across the foundation walls after the hydraulic cement has dried. While hydraulic cement is used to protect the cracks from water, the rubberized membrane is used to protect your entire foundation wall from water. It requires two layers of treatment and this will prevent water from penetrating to your basement walls where the water can freeze and cause new basement cracks to form. RCC Waterproofing uses a product called HydroGuard Rubberized Membrane that is a commercial grade waterproofing material and one of the best in the industry and allows us to offer a lifetime warranty with every exterior waterproofing job.

3. Reinforcement Mesh

In between the two layers of rubberized membrane we mentioned earlier, a reinforcement mesh is applied to further strengthen the two layers of rubberized membrane. The mesh is made of a spun-bonded, unsaturated polyester material that is resistant from tearing under the pressure of the shifting earth and soil conditions. Many waterproofing businesses omit to employ the waterproofing reinforcing mesh and just use one layer of rubberized membrane. In order to prevent your foundation walls from leaking again, a good basement leak repair involves the combination of two layers of Hydro Guard rubberized and the reinforcement mesh in between them.

4. Air Gap Membrane

A Dimpled Aire Gap Membrane is then installed on top of the rubberized membrane and it is used for redirecting the lion share of the water pooling around your basement down to the bottom of the foundation. Surface water seeps into the drain pipe at the bottom, close to the footing, after moving through the backfill to the drainage gravel, which we will talk about later in the blog. When properly installed the wall is shielded from any soil or backfill material and water cannot get through the membrane since the backfill is on the outside of it. It is mechanically attached to your foundation walls using concrete fasteners and a membrane cap. In the unlikely event that water does reach the drainage space, it will migrate into the drainage system at the footing and will naturally fall down to the bottom.


5. Drainage Tiles

Drainage tiles, also known as drainage pipes, are rows of PVC plastic perforated pipes that are used to either move water away from a building’s foundation or towards a gathering source so that it can disperse away from the house. The perforations in the drainage tiles are crucial because they distribute little quantities of water at a time as they pass through the pipe, preventing it from filling up entirely or building up too much pressure. Sometimes a fabric sock is placed over these perforated pipes to keep extra dirt from accumulating inside the drainage lines. We have a full drainage tiles blog post with more details that you can read.

6. Drainage Gravel

Once the drainage tiles are installed, they are covered with a layer 3/4 gravel used to help drainage of water into the drainage pipes below. This is just simply crushed stone that is sized at 3/4 to an inch. Smaller gravel pieces sized 1/2 inches or 1/4 inches are not good for promoting drainage and will prevent the water from finding the drain pipes and saying on top of the gravel. Sometimes 3/4 gravel is also used on the top of the foundation wall instead of soil because of it’s increased drainage potential.

BONUS: Window Wells

When applicable, window wells should be installed around basement windows that could potentially allow water to leak through to your basement. The gap between your windows and foundation is a potential weak point for water to leak through and excess pools of water that are not drained properly can do a lot of damage. Window wells are meant to solve this problem by collecting water and properly redirecting it to the drainage tiles underneath the ground which will keep the water away from your home. Each window well is made out of a galvanized steel for strength and houses a vertical drainage pipe and more drainage gravel. You can also encase the window well with a window well cover to further prevent water from pooling up inside the well, especially when we see heavy rainstorms.

Window Well

How can Waterproofing Be Done?

This blog post only scratches the surface on these waterproofing materials so if you are looking for more information, check out our Exterior Waterproofing page for more information on the waterproofing process and as well you can look up each individual material on our waterproofing products page. Be sure to contact us for more information about all things waterproofing and if you will like to inquire about a basement leak you are experiencing, we offer free waterproofing estimates and consultations including inspections.

RCC Waterproofing and Foundation Repairs has been servicing Ontario customers for over 100 years. Their repairs have outlived lifetime warranties by at least two times. The company provides professionally trained sales representatives to view, assess and quote on repairs. The installers are employees of RCC and most have long term working relationships. RCC carries full insurance including WSIB coverage and HST registration.

RCC Waterproofing offers:
  • A Lifetime Waterproofing Guarantee!
  • 24-hour emergency services for Ontario residences
  • Fully trained technical sales representatives to view, assess and quote the repair
  • Over 100 years of third-generation family success both in products and services and superb warranty
  • Full-service options, providing either exterior or interior repairs depending on issues, location, and structure
  • A successful record of servicing over 75,000 customers

To learn more, contact RCC Waterproofing at 416-747-1920 or Toll-Free 1-888-766-2071 or Contact RCC for a Free Inspection