Cementitious Tanking

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Internal Systems in Existing Structures

‘Tanking’ is a specific type of waterproofing which functions by attempting to block water out of a structure, by including a barrier product on or within that structure.  If water is totally blocked out, then the internal basement/cellar environment is protected and remains dry.

The term is specific to ‘barrier protection’, (or ‘Type A (barrier) protection’ within British Standard 8102) used to describe various types of waterproofing systems generally.

If looking at the use of tanking, what do we need to consider?

Continuity: Continuity of a tanking system is critical where water pressure will come to bear, because if it is not continuous (i.e. if there are holes, or if it is not applied to all areas of a basement or cellar), then water will move through those holes or unprotected areas when water pressures upon them.  Just as a swimming pool with a hole in it will not hold water, a tanking system with a hole will not block it out.

While it may seem obvious that tanking all areas of a structure is a prerequisite to fully blocking out water, you would be surprised how many failures occur because (for example) tanking is included to the walls but not the floor.  Where such specifications are employed, this does not form a ‘tank’ or ‘tanking system’ in the true sense of the word.

Forming a bond with the substrate: In existing properties, tanking is applied to the internal face of the structure, with a variety of products potentially being employed, such as multi-layer cement based products, or cement slurries which are applied over a base coat render (which provides a flat/level surface to accept the slurry).

Tanking is often applied externally in new constructions; though it is solely related with internal tanking systems.
Although far less commonly employed in existing properties, we do also see liquid applied bitumen based systems or mastic asphalt.  In all cases, the tanking is designed to block out water.

Because tanking in existing structures is applied to the internal face of the structure, it is particularly reliant on the formation of a bond between the tanking and the surface or substrate on which it is applied.  The reason for this is that water under pressure moving through the structure, will bear upon the tanking barrier when it reaches the internal face, effectively trying to force the material off of the substrate, and hence the requirement for a good bond. One possible way to address this is to properly prepare the surface of the substrate, so that the tanking can ‘key’ to the surface on which it is applied.  This means raking out mortar joints in masonry or scabbling concrete to remove surface laitance.

Where we encounter failures in internally applied tanking systems, in some cases it is because they have not undertaken any preparation, and the product de-bonds, this then allowing water penetration. The key aspect to remember here, is that if you get a tanking quote from your builder in the hundreds of pounds, they may not have included for preparation works, which is definitely ‘half a job’. 

As a result the system failed, and we were employed to install a third system, when one would have sufficed, had it been correctly designed and installed.  This is all too common.

If anything, more modern construction such as reinforced concrete, can lend itself to the application of internal tanking systems because substrates (if properly prepared) can be extremely strong, and are more likely to absorb imposed loads versus older structures.

While preparation is important, in some structures (typically older properties), the substrates may become weak with age, making it less suitable to receive tanking products where formation of a good bond is key.  In scenarios where tanking is implemented, there is possibility of de-lamination of the substrate, which refers to the  failure of the substrate surface (not the tanking), though with the same outcome.

Recently finished jobs in homes near you!

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This recently completed project is a beautiful mid terrace Town House in London. Rising damp was affecting various walls within the living room, dining room and bathroom areas.

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Office in Westminster

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North West London

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We are a Chartered Building Company, ISO9001 Quality Assurance Registered Firm, Full members of the BWPDA (British Wood Preserving & Damp Proofing Association), PCA (Property Care Association), Safe Contractor, CHAS and the Guarantee Protection Trust.

We offer comprehensive range of services to home owners and property professionals or can work with your builder to undertake the specialist damp proofing as part of your overall refurbishment. Click here to contact us.rss feed

 

 

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