By: Christopher Brooks
Every manufacturer has its own method for basement waterproofing in new home construction. With spray-applied systems, many substances require specific preparation and handling. Like many building products, becoming knowledgeable with a company's product before actually using it is vital to a successful project.
Rub-R-Wall, manufactured by Rubber Polymer Corporation in Alpharetta, Ga., is one such product. "Our product is 100 percent polymer, which we believe makes it tougher and stronger than asphalt-based competitive products," says Matt Veazey, company president. "Rub-R-Wall consists of rubber polymers dissolved in hydrocarbon solvents. When applied, the solvents dissipate and you're left with a monolithic rubber membrane. This product is applied with an airless paint sprayer equipped with a heat exchanger that obtains its heat from the coolant system of a truck. The product is applied at 3,000 psi at 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
"The applicator should have the builder mark grade lines and where the drain tile or French drain system will be run. The grade lines will also serve as a guide for backfill and landscaping before the job is completed. The problems we typically see are grade lines above the waterproofing, penetrations and non-functioning drain tile."
In its cured state on the wall, this product is solvent-free, non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. Veazey notes, "In its liquid, uncured form, the substance contains solvents that are flammable and hazardous. Do not spray before reading and understanding the manufacturer's Operational, Safety and Procedure Guideline manual. You must also be adequately trained in the operation of your own company's application equipment."
Veazey details the installation procedures:
*Foundation must be dry and clean; no frozen walls or
- Fill honeycombed areas, voids in mortar joints, cracks and tie holes with either Rub-R-Wall Mastic or a
non-shrinking grout. Allow adequate drying time
for the mastic or grout before application of this product.
- Block walls must be tooled and/or struck. If not,
they must be parged.
- EPS forms must be free of dust and any repair of
forms must be done with foam.
- At the jobsite, the truck, barrels and all spray
equipment must be grounded to the ground.
- Be certain that other tradesmen do not introduce
flames or sparks from welding, smoking, electrical
- Do not apply this product when ambient temperature
is below 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-9.4 degrees Celsius).
- Do not spray this substance over asphalt
or tar-based products.
- After five to 20 minutes (depending on air
temperature and humidity) Rub-R-Wall will be firm.
- If the cores on a masonry block are to be filled with
concrete, the cores must be filled and dry prior to
waterproofing application, not after.
- Double-check the spray areas for uniform coverage. Look for voids, spots or missed areas and correct to
the company's application standards.
Recently, Wall-Guard Corp. of Smithville, Ohio introduced a new, non-flammable version of its Wall-Guard waterproofing product. This 100 percent rubber polymer membrane is based on advanced hydrocarbon polymer technology. "Within minutes after being sprayed onto the wall surface, the substance becomes incredibly elastic and the membrane develops tenacious adhesion to the wall along with an aggressive tack to receive protection board without penetrating 'hold down' buttons," says Wall-Guard co-owner Mike Garfield. He describes four steps:
- Step 1: Site is prepared. Dirt and debris are removed. Voids on the wall, as may occur in honeycombed areas, mortar joints and tie holes are filled with all-polymer mastic.
- Steps 2-3: Wall-Guard is a two-coat application to
the exterior foundation wall. After the first coat is
completed, the second coat is applied perpendicular
to assure proper coverage.
- Step 4: Membrane protection board is installed. It can be dual-purpose to include insulating and drainage features.
"The average basement has 1,000 square feet of coated area," says Aaron Kuertz, sales manager at Applied Technologies LLC in Fairfield, Ohio, manufacturers of Hydra-Guard Waterproofing Membrane. "Such an average basement can be done with a two-man crew in a little over one hour. Our system is very economical because spray application allows the applicator to coat a very large amount of square footage in a small amount of time."
Spray application gives a seamless barrier to water penetration. This membrane is a polymer-modified asphalt that stretches over shrinkage cracks in a foundation. FibR-Dri Protection Panels are then attached. "And because it withstands hydrostatic pressure, Hydra-Guard is a true waterproofing product," Kuertz says, "preventing water vapor from entering a basement. This stops the musty basement smell from developing, allowing homeowners to use - and enjoy - their basement spaces."
There are dos and don'ts to consider, Kuertz notes, offering these suggestions:
*Prepare the wall properly prior to spraying. This means filling any voids with mastic, patching honeycombs
with fast-setting grout and pretreating cold joints
- Don't spray walls that have frost on them. This
prevents the membrane from adhering to the substrate.
- Don't spray walls that aren't fully dry, especially the footers. Applicators can dry them off by using burners.
- Clean off any mud and dirt that may be on the wall. This will also allow the membrane to adhere.
"Troubleshoot a job at the start or you'll increase the risk of leaks later," Kuertz adds. "Preparing the wall for application is paramount to a quality installation. Large voids must be filled. Any large honeycombs must be filled with grout, giving a smooth surface to which the spray application will adhere."
A big problem is how high to spray, according to Kuertz. "Applicators should have the builder mark how high to spray the wall so guesswork is unnecessary. In my experience, it helps to leave the mark just a little bit exposed. No one can say you sprayed too high.
"Finally, spray application is by far the most economical way to waterproof a home's foundation. The high rate of application insures that labor is a minor cost of the project. Homeowners expect their basements to be dry. Waterproofing a foundation ensures that a homeowner can enjoy their basement without fear of water ruining their carpets, dry wall, etc."
Check out each manufacturer's web site for details of their specific products - and how to use them. Gaining an understanding of how their various spray-applied systems work will help you use the right one on your next home.
Applied Technologies LLC
Wall Guard Corporation
Based in Bucks County, Pa., contributing writer Christopher Brooks writes about the home - inside and out - for consumer and trade magazines.