What is the Difference Between Dampproofing and Waterproofing?

What is the Difference Between Dampproofing and Waterproofing?

September 30, 2021

You’re likely familiar with the process of waterproofing a foundation wall. But what is dampproofing? The process of dampproofing foundational walls involves using a tar- or asphalt-based mixture on the outside of the wall to prevent moisture from getting through the concrete walls, into the interior of your basement or crawl space.

Most homes built today use a damp-proof coating that was designed and implemented to meet your local building code requirements during the construction process. However, after several years, these coatings will begin to fail. Unfortunately, it is difficult (and expensive) to install such a coating years after the home has already been erected.

Here’s an overview of what’s the difference between dampproofing and waterproofing and why dampproofing is generally not the best method of protecting your foundation from moisture.

A wide range of challenges

The prospect of early failure is the biggest challenge you should consider when deciding whether you will engage in dampproofing for your foundation.

The tar- and asphalt-based design results in a treatment method that will certainly fail over time, even within as early as two years. In a short amount of time, foundation walls will start to experience stress as the concrete expands naturally with changing temperatures sand moisture levels. This may result in cracks and crevices in those walls.

When dampproofing products cure and set, they become hard and brittle, which means they will not respond well to the expansion and contraction of the concrete. This means the dampproofing agents will begin to fall apart and come off the walls, which renders them useless, as moisture will then be able to get inside.

Another challenge: most of the dampproofing products you’ll find on the market are extremely susceptible to extreme weather. This means if you live in an area that experiences extreme cold, heavy rain or acidic soil, you’re more likely to see an early deterioration of the product.

Finally, there’s the very nature of dampproofing itself that makes it insufficient for protecting against moisture. The goal of dampproofing is not to completely eliminate the presence of moisture in the foundation, but rather to slow down its infiltration and keep out some of it. This means even with a good application of the product, you can expect some moisture to get into your home.

Keeping your basement dry is a top priority

Ultimately, if your goal is to keep your basement dry, you are better off exploring options that involve actually waterproofing the foundation. This will provide you with results that are designed to last for years while doing much more to prevent moisture from getting in through your foundation walls.

Waterproofing can be done from the interior, meaning you don’t have to worry about performing any excavation. It’s also significantly less expensive than the process of dampproofing.

Need to know more about waterproofing your basement? Contact our team at High Plains Engineering & Design, LLC today with any questions you have about this important process for protecting your foundation and basement.

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