Foundation Waterproofing – Proper Installation and What NOT to do!

As mentioned in Foundation Waterproofing 101, water damage to a foundation can be very costly and difficult to repair. By paying close attention to how and where water might enter the foundation during the early stages of construction, typical failures can be avoided by following these simple guidelines…

For the Designer: Keys to proper installation

Design and Quality Assurance

  • Don’t wait to design the foundation waterproofing system after you’re already in the ground!
  • Specify and detail the appropriate system for each project. Meet with manufacturer reps early!
  • Require shop drawings and kickoff meetings to ensure the entire team understands the importance of the design! Review examples of common failures.
  • Get your consultants on board early: Geotechnical engineer, Structural engineer, Waterproofing/enclosure consultant.
  • Review warranties, require third party inspections, installer certification, and contractor training.

For the Installer: Keys to proper installation

Substrate preparation

  • Provide smooth continuous surfaces to install waterproofing – minimize jogs, protrusions, and sharp edges.
  • At slabs: compacted fill/rigid insulation board/rat slabs
  • At walls: fill bugholes, remove/grind concrete fins, mortar snots, fill form tie holes, verify form release agents and compatibility.

Seam and joint treatment

  • Types of seams: self-adhering seams and thermoplastic heat-welded seams
  • Seams must be sealed continuously and made watertight.
  • Locate seams away from potential weak areas, such as transitions and penetrations.
  • Probe seams for deficiencies and ask for daily adhesion/”pull” testing.
  • Use fluid applied systems to avoid seams.

Transition detailing

  • Check for compatibility between different materials.
  • Check transitions at changes in plane and substrate types and tie-ins to air barrier.
  • Check extension above grade.
  • Check transitions at corners; or better, use pre-formed, factory fabricated inside and outside corners where appropriate.

Penetration detailing

  • Minimize the number of penetrations at the slab and at foundation walls.
  • Use pre-formed, factory fabricated components, sleeves, and “stepped cones” where appropriate.
  • Inspect field fabricated sleeves and target patches.
  • Flash material onto pipe penetration by the minimum dimension set by manufacturer.

What not to do! Examples of typical failures

*Move cursor over image below to change slide


Bill Zoeller


By Bill Zoeller, Senior VP

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] walls and slabs and specific detailing needed to provide a watertight enclosure. And, check out Part 2 of this series for specific guidance and examples to achieve a watertight […]

  2. […] out part 2 of Foundation Waterproofing 101 where we will discuss proper installation and common […]

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