Read more about Waterproofing:
- Waterproof Membraned
- Bitumen Waterproofing
Waterproofing your roof
Polyurethane Foam as a Waterproofing Option
Polyurethane foam has been used in the building industry for
almost half a century and is today considered durable, reliable,
affordable and dependable. This type of waterproofing offers
great advantages, for one it gives a seamless cover. Because it
is sprayed on it creates a continuous membrane that is able to
cover and protect the entire roof. No joints or seams means no
possibility of gaps opening allowing leaks through. It is
flexible and for this reason can be applied to any type of
surface or shape. There is also little waste incurred during
It is extremely lightweight and even though it is a thin material
it provides wonderful insulation which will help reduce energy
costs of running a home.
Polyurethane comprises very tight cells that act as a barrier
against water or moisture; it keeps water away as well as minimising
any problems associated with dew or condensation. Even if the foam
top coat gets damaged, it will still protect as it is the underlying
layer that keeps the area water tight. It encourages water to drain
properly too and in this way prevents any accumulation.
The two substances that comprise polyurethane are run through a machine
which heats them up and sprays them out in a single substrate.
Initially in liquid form, it enables every nook and cranny to be
coated in a single continuous layer. Once sprayed, polyurethane
hardens over time.
By its name, membrane suggests some type of barrier or protection
placed between two things, in this case, your roof and the weather.
There are many different types of rubber membranes, and roofing by
its nature calls for something that is robust, flexible and made
from something that can be heat welded on site. Installing a
waterproof membrane on a roof however needs expertise and dry
spaces. When complete it is imperative that the membrane is 100%
free of defects, especially on flat roof structures. Waterproof
membranes is laid down onto a surface and adhered to it by means
of adhesives. But this type of waterproofing is not without
problems as it can be susceptible to UV and other elements which
may weaken its structure. Plus the adhesive used is critical
for success. They do require a professional installer to fit
and are not recommended for a DIY project. In South Africa,
this type of waterproofing works well as we don’t experience
that much rain throughout the year, as many other countries do.
Hailed as being a perfect waterproofing material for roofs because
of its ability to move. It is considered to be not too rigid as
well as being impervious to water.
In its raw form Bitumen resembles tar. When applied it is first
heated and then brushed onto the surface it is protecting. However
it may not be the best option for extremely cold climates as these
weather fluctuations may cause cracks.
It is not water soluble, and it is not biodegradable. Bitumen roof
products are available in different top surfaces however which can
help blend into the landscape, it offers a long lifespan, reflect sun
rays. However this is a roof waterproofing that takes the place of
tiles or shingles, and is not applied as an under layer. Perhaps it
is an option best used on flat roofs where it is not easily seen.
The three waterproofing ideas mentioned here are perhaps the most
common methods for waterproofing a roof, but they are by no means
the only ones. Technology today is advancing each year and with
it comes newer and newer innovations aimed at saving time and cost,
adding value and increases longevity.
For some of us in South Africa who have to contend with a lot of
rain one of the easiest methods of preventing water seepage is to
have a slanting roof, but this on its own does not guarantee
waterproofing. We need and extra layer between the roof, the
elements and us. Those who opt for building a flat roof need
above average waterproofing as water tends to build up which can
lead to water logging and seepage over time.
Waterproofing a roof is a very big thing, if not done properly
the results can be disastrous, even leading to a compromise of
the very structure of not only the roof but of the entire building.
Water can creep into concrete cracks and can cause iron to rust and
weaken. Rusted iron expands which causes the concrete to crack even
further and eventually as the iron becomes nothing more than powder,
the structure loses its strength. All this because your roof wasn’t
If you are one of the unfortunate few who are experiencing water
leakage, don’t hesitate in calling in the professionals. Many different
options are available today which will put an end to any further leakage
before it becomes the nightmare of having to remove the entire roof and
replacing it. Who knows, it may be something that can be simply fixed
by means of painting a waterproofing on the areas that are affected.
While it’s easy to point a finger at contractors and the like, as a
homeowner one thing we tend to overlook is simple roof maintenance.
Just one small leak can become a larger one over time and what would
have been a minor roof repair, now becomes a gargantuan one.
For example, a leak can occur by the simple practice of leaves rotting
on the roof. Debris that is left to rot will create mould and this
can slowly cause damage to the roof.
You need to perform regular inspections every few months, no matter
what your roof is made from. This is the only way to ensure that you
catch problems in their infancy and don’t allow them to get out of control.
Remove debris especially in those areas where water is designed to flow
off. Check all your flashing for damage and don’t leave moss or algae
untreated, this can take literally years off the life of any roof.
A little bit of time and effort on your part can prevent major hassles
in the future.