Understanding the Role of Waterstops in Concrete

Construction Site

Concrete can be a tricky material to work with. After pouring concrete and drilling the steel formwork onto the finished product, you think your job is done. As concrete cures, however, it shrinks and pulls away from the formwork, providing a path for leakage. Without the proper moisture protection, water can easily penetrate the concrete through the joints and potentially destroy the entire concrete structure.

You can avoid this problem and reduce the risks of cracks in your concrete. What you’ll need is a waterstop designed for concrete joints.

Protecting Your Concrete

A waterstop is a flexible, waterproof object installed on or welded into the joints in the concrete to prevent the passage of fluids. The earliest types of waterstops were made of nickel-steel, copper or galvanised iron. Now, they come in a myriad of materials, from polymerising vinyl chloride (PVC) and Hydrophobic Polymer to polyethylene (PE) and neoprene rubber.

Waterstops are used as part of the overall waterproofing protection on a wide range of concrete structures. This includes basement walls and slabs, parking structures, pedestrian tunnels, water treatment facilities and dams. They stop harmful water ingress through joints, strengthening the foundation of all kinds of concrete structures.

Requirements for the Installation of Waterstops

When you use a waterstop, make sure to position it correctly. You must brace or lash the waterstop firmly onto the concrete to minimise movement once it’s installed.

Your waterstops must also be clean. If your waterstop is dirty or greasy, it can be difficult to achieve a good seal.

Seal your joints properly. Although waterstops are excellent moisture barriers, use an appropriate filler to prevent the entry of dust, grime and other foreign materials. Sealing also provides a preliminary line of defence against the penetration of water, keeping your concrete safe from moisture damage.

With your concrete project, don’t settle for less. Improve the waterproof design of your concrete with waterstops for a high-quality structure that lasts.

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