Waterproofing Product Selection Guide

Abstract
This article describes a waterproofing product selection guide developed by the CSI Los Angeles Chapter’s Technical Committee. The guide provides preliminary product selection suggestions for various waterproofing conditions that may be included in a construction project. A sidebar discusses another document the committee assembled which describes the responsibilities of team members involved in a waterproofing project.

Preliminary Selection of Waterproofing Systems
Waterproofing can present a building project team with baffling choices. With dozens of manufacturers and hundreds of products to choose from, there is a formidable amount of data to evaluate. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a standard, easy-to-follow methodology for making waterproofing product selections, making the task especially daunting for novice designers with limited personal experience to draw upon. Even seasoned specifiers or contractors can find themselves stymied when confronted with unusual project conditions.

To address this concern, the Technical Committee of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) developed several resources to aid in waterproofing decisions. “Our goal was to help the design team make better waterproofing decisions more efficiently,” said Roger A. Cormier, CCS, committee chair.

The committee looked at waterproofing as defined in MasterFormat™ (1995 ed.), which says the category includes: “Impervious, waterproofing membranes, coatings, and other materials applied to walls, slabs, decks, and other surfaces subject to continuous and intermittent hydrostatic pressure or water immersion.”

One of the resources they developed is the “Guide to Waterproofing Types and Locations” for making informed preliminary selections of waterproofing systems. It enables the designer or specifier to quickly and easily make preliminary decisions about waterproofing materials based on known project conditions. The guide allows users to identify the types of waterproofing most appropriate for further investigation, and those that can be dropped from consideration.

“With product catalogs and all the data on the Internet, there are lots of sources for detailed information about waterproofing materials,” explained Michael Fuller, CDT, committee member. “Our new guide provides generalized information. It points a user in the right direction so he or she can concentrate their efforts on the types of products most likely to be useful on their project.”

How the guide works
The committee organized the guide to be convenient for architects/engineers (A/Es) to follow. According to Melina Renee, CCS, “We visualized a designer or specifier looking at a detail and trying to figure out the best way to waterproof their structure.”

(This Guide is currently under revision by LACSI. CLICK HERE to view the Guide as it was published in September/October 2003.)