Technical -Insulated Concrete Formwork
Habitable / Grade 3
What are my options?
ICF is not ideal for basement construction due to the huge number of joints and joins and the problems with concrete filling.
You must have a cavity drain system for your basement waterproofing as it is the system that can be guaranteed for 10 years. No other form of waterproofing is suitable for ICF because of all of the joins.
This page will set out your options for combining systems. At the bottom of the page you will find links to complying with BS8102 , third Party warranties and the types of waterproofing.
ICF construction is very porous. The cavity drain system can deal with significant amounts of water, however water draining through new construction will pick up free lime which can block channels and foul pumps. The external system is necessary to prevent water ingress but cannot be guaranteed or serviced as it relies on the structure not moving, it will be covered when back filled and is often damaged by follow on trades.
BS8102 say's that you should consider 2 forms of waterproofing when the risk of a leak is high, which it always is with ICF construction due to joins and inconsistent filling with concrete.
2 forms of waterproofing are to be used if the consequence of a leak is not acceptable, which it never is.
Guarantees given for external waterproofing on its own are never valid because they come with so many caviates and only guarantee materials. The internal cavity drain system is the only system that has meaningful guarantees. Therefore, you must have 2 forms of waterproofing to keep the inside dry and to comply with British Standards and all other codes of practice and to get guarantees that actually give protection to the property owner you have to have a cavity drain system.
The options for a second form of waterproofing, which you do have to have, are external coatings, sheet membranes or concrete additives.
Concrete additive in an ICF cavity cannot and will not work. It is not possible to effectively fill the voids without defects, honeycombing or cracks greater than 0.3 mm or to achieve the necessary compaction. MacLennan work on failed waterproof concrete basements every weekputting right leaks which were supposed to be under guarantee by a additives companty or manufacturer.
Coatings Any form of coating is going to be far too thin and will not cope with the multiple joins in the ICF.
Sheet membranes We would only ever recommend sheet membranes adhered to the outside. Sheet membranes cover the huge number of joins that cannot be effectively waterproofed by any other method.
However, We would never install just external membranes. You must have a cavity drain system, to comply with standards and to get meaningful guarantees.
If you are building a basement for accommodation or recreation, you are required to achieve a Grade 3 habitable basement in order to comply with BS8102, the British Standard for earth retaining structures.
To comply with British Standard’s, if the risk of a leak is high such as in a high water table or if building a basement where the consequence of a leak is unacceptable then you should have 2 forms of waterproofing.
External waterproofing cannot be installed in inclement weather and can effect programmes for weeks on end in poor weather.
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You must check for Gas before designing your basement.
If testing proves that Radon, CO2 or Methane are present, the waterproofing system needs to be designed as a Gas system as well.
The combined system can be designed and installed by MacLennan.
Deck & Roof Waterproofing
If the basement is not completely covered by the house above, as is often the case, then you will have a deck or roof are to waterproof.
The deck waterproofing should always be carried out by the same waterproofing specialists who waterproof the basement as the detailing between the two is critical and split responsibility should be avoided at all costs.
In the last few years, deck waterproofing has moved towards seamless elastomeric coatings away from single ply membranes and felt which have a history of failure due to the numerous laps, joins and seams.
Finishes on decks include green roofing and hard landscaping or even driveways and parking areas.
Due to the large number of products with different properties available on the market, the deck/roof waterproofing should be specified by the waterproofing specialist and the work guaranteed and insured for design, supply and installation by the same company.
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What else do you need to think about when waterproofing a basement?