Air As a Waterproofing Material?

My name is Jeff Brown. I am the president and founder of DryBasements.com Ltd. 


The biggest advantage to the Air-Gap membrane when compared to other materials is of course the air-gap. When used on the outside of the wall, this little air space acts as a capillary break between the soil and the foundation. While most water will be kept out by the membrane, any water that does enter will drain harmlessly away to the footing drains or weeping tile. It is a simple but effective principal. I could go into a lengthy discussion of fluid mechanics and explain all the physics of why this works but the simple reality is, it does! Also, because I have no idea what all the formulas under fluid mechanics and its sub-disciplines of fluid dynamics etc. mean. Click here if you want to figure it out for yourself.

Some will say that Delta MS and like materials are not waterproofing. I always counter with the fact that nothing in a house is waterproof. Everything is designed to be water repellent. Submerge your house and see. Everything from the roof down sheds water. It is not necessary to be waterproof. Yes, it is possible to waterproof a foundation wall, but is it necessary? Your foundation consists of vertical surfaces. Any water that reaches your foundation ultimately ends up at your footing and under your basement floor. For a basement to be waterproof then, you would need to waterproof all components including the floor and the footing. We can’t. Well we can, but no one could afford it. In my opinion, since it is not practical to waterproof the ultimate point of entry, why get preoccupied and worried about waterproofing the walls. The most important thing is to control the water. This means that the most important component in a basement drainage system is the sump pump, yet to most people and companies it is the least concern.

Working backwards, the sump handles all the water collected by the system, so really, this should be the most important part of the system. How often have you heard of a sump pump failing. Claims in Canada cost insurance companies and ultimately the public,hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The average claim is in excess of $14,000. A basement and its contents can be destroyed.

If you are contemplating a major retrofit of your foundation drainage system, the pump should be just as important as the material applied to the walls.

Getting back to our discussion about foundation waterproofing, functional drainage is more important than a classification of waterproof walls. My opinion is that if a product keeps water out of your home, then your home is waterproof. This is why I will happily call our systems waterproofing. Delta MS is waterproofing. Some will try to sell added layers of spray or peel and stick membrane but it is all smoke and mirrors. A properly installed drainage system, including Delta MS Air-Gap membrane is all you need. Agreeing with me is the National Building Code which classifies Delta MS as a waterproofing membrane.

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