What is cementitious tanking?
Will Cement Tanking a Cellar Keep Moisture Out?
A basement or cellar space can be very susceptible to damp. This is because moisture can get in through the walls from the ground, and since the basement is below ground level, there is often much more moisture around the external walls from the soil, especially in wet weather. This is why if you have a cellar in your home that has not been damp-proofed, you might notice that things inside the cellar are affected by damp and mould after a while, or the walls in the basement are moist even if you do not have any damp problems in the rest of your home. If you want to be able to use your cellar for more storage or are considering converting it into a liveable area of your home, then cement tanking your cellar can be an ideal way to keep moisture out and prevent any further damp problems.
What is Cementitious Tanking and How Does It Work?
If you are thinking about converting your basement so that you can use it for storage without worrying about damp affecting your belongings or you want to take advantage of the space to use it as a second living room, bedroom, or another room in your home, then protecting it from damp and flooding is one of the most important first steps to take. Even a small damp problem in the cellar can cause issues by damaging your belongings and making the area unpleasant to spend time in. In addition to this, damp problems in your basement or cellar can get much worse as time goes on, leading to structural damage of your property and even negatively impacting the health of yourself and your family. Cement tanking involves applying a waterproof slurry to the basement walls and floors, to prevent moisture from getting through.
What is the Difference Between Waterproofing and Tanking?
When damp proofing a basement there are two main options to consider. These are tanking and waterproof membranes. While both work the same way, there are some considerable differences between the two.
Cementitious Tanking and Damp Proofing
Tanking the basement for damp proofing involves coating the walls, floor, and sometimes the ceiling of the basement with a waterproof slurry to seal it. The material is usually cement-based and is designed to prevent any moisture from entering at all. However, it can be a lot of work depending on the age and state of your basement currently. If you need to waterproof a basement that has been renovated in the past, then you will need to ensure that all plaster and other wall coverings are completely removed before the cement tanking slurry can be applied. You will also need to make any necessary repairs such as repointing, and in some cases, coat the masonry with a salt-neutralising product to ensure that the walls are at peak structural integrity, as this will make sure that the tanking slurry can work as effectively as possible once it has been applied and dried.
What is Cementitious Tanking Slurry?
Applying a cement tanking slurry is usually the best way to deal with low-level cellar and basement damp problems. It can be used on the entirety of the basement walls and floor or used to patch problem areas that may be more prone to damp than others. You can also use cement tanking alongside other damp proofing products such as a cavity membrane drainage system for extra protection. The tanking slurry is applied directly onto the masonry substrate of the walls to create a waterproof barrier that water is not able to penetrate. Once it has dried, you can apply internal finishes such as plaster and paint or wallpaper to finish your habitable area in the cellar.
Cavity Membrane Systems
You can use a cavity membrane system for damp proofing your cellar either together with or instead of cement tanking slurry. This involves installing a high-density studded plastic membrane, which is fitted to the walls and floor of the cellar. It is designed to prevent the water from entering the basement. Instead, there is a cavity left behind the membrane where the water becomes trapped before it is drained down into the floor cavity and away from the basement, often with the help of modular drainage pipes and a sump pump, which may be necessary if there is no natural drainage system present. This type of waterproofing for a cellar is an ideal choice if the area is prone to getting a lot of damp problems or flooding. It can be used on its own or you can apply a cement tanking slurry first before adding the membrane for additional protection against any moisture that might find its way through. It is designed to handle larger amounts of water in comparison to tanking.
Preparation for Cementitious Tanking and Damp Proofing in London
Successfully applying a cement tanking slurry to waterproof your basement will require a lot of preparation. Unlike a cavity membrane drainage system, which can be installed on existing walls and floors, you will need to fully remove any previous coatings on the walls. This includes taking off any existing render, plaster, paper, or paint from the walls and restoring them to the original masonry. Only when this has been done and any necessary repairs have been made can the slurry then be applied to the walls. Applying slurry over existing wall coatings, or onto masonry that has not been suitably repaired, can render it less effective. If you are tanking a cellar, another key part of the preparation process will also involve forming a cove joint in the floor slabs.
Once the prep work has been done, you may find that a key is needed for the slurry to properly bond with the substrate. If your cellar has materials such as waterproof concrete, for example, then this might be a challenge. Before applying the slurry to the masonry substrate, you can improve your results by first applying a bonding slurry coat over the substrate, which is designed to provide a key for the tanking slurry to bond to once applied.
What are the Main Benefits of Using Cementitious Tanking Slurry?
If you have a basement or cellar in your home, then you will need to damp proof it correctly before it can be anything but unused extra space. Without damp proofing, you will struggle to even use your basement as a storage area since anything that you put down into the cellar will be quickly impacted by the high levels of moisture and damp. Because of this, it’s no surprise that there are many benefits of using a cementitious tanking slurry to update your basement.
Easy to Apply
While there’s a lot of preparation involved for some cellars, the good news is that a cementitious tanking slurry is usually an easy product to apply. You may even be able to do it yourself once the basement has been prepared. And if your basement walls are still the original masonry substrate and do not have any other coverings, then all you may need to do is some minor repairs and apply a bonding coat before brushing or rolling the slurry on.
Liveable Space in the Basement
Whether you need more storage space or want to create a new room in your home, damp proofing is the first step to converting your basement into anything but a dark and damp area. Applying a cement slurry will provide a sealant for the walls and floors that allow you to use your basement for storage without worrying about water damage. In addition, you have also now finished the first main step towards converting your basement into a liveable room. Once it’s been damp proofed, you can add things like flooring, wall coverings, and have an electrician install power sockets and lighting.
Protection From Structural Damage
By using a cement waterproofing slurry to damp proof your basement, you can protect your home from the structural damage that can often be caused by damp that has been allowed to go on for too long. After a while, damp can lead to serious issues in the home such as wet rot and mould issues that could even make your home unsafe if not repaired.
Save and Make Money
Once your basement has been damp proofed with a cement slurry, you have a much more usable space, which in turn can add to the value of your home, helping you get more for it in the future if you decide to sell. Along with this, damp proofing the basement also prevents cold air from getting in and seals the basement so that warm air can’t escape, ultimately helping you save on your monthly energy bills. And, a damp-proofed, liveable basement could even be a source of income. People are often willing to pay for storage space, or you could rent it out as a spare room or even a whole apartment depending on the size.
If you want to keep moisture out of your basement and avoid damp problems, then applying cement tanking is a good option to consider.