Arresting water leakages

Water leakage is the worst enemy in a construction. What are the quality methods that one needs to adopt as preventive measures? Read on...

Water can be dangerous, when it accumulates in the wrong places. Listed below are some of the common reasons why leakage starts:

1. Accumulation of water, which starts penetrating the surface.

2. Poor quality and improper proportioning of concrete constituents.

3. Poor compaction of concrete, which results in air voids.

4. Construction joints between concrete and brickwork and the discontinuity in concrete casting (old and new concrete) leading to minute cracks, which facilitate water seepage.

5. Other structural cracks because of loading conditions and failure of structure to withstand stress.

6. Movement of water from bottom to top because of capillary action in the brickwork, leading to dampness just above the floor level.

It is advisable to avoid leakage in your structures proactively, failing which you would be forced to undertake avoidable repair after construction. The following measures may help avoid leakage:

1. Provide good drainage facility with proper slope at the places where there are chances of water accumulation. This is the best preventive measure.

2. Use good quality materials with correct proportioning. For example, the use of blended cement or less water can reduce permeability. Similarly, proper proportioning helps concrete become uniformly packed and dense.

3. Ensure proper compaction of concrete with an immersion vibrator for less air pockets.

4. Avoid construction joints which create weaker points for water to seep.

5. Ensure proper structural design and construction to prevent cracks.

6. Undertake a proper Damp-Proofing Course (DPC) to prevent movement of ground water to the top. Some useful methods include applying bitumen and concrete DPC layer at the plinth level.

7. Use waterproofing compounds for water retaining structures.

There are many waterproofing chemicals available in the market. However, normal concrete construction would not require waterproofing materials if designed and constructed with good quality materials and proper workmanship.

Waterproofing chemicals are useful for water-retaining structures like water tanks and are widely used in repair and damp-proof treatments.

Waterproofing chemicals are available in powder and liquid forms. It is advisable to buy waterproofing materials from reputed companies. Always read the usage instructions in the product catalogue or on the container/packet.

Generally, one packet or container of the dose is specified for one bag (50 kg) of cement and other required constituents. Please take an expert's view on a case-to-case basis.

1. Mud phuska terracing and paving with brick tiles (refer to the Home Guide on Heat Insulation and Rainwater harvesting)

2. Lime concrete terracing and paving with brick tiles

3. Treatment with polymer modified bitumen polyester.

(Courtesy: The Associated Cement Companies Ltd.

To be continued...

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