Waterproofing & Dampproofing
The Chicago Roofing Contractors Association has many
members who participate in Waterproofing and Dampproofing
in various forms. Waterproofing is typically an “underground”
application, but can also have an above grade, but below
the roof location on a building. Dampproofing is typically
installed on below grade walls and under floor slabs
Photo Courtesy of
Photo Courtesy of
Dessent Roofing Co., Inc.
Photo Courtesy of
& Repair Company
Listed below are definitions, some of the categories
of waterproofing and dampproofing and how do choose
a contractor for this scope of work:
– Waterproofing is defined as the resistance of
the passage of water under hydrostatic head pressure.
Hydrostatic head pressure means water is present from
underground water buildup. This pressure is greater
in soils that don’t allow much water to flow away
from a building, like clay and solid rock. Waterproofing
Materials are available to suit the varied building
Walls of a building’s basement levels are sometimes
protected against water seepage as the space may be
used as storage, parking, or other occupancy use allowed
– In many cases, plaza waterproofing located
above occupied spaces is buried under pavers, grass
and other plantings. These applications are referred
to as waterproofing projects in most cases, and may
have different assembly configuration and detailing
methods than a conventional roofing assembly.
– Many types of coatings are
applied to deck assemblies for auto and pedestrian
traffic, sports surfaces and other applications. These
coating systems are applied by CRCA Member Roofing
and Waterproofing Contractors.
– The roofs of underground buildings are considered
waterproofing applications because they are usually
buried under some amount of insulation, drainage systems
and soil or other topping. As such, waterproofing
materials, systems and details are used instead of
typical roofing details. This is due to the unknown
direction of water travel. Once a structure is underground,
water may seep from above or be driven by water pressure
upward towards the ground surface. Special Flashings
and other procedures are necessary to produce a successful
Dampproofing is defined as the resistance of water
in the absence of hydrostatic head pressure. Dampproofing
materials typically will not bridge cracks in concrete
that may occur during the life of a building.
Dampproofing can be used on either Residential or
Commercial / Industrial / Institutional Applications.
Most Dampproofing products are spray applied very
quickly and applied at around thinner in some cases
than waterproofing. Therefore, Dampproofing may be
significantly less costly than waterproofing.
How to Select a Roofing &
The Characteristics that are important in any service
industry selection also hold true with a waterproofing
and dampproofing contractor. Important things to consider
- Is Roofing and Waterproofing/Dampproofing the contractors’
primary business? Does the firm have experience installing
the particular materials on the project?
- Does the Contractor have an educated workforce?
- Is the Contractor Licensed and Bonded?
- Does the Contractor belong to the local (CRCA),
regional (MRCA) and national (NRCA) trade associations?
These associations provide educational opportunities
for employees and workers in many topics.
- Insurance protection is important to you, the purchaser.
Does the Contractor have adequate Workers Compensation,
Finished Products and General Liability Insurance
as required by local ordinances? Ask for the certificates
of insurance and review the coverage and effective
- Have you seen a reference project listing of similar
- Have you called the local Better Business Bureau?
- Did the contractor provide a written proposal?
- Have you verified the contractors address, Tax
I.D. number, phone and fax numbers?
- What kind of Quality and Safety Programs does the
firm have in place to protect you and their employees?
Do they have any certifications? Is their safety record
better than the national average consistently? (click
here for information about Safety)
- Who will supervise the work?
The questions above for evaluation of a contractor
are not exhaustive. Be sure to review bids for work
carefully, focusing not just on price, but also on quality
and qualifications to perform the scope of work on the
particular Roofing, Waterproofing or Dampproofing project.
• How to
Select a Contractor?
• How to
Find a Contractor?
• Why a
CRCA Member Contractor?
• Browse the CRCA Member List