When you look at big-picture trends, construction revenues in the United States continue to grow steadily. General construction grew by 3.4 percent between 2013–2018, while commercial and home building construction grew by 8.3 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively, over the past five years.
As the industry expands, building contractors need to offer their customers longer-lasting, high-performance solutions to stay competitive. High-quality waterproofing is essential to preventing structural damage and maintaining a healthy, comfortable environment for residents.
We spoke with Antonia Chan, Marketing Manager for Construction Coatings at BASF, to learn more about the waterproofing industry and what it means to have a quality waterproof coating.
What happens when structures are not properly waterproofed?
Antonia Chan: When water infiltrates a building, it breeds mold and mildew. We can often attribute indoor air quality issues to the presence of trapped moisture.
Water also degrades many types of materials. When it seeps into cracks in a building and freezes, it can expand and create further damage and structural concerns.
You want a building to be properly sealed to prevent leaks, resulting damage and indoor air quality concerns.
For BASF, the continuous research and development of new, quality products enable formulators to create innovative waterproofing technologies that support the needs of contractors, builders and DIYers in this space.
What are some trends driving innovation in the waterproofing industry?
AC: Homeowners and contractors alike are working constantly to prevent exposure to the elements, such as rainwater. When it comes to construction, water can delay projects, infiltrate cracks and damage homes and commercial buildings.
That’s often compounded by the wet weather and climates we see here in North America, particularly in spring and early summer. I’m talking about record-breaking rainfalls that have led to increasingly intense and frequent flooding.
The dangers of water and wet environments drive the growing demand for high-quality waterproofing products that protect structures and prevent water intrusion.
What do contractors look for in a waterproofing product?
AC: They want waterproofing that works. BASF’s polymers and additives help achieve optimal performance for formulated waterproof coatings in terms of water resistance, flexibility, strength and adhesion.
Water resistance refers to the coating’s ability to resist water, which in turn has properties like low water uptake or absorption. Flexibility and strength prevent tears in the coating by helping it move with the waterproofed surface as the structure shifts. Finally, adhesion helps the coating stick and bond to the surface, ensuring that it stays put without shifting or peeling away.
Those are the building blocks of a quality waterproof coating.
What types of waterproofing products does BASF offer?
AC: BASF offers a very diverse portfolio of polymer dispersions and additives in our waterproofing segment, which is divided into three application areas. The first application is mastic waterproofing, or ready-to-use coatings that can be rolled or sprayed onto horizontal and vertical surfaces.
The building blocks of a good waterproof coating are water resistance, flexibility, strength and adhesion.
Marketing Manager for Construction Coatings at BASF
The second application area that we offer solutions for is polymer-modified asphaltic waterproof coatings — these are bitumen-based, fluid-applied coatings often used for below-grade exterior applications such as basements.
The third application is cementitious waterproofing. These are typically two-component blends used behind tile, over masonry patching and on concrete surfaces. These waterproofing coatings have good affinity to concrete substrates due to their cementitious nature, and thus they provide strong bonding strength. The polymer also contributes to the flexibility properties of these coatings.
Our products are used in coatings for both commercial and residential applications, so even a homeowner can pick up a waterproofing product that contains our raw materials.
How do you formulate a good waterproof coating?
AC: It depends on the application and formulator’s needs.
That said, BASF is committed to partnering with the waterproofing manufacturing community to help achieve their formulation goals with our broad portfolio of solutions and extensive technical expertise.
The product development process is centered around achieving the performance expectations of our customers and the market. Since we have the capability to evaluate a coating’s waterproofing performance according to standard testing methods, our customers are confident in the performance of products they are using to formulate.
What new waterproofing developments are you excited about?
AC: We’re excited about ACRONAL® 4160, a new low-VOC styrene acrylic dispersion for waterproof coatings used on masonry and concrete surfaces. Its claim to fame is that it helps formulators create versatile waterproof membranes that resist standing water, withstands negative-side hydrostatic pressure and prevents water intrusion.
Let’s say, for example, you want to waterproof the inside of a basement wall with water pressure coming from the opposite side. ACRONAL 4160 helps the coating resist hydrostatic pressure coming from the negative side while still maintaining the adhesion, flexibility and strength it needs to perform well. Mastic waterproof coatings formulated with ACRONAL 4160 withstand pressures in excess of 10 PSI, which is quite impressive.