It doesn’t matter how big or small your project is. When you are looking to build something you need to spend time considering the waterproofing part of your design. If you skimp on this part of the build you can end up with moisture and water getting into your new build. This can cause an array of issues from mold and health issues to structural integrity issues.
Fortunately, you can avoid these issues by considering the waterproofing design before you start working. The following tips will help.
Know Your Water Table
Your water table is the depth of soil you need to dig before you find water. Water is present under the soil at the rock level and can always be drilled down to. But, you need to know where it is. The closer it is to the surface the more likely it is you’ll have water ingress into the foundations and potential flooding in the yard.
If this is likely you need a good waterproof course up to the winter flooding level to ensure water can’t get into your home.
The higher the water level the harder it will be to dig the foundations and wastewater/utility pipe trenches. This is because you may have water present while digging. If you are digging trenches you need to utilize hydro excavation, from a service like Total Drain Cleaning. This is a non-destructive way to remove the soil, using water. It’s particularly effective when you have water-logged soil.
Whether you have established a high water table or not, you need to consider the drainage of water at your build. The ground must be sloped slightly to encourage water run-off to drain away from your home and toward the main drains. It’s best to consider this before you start building anything as it can make a difference to your approach.
The greater the potential exposure to water the more important it is that you use the right building materials. Wood does not do well when constantly exposed to water. Metal can withstand it for long periods providing it is protected from direct contact. Concrete and brick are generally the best options for constant exposure to water. However, you do need a damp proof course on the inside of these to prevent the moisture from coming into the building.
A pitched roof has to slope and allows the rain to leave the building. Providing you keep the gutters clear it will simply soak away. However, when dealing with a flat roof you need to make sure that us has an adequate slope and good drainage. The roof should have a minimum of ¼”/ft but a little more is good. This should direct water to the drainage point and this needs to be properly sealed to ensure water flows down the drains and not elsewhere.
Finally, when designing any structure you need to calculate the potential loads it could be under. This means the worst-case scenario and includes the pressure of high water levels. These figures can be included in your calculations regarding supporting structures and ensure the property you are building is capable of withstanding the elements.