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Enhancing Waterproofing Performance with Bond Breakers

The Role of Bond Breakers Beneath Liquid Waterproof Membranes

One of the biggest culprits of post-completion defects stems from problems with waterproofing systems. Sometimes, these problems arise from the absence of them altogether. Achieving a strong and durable waterproofing solution is crucial to construction projects. This is especially true in areas prone to moisture, where issues can stay hidden for extended periods of time. A valuable but often underestimated component is the use bond breakers under liquid waterproof membranes. In this article, we explore the critical role of bond breakers and how streamlined QA management software plays a vital part in reducing post-completion defects.

Understanding Bond Breakers

A bond breaker is a material applied between two surfaces to prevent their adhesion. In the context of liquid waterproofing systems, bond breakers create an essential barrier between the substrate and the waterproof membrane. This separation is vital. It allows the waterproofing membrane to work well without being affected by any movements or stress in the substrate. Buildings naturally shift during their life, and waterproofing systems should be designed to deal with this movement.

Many buildings are not properly constructed in this way. Specifiers will often rely on mandating compliance with the NCC or manufacturers’ requirements rather than detailing this way on drawings. Visibuild allows a process where compliance with the NCC and manufacturers’ requirements can be demonstrated and recorded. Additionally, the multiple layers involved in a waterproofing system can be independently checked.

Preserving Elongation Properties

Bond breakers offer an essential but often overlooked advantage: they maintain the stretching ability of liquid waterproof membranes. Stretching is a material’s ability to expand without breaking or tearing. Waterproof membranes typically have excellent stretching properties, allowing them to accomodate and adapt to structural movement and environmental stress.

However, when a waterproof membrane continuously bonds to the substrate, it can diminish the elongation properties to the point of failure. Substrate movement or stress can make the membrane stretch too much, leading to tears, cracks, or detachment. Bond breakers come in various forms, from bandages and tapes to silicones or polyurethanes. The correct use depends on the class of waterproofing and the individual manufacturer’s details.

Bond breakers are particularly important in joints, corners, or connections between materials like metal angles or puddle flanges. Puddle flanges should not only be integrated into the surface but also incorporate a bond breaker at the transition point. Next time you’re on-site, take a moment to check if the puddle flange has been installed correctly.

Benefits of Bond Breakers in Preserving Elongation Properties

Enhanced Flexibility: Bond breakers effectively decouple the waterproof membrane from the substrate, allowing it to move independently. This allows the membrane to stretch and contract without being constrained by the substrate, preserving its elongation properties.

Reduced Risk of Tears & Cracks: By preventing the membrane from being continuously bonded to the substrate, bond breakers reduce the risk of tears, cracks, or detachment. This is especially critical in areas with high levels of substrate movement or changes in materials.

Longer Lifespan: Waterproofing systems that incorporate bond breakers tend to have a longer lifespan. This is because the membrane’s elasticity and durability maintain over time.

Improved Resistance to Environmental Stress: Bond breakers help the waterproofing system’s ability to withstand environmental stressors without compromising effectiveness. These stressors may include temperature fluctuations and the settling of the building.

Incorporating bond breakers beneath liquid waterproof membranes isn’t just a best practice but a necessity to ensure the long-term success of waterproofing. By preserving the elongation properties, bond breakers enable it to flex and adapt to substrate movement and stress, preventing tears and cracks. This enhances the overall performance, durability, and water-tightness of the structure.

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The Role of Streamlined QA Management Systems on Waterproofing

It’s often said within the industry, and deeply embedded within the culture that “You don’t know what you can’t see.” Waterproofing defects aren’t always immediately visible. It’s not until the veil of quality starts to crack and businesses experience the strain of costs in rectifying issues that could have been noticed earlier, and jobs that should have been done right – the first time.

Every day, Visibuild is helping projects document, track and verify their waterproofing systems in real-time, ensuring heightened levels of compliance and peace of mind for their clients.


See how Visibuild can transform the quality management process of your business.