Waterproofing integrity testing, is the only way to keep concrete watertight. As a porous material, concrete can allow water to migrate through, corroding steel reinforcement, bringing in harmful chemicals and creating general livability issues. This is why most construction industry professionals use some sort of waterproofing product to protect their concrete structures. So how do you know if your waterproofing product actually works?
Waterproofing integrity testing is the ‘holy grail’ of building envelope work. To have an assurance that the portions of a building that are expected to get wet due to weather are in a condition to prevent water transmission to the interior is the goal of every contractor, as well as every owner. As a result an entire industry, that of testing laboratories, has been created. Finding test methods to give that assurance has evolved over the decades, with each new advancement in testing providing either more accurate results, results in less time, or both.
Absorption tests are useful for concrete under non-hydrostatic conditions, such as above ground concrete that primarily needs protection from rain. They are applicable to hydrophobic products, which are designed to repel water from the concrete surface.
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The most effective way to test an integral system’s ability to resist water penetration is through a permeability test. These tests take into account how integral systems actually work. They allow you to determine how deeply the water has penetrated and whether crystal growth has started to occur.