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                                                                         RAIN-PROOFING YOUR HOME


Come monsoon and the never ending saga of leaking ceiling, damp walls and damper floorings and basements sets in.  This is one phenomenon, which is extra ordinarily common to houses in India, whether they are situated at Peddar Road in Mumbai or Ambarnath in Thane, or Cherrapunji, the place with the highest rainfall though at the last location the problem may be really worse.  This is one ordeal, which is enough to totally replace the verdant beauty of the season with untoward smells, and damp interiors, which will do everything to dampen a troubled soul.

But doomsday is far, rest assured.  Modern day developments in science and technology have the answer, in fact a range of answers ready.  Let’s probe into the commonly available waterproofing options.  Architect Rajendra Godbole prefers, “The first step in waterproofing existing constructions is to undertake a detailed inspection of the premises and note down the exact causes of leakage.  They may be varied and often, a combination of all the causes.  Whether the leakage is more from the terrace or sidewalls, or there is a reverse osmosis from the flooring, all of these causes will determine the future course of action.  “For side walls, traditionally the cracks were filled with an epoxy-based material and then finished with a coating of silicon.  Most contractors used to break open the cracks and re plaster the building as well.

As the cause so the treatment, whereas Sachin Joshi founder SK Formulation, a leading name in the field of providing waterproofing solutions opines,  “inspection will locate all the problems that need to be solved, but in case of the polymer-based waterproofing that we have ingeniously developed and tested to over 500 buildings over past five years, I feel that the course of action will remain uniform – viz application of the solution to all external surfaces.”  He asserts that the traditional way of undertaking a total re-plastering is totally outdated, tedious and not a full-proof solution for leakages.  On the contrary, modern applications, which may be chemical-based or polymer-based, are ideal.  Both these systems have to be applied on dry walls and after the first rains, nothing can be done till the season is over.

Godbole reminds us that “Pidilite, Ross, Apoorva Chemicals, Sunanda Chemicals, and other chemical companies have innovated different formulae for this purpose.  In all cases however the application standards will determine their efficacy.”  Therefore, SK Formulations, an ISO 9001-2000 certified company has a set of specialized applicators on the job, who know exactly how and where and in what number of layers the application has to be done.  A polymer coating, especially the one devised by SK provides UV resistance to the construction.  It is available in different colors and offers good resistance against wear and tear by way of pollution and other environmental factors.  Incase of external applications, especially for non-cracked surfaces, the binding of  the material with the surface needs to be really sound in order to give the user value for money 

Since the aspect of money has cropped up – traditionally , waterproofing costs something between Rs.60 to Rs.75/= per square foot.  Chemical based applications cost anything from Rs.30 to Rs.150 per square-foot.  The cost depends on the system and mode of application they have chosen.  Some chemical based waterproofing systems include a spreading of layers of different materials like aluminum (AL), glass fiber, etc. for terraces or a thick coating of silicon for the exterior walls.  There are some cheaper cementious polymer coatings available in the market mostly for exterior walls.  In addition, some small time contractors also used tar-based waterproofing systems.  But these are not at all advisable.  Firstly, the jet-black color absorbs tremendous heat during the summer season.  This heat percolates in the house below and therefore this system is not feasible.  In all cases, the initial inspection must be conducted either by an experienced civil engineer or preferably by a construction engineer who will also be able to estimate the life of the building and provide ingenious solution to the problem.

All of the aforementioned measures can only be taken when the rains go away.  They cannot be implemented when the construction is wet.  What can we do when the rains have already set in ?  Well, in this case, the most feasible thing to do would be to get hold of some good quality plastic sheets and/or waterproof canvas.  For terraces one could raise bamboo supports and tie huge thick plastic sheets preferably in a slant) which     will not  wet the terrace much and the slant will help drain off the excess water and thereby leakage could be reduced. For sidewalls too, one could drop plastic sheets from the terrace.  Ensure that you fasten the plastic with nails or some such method and this too can give you temporary relief from leakages.

In case the leakage has already seeped on to inner walls of your house, you could try any of the concealing measures listed below.  These are not solutions but they do restore the aesthetic appeal of your home considerably:

Draw attention to another spot in the room by reducing the light in that particular section and highlighting the adjacent corner with a decorative price.  Re-arrange your furniture to focus away from the wall.

Wallpaper the most affected section of the wall if you are in a hurry to conceal the unsightly patch.

Putting up a collage of family photographs on the wall can draw attention away from the messy area.

To avoid rainwater splashing inside your home, fix a curtain rod in the outer grills of your balcony or large windows, and hang a heavy plastic curtain, it will act as a good rain shade.  These were some updates on waterproofing. For a thorough treatment, seek the help of a qualified and trusted engineer.