Why Are Elastomeric Coatings Ideal in Waterproofing Systems?

To waterproof an area, it’s important to use a system to prevent water from seeping in. One of the best options for a waterproofing system is to use an elastomeric coating. Elastomeric coatings are ideal because they provide a seamless barrier against water and moisture infiltration. Additionally, they’re easy to apply and can be used on new and existing construction. Here, we’ll look at why elastomeric coatings are an effective choice for waterproofing systems.

What Are Elastomeric Coatings and What Do They Do?

Elastomeric coatings are types of coatings designed to provide a high degree of flexibility and elasticity. This makes them ideal for use in applications where there is a need for the coating to be able to flex and move without breaking or cracking.

Common examples of surfaces that are often coated with elastomeric coatings include:

  • Water pipes
  • Industrial and commercial floors
  • Parking and bridge decks
  • Pedestrian walkways
  • Foundations
  • Industrial, commercial, and residential roofing systems (generally low slope or flat roofs along with inverted roofs)

The three most widely used types of elastomeric coatings are acrylicsilicone and urethane.

Acrylic Elastomeric Coatings

These elastomeric coatings are water-based. They tend to be the least expensive of the elastomeric coating options however because they are water-based ponding water can cause the coating to become diluted and cause significant wear down of the coating over time.  Additionally they don’t have the ability to expand and contract with cold snaps in the weather and can easily crack when temperatures drop. They are a better option on sloped roofs, or low slope roofs with adequate drainage, in warmer climates.

Silicone Elastomeric Coatings

Silicone elastomeric coatings are silicone-resin based and are 96% solids which means there is no danger of them wearing down from ponding water. They are also twice as resistant to weathering as acrylics but are a more expensive option.

Urethane Elastomeric Coatings

Urethane coatings are the most impact resistant of all of the elastomeric coatings with the greatest degree of flexibility. Like the silicones they are resistant to ponding water. They are an ideal option for areas where ponding water may be an issue and in climates that experience a wide range of temperatures from very hot to very cold. They also stay cleaner than silicone or acrylic coatings as they resist dirt.

How Do Elastomeric Coatings Work?

Elastomeric coatings work by expanding and contracting as needed in order to maintain a tight seal around the surface they are protecting. The flexibility of the coating allows it to move with the surface, preventing cracking or breaking.

Elastomeric coatings are typically applied cold as a liquid, and they cure to form a flexible, durable film. Once cured, the coating will not chip, flake, or peel, and depending on its chemical makeup it will resist UV light, chemical damage, and abrasion.

What Are the Benefits of Using Elastomeric Coatings in Waterproofing Systems?

There are many benefits of using elastomeric coatings, including:

  • Improved durability: Elastomeric coatings are designed to withstand high-stress levels and movement without breaking or cracking.
  • Resistance to weathering and abrasion: Elastomeric coatings are resistant to UV light and chemical damage.
  • Enhanced appearance: Elastomeric coatings can improve the appearance of the surface they are applied to by providing a smooth, uniform finish.

How Can You Apply an Elastomeric Coating-Based Waterproofing System?

Some best practices for installing an elastomeric coating-based waterproofing system include:

  • Ensure Appropriate Surface Profile: For areas like concrete parking decks ensure that any old coatings have been removed prior to application and that the concrete deck has the appropriate surface profile for membrane adhesion – this can be achieved through methods like shotblasting, grinding, etc.
  • Ensure the Entire Area is Clean and Dry:  All dust, debris, and loose material must be removed from the area to be coated by methods like power/pressure washing.
  • Using a primer: Applying a primer will help improve the adhesion of the elastomeric coating to the surface.  Depending on the type of substrate, moisture level of the substrate, temperature of the substrate/surrounding area, and the type of coating you are applying, different primers will be recommended.
  • Apply adequate film thickness: To ensure the elastomeric coating performs as intended the applicator must ensure they have applied the adequate film thickness as per the product TDS. In general the best tip for applying these coatings with even coverage is to apply two coats. In certain cases applying multiple coats of elastomeric coating can provide better protection against abrasion such as in areas like parking deck turn lanes.  
  • Allow adequate cure time:  Ensure the previous coat is dried and cured thoroughly before applying an additional coat.
  • Use reinforcement: Polyester fleece/membranes are fabrics that can be imbedded in the elastomeric coating in areas where extra reinforcement is needed such as in roof decks where there may be significant movement, around roof penetrations, upturns etc. In areas of parking decks where there are cracks fleece reinforcement may be recommended as well.

By following these best practices, you can ensure that your elastomeric coating-based waterproofing system will be effective and long-lasting.

How to Choose the Right Elastomeric Coating for Your Waterproofing Project

There are a few factors to consider when choosing an elastomeric coating for your waterproofing project, including:

  • The type of surface you are coating: Elastomeric coatings are available in different formulations for different types of surfaces. Make sure to choose a formulation compatible with the surface you are coating.
  • The level of protection you need: Elastomeric coatings are available in different levels of protection. Choose a coating that will provide the level of protection you need for your project.
  • The environment: Elastomeric coatings are designed to withstand different environments. Make sure to choose a coating compatible with the environment where it will be applied.

Contact IMC Distributors in Canada to Learn More about Elastomeric Waterproofing Systems

IMC Distributors is a leading distributor of elastomeric waterproofing products in Canada. We offer a wide range of elastomeric coatings and accessories to meet the needs of any waterproofing project. Contact us today to learn more about our products and how we can help you with your next project.

Karli Logan is the Owner & President of IMC Distributors, which is the exclusive partner of ISOMAT and Nukote Coating Systems in Canada. With a B.Sc and M.Sc, as well as a demonstrated history of working across a number of industries, she has a passion to drive significant gains and benefits for her clients.