Waterproofing

Tanking Vs Waterproofing – What Is The Difference?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Tanking and Waterproofing Defined: Tanking and waterproofing are distinct methods for preventing water damage in structures. Tanking involves applying a waterproof membrane to create a physical barrier against wate.
  • Distinguishing Tanking from Waterproofing: Tanking employs a waterproof membrane (e.g., bitumen, polyurethane) to create a robust barrier in areas frequently exposed to water, like basements.
  • Key Differences in Purpose, Application, and Materials: Tanking is focused on water-resistant barriers in areas with regular water exposure, like basements. It uses heavier materials (e.g., cementitious coatings) for robust protection.

When protecting structures of homes or buildings from water damage, the terms “tanking” and “waterproofing” are often used interchangeably. However, these two techniques are quite different processes.

Tanking is a waterproofing process that involves applying a waterproof membrane to the walls and floors of a structure to prevent water from entering. On the other hand, waterproofing involves using sealants, coatings, and other materials to protect the structure from water damage.

For a better understanding, we’ll cover a comprehensive guide on tanking vs waterproofing & what waterproofing is. By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of the two processes.

What are Tanking & Waterproofing

Tanking and waterproofing are two methods used to prevent water from penetrating structures such as buildings, basements, and roofs. Tanking involves creating a physical barrier against water by applying a waterproof membrane to the surface of a structure. 

Differentiating Tanking & Waterproofing

This membrane can be made of various materials, such as bitumen, liquid-applied polyurethane, or sheet membranes. The goal is to create a completely waterproof barrier to water, preventing it from seeping through and causing damage to the structure.

On the other hand, waterproofing involves treating a material with a substance that repels water, preventing it from penetrating the surface. You can do this by using coatings, paints, or sealants. 

A waterproofing system can be used on concrete, wood, and metal surfaces. It’s a popular method for protecting surfaces that are not frequently exposed to standing water but still need to be protected from occasional exposure. Even drainage system components can be waterproofed to prevent water from getting in.

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Tanking Vs. Waterproofing: What Is The Difference?

While both tanking and waterproofing are used to prevent water damage, the two methods have some key differences. Here are some differences between tanking and waterproofing:

Purpose

Tanking typically creates a water-resistant barrier in areas in constant contact with water, such as basements or swimming pools.  

Waterproofing, on the other hand, is used to prevent water from penetrating surfaces that are not in constant contact with water, such as roofs or foundations.

Application

Tanking is typically used for below-grade structures or areas that are frequently exposed to standing water, such as basements, tunnels, or swimming pools. It involves creating a completely waterproof barrier to prevent water from seeping through and causing damage.

On the other hand, waterproofing is more versatile and can be used on various surfaces such as concrete, wood, and metal. It’s typically used for above-grade structures or areas occasionally exposed to water, such as roofs, balconies, or external walls.

Materials

Tanking typically involves using a thicker, more heavy-duty material, such as cementitious coatings or epoxy resins, to create a strong barrier against water. 

Waterproofing involves using lighter-weight materials, such as liquid-applied membranes or sheet membranes.

Cost

The cost of tanking and waterproofing can vary based on the project’s specific needs. Tanking is typically more expensive due to the need for heavy-duty materials. More labor is required for this application.

In general, tanking is often more expensive than waterproofing due to the complexity of the application process and the materials used.

Maintenance

Tanking is generally a more robust solution and requires less maintenance than waterproofing. Once a tanking system is installed, it can last many years without significant maintenance.

Waterproofing, on the other hand, can require more maintenance over time. The coatings or sealants used in such type of basement waterproofing system can break down over time due to exposure to the elements or UV radiation, requiring regular touch-ups or reapplication.

How Tanking Works? What Are The Different Types Of Tanking?

Tanking creates a waterproof barrier on the inside of a structure using a thick, heavy-duty material, such as cementitious coatings or epoxy resins, to prevent water from penetrating the walls and floors. This creates a watertight seal that keeps the structure dry and prevents water damage. The basement tanking work is usually done after the main structure of the building has been built.

Types Of Tanking

Several types of tanking are available, each with its advantages and disadvantages. The main types of tanking are:

  1. Cementitious Tanking: This involves the application of a cement-based slurry or coating to the walls or floors of the building. The cementitious material provides a robust and durable waterproof layer that can withstand high water pressure.
  2. Bituminous Tanking: Bituminous tanking involves the application of a bitumen-based waterproof membrane to the walls or floors of the building. Bitumen is a highly effective waterproofing material commonly used in below-ground structures to prevent water ingress. Such basement tanking describes the application of a protective coating or membrane directly onto the walls and floors of a basement or cellar room.
  3. Polyurethane Tanking: Polyurethane tanking involves the application of a polymer-based liquid membrane to the earth retaining walls or floors of the building. Polyurethane is a flexible and durable material that can withstand movement and settlement in the structure, making it ideal for areas prone to cracking or shifting.
  4. Sheet Membrane Tanking: This involves using pre-formed waterproof membranes, typically made of PVC or butyl rubber, that is applied to the walls or floors of the building. Sheet membrane tanking is a quick and easy solution that provides high protection against water ingress.

How Waterproofing Works? What Are The Different Types Of Waterproofing?

Waterproofing works by applying a waterproof material or water management system, such as liquid-applied membranes or sheet membranes, to surfaces that are not in constant contact with water, such as roofs or foundations. 

This material creates a barrier that prevents water from penetrating and causing damage to the structure. Some waterproofing materials used in the waterproofing industry, such as UV protection and insulation, also provide added benefits.

Types Of Waterproofing

There are different types of waterproofing, each with its benefits and limitations. Here are some of the most common types of waterproofing.

Types Of Waterproofing
  1. Liquid Applied Membrane: A liquid coating is applied to the surface of a structure to create a waterproof barrier. The coating can be made of various materials, including polyurethane, acrylics, and rubberized asphalt.
  2. Bituminous Membrane: In this method, you have to use a sheet or roll of bituminous material, typically made of asphalt or coal tar, to create a waterproof barrier. Bituminous membranes are commonly used in roofing applications.
  3. Cementitious Waterproofing: Creating a waterproof barrier by waterproof coating a structure with cement-based paint. Cementitious waterproofing is commonly used in concrete, brick, and other masonry materials.
  4. Bentonite Waterproofing: This method uses bentonite clay to create a waterproof barrier. The clay is typically installed in a sheet or panel form and swells upon contact with water, effectively sealing off the surface.
  5. Crystalline Waterproofing: This method uses a crystalline material to create a waterproof barrier. The material is applied to the structure’s surface and penetrates the material’s pores, effectively blocking water from entering.
  6. Injection Waterproofing: This method involves injecting a specialized waterproofing material into cracks and voids in a structure to prevent water from seeping in. Injection waterproofing is commonly used in basement walls and foundations, typically for basement waterproofing. When basement tanking is used in conjunction with this method, it provides an extra level of protection against water infiltration.
  7. Exterior Waterproofing: This method involves excavating the area around the structure and applying a waterproof coating to the exterior walls to prevent water from entering.

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Tanking and Waterproofing?

Here, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of tanking and waterproofing. This will help you to make your decision. 

Advantages Of Tanking

  • Robust Protection: Tanking creates a physical barrier that prevents water from penetrating the building, providing a robust and durable waterproofing solution.
  • Versatile: Tanking is applied to various types of structures, including concrete, brick, and blockwork, and is used for both internal and external applications.
  • Long-Lasting: When installed correctly, tanking slurry provides long-lasting protection against water ingress and withstand high water pressure.
  • Additional Usable Space: Tanking creates additional usable space in areas such as basements or cellars, which may otherwise be prone to damp and water damage.

Disadvantages Of Tanking

  • Disruption To Building Occupants: Tanking causes significant disruption to building occupants, particularly if applied internally, and may require them to vacate the premises during installation. The cavity drain system should be installed for the minimum amount of time necessary, and occupants should be informed in advance to ensure their safety.
  • Limited Ventilation: Tanking reduces ventilation within the structure, which causes moisture build-up and increases the risk of damp and mould.

Advantages Of Waterproofing

  • Protection From Water Damage: The primary advantage of waterproofing is that it protects the structure or object from water damage. By creating basement watertight barrier protection, waterproofing prevents the growth of mould and mildew, reduces the risk of rot and rust, and extends the structure’s life.
  • Increased Property Value: Waterproofing increases a property’s value by preventing water damage and ensuring the structure’s longevity. This is especially important in areas prone to flooding or heavy rainfall.
  • Improved Air Quality: Waterproofing improves a structure’s air quality by preventing mould and mildew growth, making it a healthier environment for occupants.
  • Energy Efficiency: Waterproofing enhances the energy efficiency of a structure by preventing water from entering and reducing the risk of leaks, which lead to heat loss.
increased property value

Disadvantages Of Waterproofing

  • Maintenance: Depending on the type of waterproofing used, maintenance is required to ensure that the waterproofing remains effective over time.
  • Risk Of Improper Installation: The effectiveness of waterproofing depends on the quality of the installation. Improper installation leads to leaks and water damage.

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Get a no obligation FREE quote now. Our team is here to help. Take the first step towards a guaranteed solution by filling out our form below. 

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Which One To Choose Between Tanking And Waterproofing?

The choice between tanking and waterproofing will depend on the situation and level of water exposure involved. Here are some general guidelines to help you decide which method to choose.

Level Of Water Exposure

Tanking is typically used in areas in constant contact with water, such as basements or swimming pools.

Waterproofing is a better option if the area in question is not in constant contact with water, such as a roof or foundation, waterproofing is a better option.

Cost

Tanking is typically more expensive than waterproofing due to the need for heavy-duty materials and the labour required for application. On the other hand, waterproofing is more cost-effective if cost is a concern.

Timing

Tanking is typically applied during construction or renovation, while waterproofing can be applied anytime. But waterproofing is a better option if you retrofit an existing structure.

Maintenance

Tanking may require less maintenance than waterproofing, as it is typically a more permanent solution. In contrast, waterproofing needs to be reapplied or maintained over time to ensure continued effectiveness.

Importance Of Seeking Professional Help For Tanking Or Waterproofing 

If you are considering tanking or waterproofing a structure, you should seek professional help from a damp expert or waterproofing specialist. They can assess your situation and recommend the best method to prevent water damage and prolong the structure’s life.

Professional contractors properly install the tanking or waterproofing materials to ensure they are effective and long-lasting. They have the knowledge and expertise to use the right materials and methods for your specific situation and provide ongoing maintenance and support to help prevent future issues.

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Final Words

We hope after reading this guide, you will know all about tanking vs waterproofing & what is waterproofing? From now on, you will be able to make the right decision which will be best for you.

In general, tanking and waterproofing are two different methods to prevent water damage. In contrast, they share the same goal, purpose, application, materials, cost, maintenance, and timing differences.

However, consulting with a professional surveyor can help ensure that the appropriate method is selected and properly applied, which prevents water damage and prolongs the life of the structure or object.

Jake Fitzgerald - Damp Surveyor

Jake Fitzgerald - Damp Surveyor

Surveyor of Timber & Dampness in Buildings (CSTDB) & ( MRICS ) Chartered Quantity Surveyor

Jake is a qualified chartered quantity surveyor and experienced damp specialist with a unique skill set in thermal imaging. With a focus on effective solutions, Jake combines his expertise in quantity surveying and thermal imaging to accurately assess and address damp-related issues. He utilises advanced technology to identify hidden moisture sources and develop targeted strategies, ensuring comprehensive and cost-effective solutions for his clients. With a commitment to open communication and client satisfaction, Jake delivers cutting-edge solutions that tackle damp challenges head-on.

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