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An In-depth Look at Tar Coating: The Ultimate Damp-Proofing Solution for Basements

An In-depth Look at Tar Coating: The Ultimate Damp-Proofing Solution for Basements

November 28, 2023

Although often overlooked, protecting the foundation of your building is a key aspect of any successful construction project. One popular method used to shield basements from dampness is tar coating, a recognized technique in the construction industry that ensures moisture protection from the outside. It becomes especially crucial in areas that experience cold, damp weather, as these provide perfect conditions for moisture accumulation, potentially damaging your structure and creating an inhabitable space.

Before delving into how tar coating works, it’s essential to understand why it’s important to waterproof your basement in the first place. Water can be an enemy to your construction, damaging both the structure and the quality of life within it. Too much moisture can lead to mold growth, which poses serious health risks, and facilitate decay, compromising the building's structural integrity. A well-damp-proofed basement thus contributes to healthier living conditions and the longevity of the building.

Tar coating, sometimes referred to as tar damp proofing, is a cost-effective and reliable method in use for years. Despite the rise of several modern and synthetic waterproofing techniques, tar coating continues to hold its ground, known for its robustness, easy application, and proven results.

The process of tar coating is fairly straightforward. The application happens outside the foundation walls to create a barrier between the exterior elements and the basement. After cleaning the exterior basement walls thoroughly to ensure that the tar can stick properly, contractors apply a thick coat of tar. The tar coats the concrete fully, creating a waterproof shield. In some instances, a protective board may be applied over the tar for additional insulation and protection.

One of the unique aspects of tar coating is its drying time. Particularly in cold, damp weather, tar can take up to seven days to dry properly. Proper drying ensures that the coating adheres well to the surface, providing maximum protection against water. Rushing the drying process can cause bubbles or patches, leading to ineffective damp proofing and costly repairs in the future. Therefore, patience and planning are vital during the tar coating process, ensuring the weather conditions align well with the drying time.

It’s crucial to note that while tar coating is predominantly used for new constructions, it can be used for existing buildings experiencing damp problems. However, the process might be more challenging as it would entail digging around the foundation to expose the walls for coating.

While tar coating comes with many benefits, like any other method, it is not without its downsides. Firstly, not all types of soil are suitable for tar coating. Soil types with high clay content may not drain water efficiently, potentially leading to the breakdown of the tar layer over time. Further, tar coating is more susceptible to damage from backfilling. Despite these challenges, the benefits of using tar for damp proofing are overwhelming.

To sum up, tar coating is an effective, tried-and-trusted method for protecting building foundations from the ingress of moisture. It’s an essential part of construction that shouldn't be overlooked, particularly for buildings in colder, damper climates. With the right preparation and patience, tar coating can secure your building against dampness, providing a safe, dry, and healthy environment for inhabitants.