Podium Waterproofing Membrane Replacement

Every building requires regular maintenance, encompassing various aspects of the property. This includes addressing both age-related and performance-related issues. One crucial area that necessitates attention is waterproofing membranes, which can be among the most complex and costly projects a strata association or multi-family building owner may undertake.

Are you a resident of a multi-unit building with spacious landscaped patios and underground parking or living areas? Have you experienced ongoing water leaks, despite previous repairs? It might be time to consider revitalizing the waterproofing system for the podium.

Podium Waterproofing for Multi-Unit Buildings and Large Structures:

In numerous multi-unit residential buildings(MURB), high-rises, cooperative housing, and other large structures – below-grade parking, storage areas, and even living spaces are commonly found. These extended areas above ground level are known as podiums or plazas. Click here to view from visual library. Typically, they are adorned with landscaping, walkways, and sometimes even ponds or other captivating features. Podiums, similar to roofs, require proper waterproofing to protect the structure.

Podium waterproofing failures are not uncommon, leading to water leaks in parking garages or other areas beneath the podium. Tracing and fixing the leaks can be challenging due to the overburden of landscaping, gravel, and pavers. Spot repairs, such as crack injection or sealing, are initially cost-effective solutions for building owners. However, there may come a point when these measures are insufficient to address the problem. Ultimately, full replacement of the podium waterproofing becomes necessary.

Signs of Parkade Leakage

Leakage in a parkade membrane becomes evident through water dripping through ceilings or walls. Additionally, efflorescence, a white-ish coating on the concrete, may appear due to water drawing salt from the concrete. Please click here to read the indicators that suggest your parking garage may require rehabilitation.

How do you know when it’s time to renew the podium waterproofing?

The timing for renewing the podium waterproofing is typically based on the standard service life of the membrane used and is outlined in the building’s capital depreciation report or Reserve Fund Study. These reports are prepared by engineering consultants and provide recommendations for the maintenance and renewal schedule of the podium membrane. Following the guidelines in the report ensures that the waterproofing is renewed at the appropriate time to maintain the integrity of the structure.

Addressing Parkade Leaks

For relatively young buildings, there are a few approaches to address parkade leaks before considering a full parkade membrane replacement:

Metal pan:

Metal diverters can be installed to direct small amounts of dripping water away from cars parked in the parkade. While these solutions are effective for slow and minor leaks, they do not address larger issues affecting the parkade structure.

Crack repair Injection:

When it comes to repairing cracks in concrete structures, whether they are vertical, overhead, or located below ground level, injection techniques are employed to effectively mitigate the infiltration of water. Specifically, when addressing cracks from the inside (negative side) of the structure, two commonly utilized methods are epoxy resin injection and polyurethane chemical grout injection. These techniques make use of specific product technologies and provide effective solutions tailored to different types of cracks. Please click here to read our blog to gain insights into the comparison of those repair systems.

Waterproof Membrane Replacement Process:

A full membrane replacement becomes necessary when leaks become more significant in number and size, compromising building’s structure. This project involves several steps, including:

  1. Landscaping and Surface Removal: Removing landscaping features, grass, patios, and walkways.
  2. Excavation and Accessing the Membrane: Digging down to reach the waterproof membrane and concrete slab of the parking garage.
  3. Waterproof Membrane Replacement: Removing the old membrane, Proper substrate preparation including any concrete repairs and installing a new one, ensuring proper sealing and adherence to waterproofing standards. Quality control checks.
  4. Strategic Site Upgrades: Leveraging the landscaping removal phase as an advantageous opportunity for owners to consider and implement building upgrades or installations that would be prohibitively expensive or impractical to undertake at a later stage.
  5. Restoring Landscaping and Walkways: Re-establishing landscaping elements and walkways while taking precautions to prevent direct contact between the landscaping and the building.
Waterproof Membrane Replacement cost:

Undertaking a podium waterproofing replacement project is a significant endeavor, both in terms of scale and cost. It ranks among the most expensive maintenance projects, often exceeding $300,000 for a typical condominium. The total cost is influenced by various factors, including the size of the membrane requiring replacement and the extent of landscaping removal involved. Additionally, the project involves extensive planning and coordination to ensure the successful removal and installation of the new waterproofing system. Due to its complexity and substantial investment, it is essential to engage professionals and carefully evaluate all aspects before proceeding with a full parkade membrane replacement.