While many concrete structures have a design life of 50 to 100 years, not all live up to expectations. Much of the concrete infrastructure currently in service across North America is badly in need of repair or replacement, and this premature deterioration is a large hidden cost to owners. What is causing this lack of durability?
The great advantage of barrier-free showers is they are more functional than their traditional counterparts. They provide easy access for anyone—especially children, the elderly, and those with reduced mobility. Further, the absence of doorsills and corners makes them easier to maintain. Seamless floor transitions also maximize floor space by making the shower look and ‘feel’ bigger. This is particularly true for small bathrooms where glass doors are eliminated to make the space more functional and practical.
For as long as anyone can remember, the construction industry has used the word ‘waterproof’ to describe construction materials. People commonly refer to something as being waterproof if it holds water in or out and does not leak. However, the word waterproof is technically not defined this way. Most dictionaries define it as being impervious to water, that water cannot penetrate it at all. This raises a serious question: Can anything really be completely impervious to water?
Moisture infiltration can cause serious damage within a structure. When water in liquid form is present, the impact can be catastrophic—the structure can become uninhabitable. There are various methods used to address water penetration within a structure, and two of the most common techniques are waterproofing and dampproofing. Both these options can prevent moisture, but waterproofing will resist the passage of water under hydrostatic head pressure. In other words, it stops liquid water penetration when the water is in contact with the waterproofing material. In comparison, dampproofing only resists water in the absence of this hydrostatic pressure.
Green roofs are continuing to gain recognition as a sustainable building design feature throughout North America. These vegetated assemblies contribute to many credits under the Canada Green Building Council’s (CaGBC’s) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.
To ensure performance of these systems, the Single-ply Roofing Industry (SPRI) association has passed two design standards and a test procedure specific for vegetative roofs in the last couple of years.
Plaza deck waterproofing typically requires replacement at some point during the building’s life. Restoration of the waterproofing system over occupied space poses many challenges, both in design and construction. Typically, plaza decks now being subject to restoration were constructed many years ago and do not include subsurface drainage or adequate deck slope at the waterproofing membrane level.