The Importance of Code Compliant Testing on Waterproofing Systems
When choosing the best waterproofing system for your job, always look for manufacturers that are code compliant and industry certified. Code compliant manufacturers are those with proprietary systems that have been tested through independent assembly testers and the industry regulatory agencies such as ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) and ICC-ES (a subset of the International Code Council).
There are many reasons why it is important to use certified waterproofing systems – for both your company’s reputation of quality workmanship and the customer’s expectation of a long-lasting, durable flooring system. Certified systems adhere to industry regulations regarding safe materials and best installation practices. Tested and certified waterproofing systems not only provide a low-maintenance waterproofed floor that will last for many years, but these proprietary systems are also tested for public safety – which is important to business owners.
The following is a list of the most important and comprehensive industry tests required for a waterproof system to pass code compliant requirements:
- Assembly Testing – this independent test determines the degree to which the waterproofing system successfully integrates with other building components and seeks to qualify which systems and materials work best with specific construction elements, such as the type of existing flooring substrate and the building’s structural support members.
- Architects will use these test results to properly specify design components and estimate costs of flooring systems for new construction, while contractors obtain assurance that the waterproofing system will perform as described by the manufacturer when installing properly.
- Business and residential home owners rely on certified manufacturer’s to produce high-performance waterproofing systems with the right combination of materials and components to fit the required application. Assembly testing assures the owner that certain waterproof deck coatings are appropriate for a plywood floor base, while others are to be used as concrete coatings.
- One-Hour System Test – is another test that considers the various building materials that are integrated as a complete flooring system. A standard testing procedure exposes the system to intense heat and flames to determine the fire resistance rating for construction. Building systems with a one-hour fire resistance rating do not act as an accelerant and will maintain their structural integrity for one-hour. This gives occupants a chance to exit the structure and firefighters a time-frame in which to combat the fire. A One Hour Class A rated construction material is considered noncombustible, nonflammable and ignition resistant.
- Water Vapor Transmission – waterproofing composites and membranes undergo this WVTR test to determine the water vapor transmission rate of the materials. This test will provide reference data in which to compare different waterproofing system’s ability to prevent water infiltration. A low permeable flooring system will protect from ‘damping moisture’ from soil and ‘liquid water’ from the flooring surface, both of which can cause blistering, bubbles, or cracks in the finished floor.
- Chemical Resistance Tests – evaluates the waterproofing composites or polymers resistance to chemical attack and degradation against likely end-use environmental solutions. These include cleaning agents, lubricants, foods, inks, road salt, and any other chemicals expected to be spilled onto industrial, commercial or residential flooring. Epoxy floors are a preferred choice for industrial and showroom flooring, as these floors are highly resistant to chemicals, abrasions, and impact.
- Bond Strength Testing – ASTM D7105-06 is a common test protocol to determine the force required to cause separation of waterproofing system from the subfloor. Both adhesion (the grip between two different substances) and cohesion (the stability of the composite material to maintain a molecular bond with itself) are tested to determine the point of failure. Waterproof coatings with excellent bond strength are crucial to prevent the multiple layers from base coat to the decorative finish from separating or peeling.
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