Sustainable Waterproofing Practices for House-builders

There is a growing urgency for efficient infrastructure and sustainable strategy when it comes to lowering the impact of construction on the environment by shrinking its footprint. It has become less of a buzzword and more of a shared responsibility amongst contractors, as urban construction becomes a common, fixed part of our everyday scenery – our homes, offices, marketplaces and coffeehouses.

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Nowadays, innovation is compelling the industry to be better, bolder and smarter. Greener technologies, when it comes to ecological and sustainable solutions, have become a pillar in supporting environmental practice. But greener construction is something pulled through the whole process – from early planning to building and later maintenance.

Sustainability should be featured in every room. For house-builders, the role of sustainable construction is equal parts about shrinking the impact on the environment and building homes that endure. Even for Governments, pledges to deliver greener construction as sustainable residential projects are becoming more commonplace. Green engineering is not some distant idea about construction, rather it’s something that house-builders can tap into.

House-builds are a common example of where innovation can really make a difference. Wetrooms, in particular, are available as sustainable solutions and can help a family home live more efficiently over time. The marketplace is busy with ideas and resources to build sustainable wetrooms. A sustainable wetroom, however, has three major considerations.

1) Waterproofing

Waterproofing is a major concern for sustainable building projects. Water damage can accelerate decay and shorten the life span of traditional building materials like concrete, causing structural weakness and failures. Certainly, greener wetrooms are about lowering environmental impact through energy efficiency and longer-lasting, non-toxic materials. But, it is also about delivering sustainable, durable homes that minimise utility and maintenance costs whilst maximising product performance through the decades.

When building a wetroom to last, consider using a heavy-duty waterproofing and decoupling membrane to trap runaway water and moisture and prevent leaking. A membrane is a waterproof layer, or barrier, that protects surfaces from water vapour – such as natural stone, porcelain or ceramic tiles. Waterproofing products are essential in building a safe, durable environment.

2) Water drainage

A wetroom installation will require professional guidance. Your drainage solution will need to efficiently train and dispose of excess water to expertly avoid waste or damage through leaks, dampness or unwelcome moisture build-up.

With proper drainage, you can limit your waste and make your wetroom immediately more cost-effective. Quality drainage is all about sustainability, but also ensuring water does not escape and cause damage immediately or in the future.

3) Consider the layout

In the earliest phase of your planning, consult an expert for the layout of your wetroom. When planning a sustainable wetroom, consider prioritising safety and efficiency first. Experts often plan the placement of key features – the drain, for example, should be far away from the door. They will also advise about gradients, trays and tanking (or installing a watertight membrane).

Another detail in eco-friendly design, underfloor heating in wetrooms can be greener than traditional heat sources like storage heaters or radiators. Underfloor heating is beneficial because it not only dries out wetrooms but also as it uses roughly up to 40% less energy than traditional heat sources. Initially, it may be costlier, but the long-term efficiency of underfloor heating is something that is often underestimated.

Lastly, consider building a hazard-free environment. The likes of a non-slip floor, ventilation or accessibility can help with the sustainability of your project. The sounder the planning and resources, the more adept your solution will be at operating sustainability long into the future.

Benefits of green designs

The sustainability of your wetroom solution is likely a high priority. Experts estimate that greener constructions encourage much better longevity, with your home lasting decades, rather than years. The legacy costs, as with the shrunken footprint on the natural environment, are two of the most cited and celebrated benefits. Yet, the rise of a new era of sustainable construction has also stimulated creativity and innovation in strong measure – by introducing the marketplace to new, exciting products that transform how contractors and architects alike design green homes.

With a focus in the right areas, carefully planning the layout, drainage and waterproofing solution in your wetroom can transform a house into a sustainable, green home. This cuts costly waste, whilst being mindful of the footprint you leave on the natural world.

Traditional methods and materials are spurring thoughtful change and pioneering a greener, more sustainable tomorrow.

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Future Constructor & Architect is a specification platform for architects and building contractors, which focuses on top-end domestic and commercial developments.

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