The Best Basement Wall Waterproofing Solution for Cold Climates

Homeowners may assume that home construction is best suited for the warmer months. Many perceive cold temperatures and harsh weather to be the source of complications and delays to the building process, but the idea that winter is a bad time to build is simply not true.

Seasonal changes shouldn’t impact our ability to build. Most trades can perform in nearly all weather conditions. There are even a fair number of workers who prefer the cold to working in heat and humidity, so it’s unfair to say that workmanship suffers during the winter months. However, cold-weather construction projects come with winter-specific complications. Cold can throw disruptions into productivity schedules and affect the safety of workers.

Some construction during winter can have an impact on temperature-sensitive tasks like spraying insulation, working with electrical wire, curing concrete, or drying indoor muds and adhesives. When it comes to below-grade moisture protection, cold weather and snow limit the use of any fluid-applied application. This can be avoided by selecting a better below-grade wall waterproofing solution that is designed specifically with cold climates in mind.

Below-Grade Wall Waterproofing During Cold Weather Months Provides Year-Round Benefits

When protecting foundations, the feasibility of applying wall waterproofing below temperatures of 40°F (4°C) is a common question. If a fluid-applied product is selected, the field applicator may be faced with some of the following issues, compromising the integrity of the liquid membrane:

  • Substrate can accumulate condensation, frost, or a thin film of ice—often times invisible to the naked eye; and
  • Slower cure times as a result of lower than optimal substrate and/or outdoor temperatures.

Proper product selection and installation can help you maintain the success of your project. To address the challenges that low temperatures present when wall waterproofing, it is best to select a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) dimpled membrane. Choosing not to use a spray-on system speeds up the construction schedule and reduces labor costs. The installation of dimpled membrane sheets can be done as soon as the forms are removed. There is no waiting for curing time like there is with tar and asphalt sprays, which means you can also backfill quickly after installation. Finally, since expensive spray equipment isn’t needed when using dimpled membranes, it can cost less to install.

DELTA-MS Winter Installation
No schedule disruptions in Pittsburgh, PA during the first snowfall of the year. Fluid-applied applicators are home hoping for warmer weather. Not the case for Suburban Construction Services – a little cold does not keep DELTA®-MS at home.

Deciding on a dimpled membrane for a foundation’s protection system is the right choice. Dimple membranes are one of the most versatile and effective drainage products on the market.

DELTA®-MS is an effective alternative to spray-on foundation coatings. Its strong, dimpled membrane maintains an air gap that keeps moisture away from the foundation. The membrane itself is impermeable to both water vapor and liquid water. As a result, it maintains a complete capillary break between ground moisture and the foundation walls. The innovative, high-compression design offers reliable protection to foundation walls as deep as 12 ft. below grade.

The DELTA®-MS foundation protection system is the most durable dimpled membrane on the market, keeping foundations dry for the life of the building. It is a co-extruded product, made of 60% recycled and 40% new materials – recycled material inside and virgin HDPE layers outside. All three layers also contain specific additives to protect the polymer against aging from elements such as oxidation and UV.

Lastly, DELTA®-MS is supported by an extensive certified-installer program. This certification provides the confidence, reliability, and trust to ensure materials are properly applied, and buildings are properly protected. The certified-installer program allows builders and contractors to provide customers a 5-year leak-proof warranty and 10-year material warranty.

Winter Weather Safety

Winter can be cold, messy, and sometimes dangerous. By taking the time to adequately prepare, you’re helping ensure your workers stay safe without compromising important project deadlines. Here are 10 easy-to-remember, proactive tips to protect crews in cold weather:

  1. Hard hats should be worn at all times to protect against falling objects like icicles or slips and falls on ice.
  2. Ensure icy areas that can’t be cleared are clearly marked and instruct workers to slow down and take shorter steps, especially when carrying materials and tools, to avoid slips.
  3. Give your workers adequate time to secure the construction site and get home safely before severe weather strikes.
  4. Make sure you have a heated trailer, tent, or indoor area for workers to warm up from the cold.
  5. Make sure personal fall arrest systems are adjusted to properly fit over bulkier clothing.
  6. Remind workers to keep their gloves on at all times, especially when climbing ladders or scaffolding, or getting onto construction equipment. Frostbite can occur immediately if workers touch extremely cold metal with bare hands.
  7. Make sure fluids, such as engine and hydraulic oils, in your equipment are rated for the temperatures in your area and replace them if needed.
  8. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on properly warming up heavy equipment before use.
  9. Make sure each vehicle in your company’s fleet of work trucks is equipped with a winter weather emergency kit.
  10. Ensure construction materials susceptible to freezing are properly stored and at the correct temperature before using.

More resources and industry insights targeting below-grade applications are available through the DELTA® Academy hub.