Update: The Difference Between Waterproofing and Damp-proofing

If you are a business owner, it is important that you are making sure that you are taking the necessary precautions to protect your space and facility. This is to promote safety, but also to be sure that you are protecting the investment of your space. Purchasing a business or building is very expensive and you want to be sure that you are doing whatever you can to keep it in the best shape possible. 

A great way to ensure the overall foundation of your space is by implementing waterproofing and damp-proofing. Many may think that these two processes are the same, but they are actually quite different. Damp proofing vs waterproofing has different advantages when it comes to protecting your space. Waterproofing prevents all liquid and soil moisture from penetrating the foundation walls and damp-proofing works to prevent only soil moisture from penetrating the foundation.

What is required?

Over the years many buildings have been damp-proofed, but referred to as waterproofed, which isn’t the same thing. Section R406 of the International Residential Code (IRC) indicates the conditions that require waterproofing and damp-proofing. While waterproofing is only required “in areas where a high water table or other severe soil-water conditions are known to exist," damp-proofing is required for masonry or concrete walls that have earth against the exterior and interior space that are below grade. These walls must be damp-proofed from the top of the footing to the finished grade. There is also a list of permissible materials by the IRC.


Damp proofing vs waterproofing is typically a asphalt based coating that is either hand applied or sprayed on to the exterior foundation wall. It is not recommended often in modern residential construction, but it is an adequate solution in a lot of situations. The disadvantages consist of not being able to seal holes or larger cracks resulting from form ties, and the possibility of damage from coarse or careless backfill. Damp-proofing is able to supply long-lasting and sufficient protection for many basements and crawl spaces.


The same care is required in waterproofing as it is in damp proofing when it comes to the surface treatment and the drainpipe, but it is much more precise when it comes to treating the wall itself. If there is any concern that damp-proofing will not be enough for the job, then it is a good idea to go ahead and spend a little more time and money to waterproof, especially with a liveable space.

When waterproofing, drains are often installed to move water away from the bottom of the foundation. What you choose for preventing water penetration depends on the local climate conditions. Areas that have low water tables and drier climates often build basement walls that are 10 feet tall. In areas with high water tables and annual rainfall, you will more likely see slab foundations on grade level. These foundations, although above grade, also need protection from the moisture below to prevent it from penetrating through the slab. 

When it comes to damp proofing vs waterproofing, there are definitely some things that you should be aware of. Choosing the best options for your space and your foundation is incredibly important if you want to make sure that the money you are investing in is protected. If you do not properly prepare for water and moisture, you could end up with a sinking foundation or mold and mildew due to moisture. 

If you have decided what type of proofing your space needs and are ready to jump into designing your space, give us a call today and we can help you pick out your perfect polished concrete flooring to go with it!