What Is The Difference Between Damp Proofing And Waterproofing?

by Jenn

What’s the difference between damp proofing and waterproofing? Both terms are often used interchangeably, but they actually mean different things. Damp proofing prevents water from entering a property, while waterproofing helps keep water in or on the surface.

As a property owner, you’ve probably debated between going for damp proofing and waterproofing. You may not fully comprehend either on a deeper, more technical level, but you’re likely aware that they are unquestionably important to guarantee your property’s integrity and sturdiness. So what are the differences between the two options? 

Differences Between Damp Proofing and Waterproofing

The most basic difference any expert will highlight is that where waterproofing is targeted to fend off any moisture or actual water, damp proofing aims to discourage soil moisture only. Their resistance to various types and levels of moisture is such that damp proofing is only effective with ground moisture. In contrast, waterproofing can prevent the permeation of any liquid water exposure. 

These differences are due to the type of materials employed in the construction and the thickness and specific application. 

What is Damp Proofing?

This involves hand-applying or spraying tar or alternative materials to the surface of your property’s wall. The main goal is to prevent environmental moisture from transferring or seeping into the concrete. For areas more likely to get damp, e.g., with heavy rains and large underground water tables, you might need to apply a thicker coating, but the average size is approximately ten mils thick.

One advantage of this procedure is that it’s pretty simple and is viable in multiple applications. However, be aware that damp proofing only works to stop moisture but doesn’t keep all water out. As a result, it accomplishes this by obstructing the concrete pillars and slowing water penetration. Hiring damp proofing surveyors can give you a better idea of what is necessary, if it even is. 

What is Waterproofing?

With this method, construction is applied to prevent water from infiltrating concrete. The waterproofing supplies used can bridge larger gaps, unlike damp proofing. Due to their natural flexibility and elasticity, the materials are more versatile, like crystallization or rubber-based products.

Which Option is More Superior?

Damp proofing is a low-cost method of protecting zones below the soil surface from moisture permeability. This makes it suitable for building structures in dry regions, but it may not be adequate if you are around humid regions with frequent downpours. Exterior walls and foundations will need to be completely waterproof in these cases.

Considerations Before Waterproofing or Damp Proofing

Most property owners will share that water damage is one of their worst nightmares. A flooded basement is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. And once water enters your home, it’s more difficult to remove. As a result, you’re better off preventing this from happening by basement waterproofing than working to fix and undo the damage from a flooding situation. 

While this might be harder to do with older buildings or standing homes, there are a few things you could still use to help your situation:

Investigating Waterproofing Techniques

You’ll be better off educating yourself on the various techniques used. For waterproofing, the most commonly used ones are:

  • Drainage
  • Exterior Waterproofing
  • Interior Sealants

Another factor that’ll be important in this is what could potentially cause the water damage, so look into that by researching the area. That way, you’ll be able to decide on the best method for your situation and property. You can always contact a trusted contractor to assess your property and area, and they’ll likely provide a good recommendation and quote.

Get Rid of Stagnant Water

Suppose you spot any standing water around your property, act fast. This can be damaging as it might develop a bad smell and breed microorganisms and other health issues. 


Although these two processes share a few similarities, they have distinct differences that make them ideal for different situations. Whichever one you choose, your property will be better off with the appropriate treatment. Check-in with local laws to learn more about the requirements for damp proofing and waterproofing during the construction process.



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