Bentonite waterproofing is the ideal method of protecting the basement of a building from water seepage which could weaken the structure. Bentonite is a clay which expands to about fifteen times its size when it comes in contact with water, and it is this unusual characteristic which makes it ideal for waterproofing. This gray coloured clay is available as a fine powder which is cohesive, and it thickens, binds and seals as it comes in contact with ground level water, naturally present in the soil.
Bentonite waterproofing is the most suitable method because of the properties of this type of clay. It can absorb about seven to ten times its weight in water and can expand and contract with ease innumerable times.
There are various types of Bentonite available, depending on its chemical composition. Bentonite can consist of sodium, calcium, magnesium or hydrogen. Waterproofing with sodium Bentonite is most popular because it has the highest rate of expansion. Sodium Bentonite is a natural mineral made up of volcanic ash and salt water, and it is non-toxic and inorganic. Sodium Bentonite is found in the United States of America in the region of the Black Hills, where the clay is mined, ground and then put in large kilns to dry up the moisture content. It is then ground again and passed through large sieves to make it into a fine powder.
Bentonite waterproofing is ideal for plugging little cracks in concrete and is also used for lining the walls of natural pools. Bentonite waterproofing is also used under concrete floor slabs which are either structural or non structural. It can be used between slab applications and under slab applications and also for below-grade foundation walls. Bentonite is also used for waterproofing the walls of tunnels and subways and for zero property line construction. Its unusual characteristics make it the most popular mineral for waterproofing.
In the case of cracks appearing in a basement allowing water to seep in, Bentonite Clay is injected at three to four feet intervals into the soil surrounding the basement. The walls get coated with Bentonite and as this mineral expands with the absorbed water it thickens and forms an impenetrable gel membrane, thus protecting the walls from further penetration of water.
Waterproofing with Bentonite can also be done by filling corrugated cardboard sheets with this mineral, which are then applied to the walls before backfilling. These are known as “volclay panels” and can also be used to seal cracks in the walls of the basements.
One of the characteristics of Bentonite is that it does not change with age thus making the underground repair of cracks quite permanent. Hydro clay Bentonite moves with the soil so in the case of structural changes in the basement after application of this mineral, the gaps which occur in the walls get filled up automatically.
Bentonite waterproofing can be of many types, such as:
• Geotextile Bentonite waterproofing sheets
• Bentonite waterproofing panels
• Composite geotextile high-density polyethylene sheets
• Spray applied Bentonite waterproofing membrane
• Trowel grade Bentonite
Bentonite waterproofing is safe and easy to install and its unique properties make it an ideal material to solve the water leakage problems in building construction.