The importance of waterproofing historic buildings

If you’ve ever opened the door to your building and found wet ceilings or water puddled on the floor, you know the panic that can ensue. Especially if your building is historic, where even a small water leak can lead to major repairs.

To avoid this, create a plan for waterproofing your historic building. Here are some things to think about.

Building Material

Depending on the age of your building, the materials used to construct it may vary. Is most of your building porous stone? Is it a wood-sided building prone to moisture damage and pests?

Knowing the original materials used on the walls and roof can help you craft a plan to fit your specific building.

Water Drainage

It’s important to note any existing water drainage issues as you develop your plan.

  • Is there excess puddling near the building after a rain?
  • Do you have irrigation heads that spray on parts of the building?
  • Are there French drains installed?
  • Is guttering in good condition and does it channel water away from the building?

These types of questions will help you determine the best course of action for diverting water.

Roof Lines and Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your roof is necessary in maintaining a waterproof building. Buildup of leaves and debris in eaves or corners where rooflines meet may fail to dry completely between rains and eventually cause water leaks in the roof.

Also, the age of the roofing material should be considered. It may be time for repair or total roof replacement.

Moisture Barriers and Coatings

Depending on your building, it may be appropriate to install a moisture barrier or a protective coating to prevent water from seeping in.

However, you should consult with a professional who has expertise in waterproofing historic buildings. If not installed properly, barriers and coatings can create a whole other set of problems.

After considering all the items listed, you can work with a professional to start crafting a plan to meet the specific needs of your building. Please call us with any questions.

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