why, where and how?
For certain services dampproofing is adequate treatment

The air ducts above
the roadway
through this East
River Mountain
Tunnel at Bluefield,
West Virginia were
treated with a
sprayed bituminous

ampproofing, according to ACI Committee
515, is the treatment of a surface or structure to
resist the passage of liquid water in the absence of hydrostatic pressure. Dampproofing is
considered to involve treating concrete to retard—not
stop—the absorption of water or water vapor by concrete or to retard the transmission of water and water
vapor through concrete. It has been said that a pressure greater than a 2-inch1* head of water can cause water to penetrate a surface that has been dampproofed
with a water repellent. Dampproofing can be done by
treatment of the surface, by use of a treated cement
(usually called a waterproof cement) or by incorporation of a suitable admixture. This article is concerned
only with the treatment of surfaces.


crete should be waterproofed instead of dampproofed. A
possible alternative is to install a drainage system at the
time of dampproofing to prevent development of a head
of water.

Dampproofing materials
The table lists a number of dampproofing materials
considered by ACI Committee 515 to be suitable for the
exposures indicated above or below grade. All or most
water-based portland cement paints (the first item in
the table) are now made with some material such as a
latex or spra y- d ried latex which aids in application,
eliminates the need for repeated moist curing efforts in
the first day or so, and contributes to the water repellency of the paint. Some portland cement-based dampproofing materials also contain ingredients that react
with free lime and deposit crystalline material in the
pores of the concrete to plug them or contribute water
The table does not show all of the dampproofing ma-

Where to use dampproofing
When it is desirable to keep water from moving
through concrete and when the water in contact with
the concrete is not under pressure, dampproofing is the
method to use. Dampproofing materials minimize the
transmission of water vapor through concrete but do
not stop it entirely. It is frequently desirable not to totally halt the passage of water vapor, because if liquid water has somehow found its way into the concrete, dampproofing materials can allow it to escape slowly as water
vapor. Dampproofing is relatively low in cost compared
with waterproofing because less surface preparation is
required and a smaller thickness of material is used.
Usually if there is any likelihood that cracks may develop in the concrete later, dampproofing should not be
done and the concrete waterproofed instead. Also if
there is any possibility that the dampproofing material
may ever become subjected to a head of water, the con-

Spraying a 18⁄ -inch-thick4 bituminous mastic coating onto the
floor of the air duct of the same tunnel. Drain pipes in the
air duct floor run down the sidewall of the tunnel and carry
moisture into a 36-inch5 drain pipe beneath the tunnel

terials now available. or conditions of high relative humidity and falling temperatures. The condition of the surface and the ambient conditions are of considerable importance. Acknowledgment This article is based almost entirely on information taken from ACI 515.1R-79. The Aberdeen Group All rights reserved .” b Not suitable for concrete masonry except after parging with portland cement plaster. either solvent systems or emulsions Application There is such a variety of dampproofing coatings that it is impossible to write a complete set of instructions giving the proper procedures for applying them. Those with access to a copy of the Program from the World of Concrete ‘81 Exposition in Dallas. Protective and Decorative Barrier Systems for Concrete. After the treatment has been completed and the dampproofing material has had time to cure. Detroit. snow. The user should carefully follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. Box 19150. Dampproofing. Dampproofing. The manufacturer’s recommendations should be observed with respect to both the number and thickness of coats. “A Guide to the Use of Waterproofing. 14 manufacturers of joints and joint sealants and 7 manufacturers of waterstops. When dampproofing materials are applied to walls below grade they should be made to extend continuously from a point on the outer edge of the footing to a point above grade at the top of the wall.1 of ACI 515.SUITABILITY OF VARIOUS DAMPPROOFING COATING MATERIALS FOR WALLSa Below grade Type of coating Exterior face Above grade Interior face Exterior face Interior face x x x Polyvinyl chloride latex paints x x x Two-component epoxy paints x xb x x x x Water-based portland cement paints Cold-applied asphalts xb Solvent-based chlorinated rubber paints Coal tar-polyurethane paints Two-component or moisture cured polyurethane paints Fish-oil based paints with mica and asbestos fillers be clean and dry and the dampproofing material should not be applied under any ambient conditions that might produce moisture or frost on the concrete surface— whether from rain.1R-79. Metric equivalents (1) 50-millimeter (2) 4 degrees C (3) 0 degrees C (4) 3-millimeter-thick (5) 915-millimeter PUBLICATION#C810309 Copyright © 1981. Protective and Decorative Barrier Systems for Concrete. fog. If the dampproofed surface does not change in color or shade from the water. available from the American Concrete Institute. page 41.” Concrete International. mist. the surface should be tested by lightly sprinkling with water. Texas can find the names and addresses of an additional 27 manufacturers of waterproofing and dampproofing materials. Michigan 48219. it can be concluded that the dampproofing treatment is effective. The number of coats will depend on the kind of dampproofing material being used and the exposure. 27 manufacturers of joints and joint sealants and 10 manufacturers of waterstops. No less than two coats should ever be applied. The surface must The Bu ye r s’ Guide section of the Reference Guide 1981 (the December 1980 issue of CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION magazine) gives names and addresses of 38 manufacturers of waterproofing and dampproofing materials. November 1979. The dampproofing material should never be applied if the temperature of the air or the concrete surface is lower than 40 degrees F2 or if it is likely to fall to 32 degrees F3 before the coating has cured. x Sources x x x x a Based on Table 5. Some of the others might fall into the following three categories although these categories do not necessarily exhaust the list: • silicones. either solvent-based or water-based • penetrating sealers made up of stearates or derivatives of fats or other materials • acrylics. “A Guide to the Use of Waterproofing.