VICTORIA – Living on the ‘Wet Coast’ requires that buildings either under construction or already occupied need to pay attention to sealing their foundation and building envelopes against water penetration.
West Coast Waterproofing is focused on doing just that, only that, and has brought a new dynamic to waterproofing with new products and systems.
“We are using products that have been used in Europe for years now, and are far superior to traditional ways of keeping buildings dry,” says owner Phil Aitken. “BC is referred to by some as living in a cave in terms of how far this industry has evolved. We’re on average about 10 years behind other countries and providing the level of waterproofing products and services they do.”
One of the innovative products West Coast Waterproofing offers is called Polyurea.
“It’s a spray application and we don’t use torches, which are used with bitumen products and aren’t environmentally friendly,” he states. “These new products are faster setting, offer superior long-term waterproofing, less expensive, and environmentally friendlier.”
Polyurea is applied with sprayers and utilizes a two-part application with specialized equipment. The product arrives in 55 gallon drums and uses a plural component pump, where the two active chemicals are joined together via a mixing gun as they’re applied.
“From the time they are sprayed onto the substrate, to when you can walk on it, it’s only 15-45 seconds,” Aitken notes. “When it cures, it’s like hard plastic, so it’s very robust. Nails won’t puncture it, it bridges cracks, bonds to any surface product, and is effortless to go from horizontal to vertical materials.”
“We can cover up to 5,000 square feet on a project in a single day if all of the prep work has been done,” he adds. “It would probably take a torch-on crew a couple of weeks to do that.”
One of the major selling features of the product for larger contractors is the ‘critical path’.
“They have a schedule they’re wanting to stick to, and if they get off that, it starts costing customers money, and that’s expensive for bigger contractors,” he notes. “This system can be supplied and installed in a far shorter time than the traditional method, so is the ideal solution compared to current traditional methods.”
Concrete, or crack injection, is another method West Coast Waterproofing utilizes, particularly on older structures like parking garages. Cracks can be fixed this way from the inside, which is far less intrusive and can stop water from seeping in.
Aitken started West Coast Waterproofing, which was a Finalist in the 2022 Grant Thornton LLP Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards, in 2018 after he worked for the family business, Thistle Construction, for 18 years before that.
“We have grown steadily through referrals, our success in bidding larger projects, networking in local associations and increased marketing,” he says. “Our goal is for the BC construction sector to see West Coast Waterproofing as the ‘go to’ experts for the latest technology in the industry.”
By Mark MacDonald