Removing Waterproofing from Concrete Surfaces

Waterproofing is a common procedure used to protect concrete surfaces from water damage. However, there may come a time when you need to remove the waterproofing for various reasons, such as damaged or deteriorating waterproofing, change of surface use, or preparation for a new waterproofing application. In this article, we will explore the process and techniques for removing waterproofing from concrete surfaces.

Reasons for Removing Waterproofing

Before diving into the process, it’s crucial to understand the reasons why you may need to remove waterproofing from a concrete surface:

  1. Damaged or deteriorating waterproofing: Over time, waterproofing may become damaged or deteriorate due to various factors like exposure to harsh weather conditions, chemicals, or regular wear and tear. If the waterproofing fails to perform its function adequately, it needs to be removed and replaced.

  2. Change of surface use: If you plan to repurpose the concrete surface or change its use, removing the existing waterproofing is necessary. Different surface uses may require different types or no waterproofing at all.

  3. Preparation for a new waterproofing application: If you intend to apply a different type or brand of waterproofing, removing the existing layer is essential. Proper surface preparation ensures effective adhesion of the new waterproofing material.

The Process of Removing Waterproofing from Concrete Surfaces

Removing waterproofing from concrete surfaces involves several steps, depending on the type of waterproofing and the condition of the surface. Here is a detailed process that outlines the techniques used:

  1. Evaluate the existing waterproofing: Before proceeding with the removal process, assess the condition of the existing waterproofing layer. Determine if it requires complete removal or if spot Repairs would suffice.

  2. Inspect the concrete surface: Conduct a thorough inspection of the concrete surface to identify any underlying issues, such as cracks, spalling, or degradation. Address these issues before removing the waterproofing to ensure a stable and sound surface.

  3. Choose the appropriate removal method: Depending on the type of waterproofing and the condition of the surface, different removal methods can be employed. Common techniques include mechanical removal, chemical stripping, or a combination of both.

  4. Mechanical removal: This technique involves physically scraping or grinding off the waterproofing layer. It is typically used for thicker or harder coatings. Various tools, such as scrapers, grinders, or shot blasters, can be used for mechanical removal. It’s essential to select the appropriate tool and be cautious not to damage the underlying concrete surface.

  5. Chemical stripping: Chemical stripping is a method that utilizes chemicals to dissolve or break down the waterproofing material. It is commonly used for thin or soft coatings. Before applying any chemical stripper, ensure proper ventilation and use personal protective equipment (PPE) to avoid exposure to harmful fumes and chemicals.

  6. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions: Regardless of the removal method chosen, strictly adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific product being used. Different waterproofing materials may require specific techniques, dwell times, or multiple applications for effective removal.

  7. Thoroughly clean the surface: Once the waterproofing material has been removed, thoroughly clean the concrete surface to remove any remaining residue or debris. A pressure washer or a combination of cleaning agents can be used to achieve a clean and residue-free surface.

  8. Surface preparation: Depending on the intended use of the concrete surface, additional preparation may be necessary before applying new waterproofing or other coatings. This may include repairing any damaged areas, leveling the surface, or applying a primer.

FAQs about Removing Waterproofing from Concrete Surfaces

Q: Can I remove waterproofing without professional help?

A: Yes, it is possible to remove waterproofing without professional help, especially for smaller areas or simpler coatings. However, for larger surfaces or complex systems, it is advisable to seek the assistance of professionals to ensure a safe and efficient removal process.

Q: Can I apply new waterproofing immediately after removal?

A: The concrete surface needs to be adequately prepared before applying new waterproofing. This includes addressing any underlying issues, leveling the surface, and allowing sufficient drying time. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the specific waterproofing material being applied.

Q: What are the potential risks of improper removal?

A: Improper removal of waterproofing can lead to various issues, including damage to the underlying concrete surface, decreased adhesion of new coatings, or compromised structural integrity. It is crucial to follow proper techniques and seek professional guidance if needed.


Removing waterproofing from concrete surfaces is a process that requires careful evaluation, appropriate techniques, and strict adherence to manufacturer’s instructions. Whether you need to remove damaged waterproofing, change surface use, or prepare for a new application, following the outlined steps will ensure an efficient and successful removal process. Remember to evaluate the existing waterproofing, inspect the concrete surface, choose the appropriate removal method, and thoroughly clean and prepare the surface before proceeding. By doing so, you can maintain the integrity of the concrete surface and optimize its performance for any future applications.

Waterproofing Somerset West

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