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Removing Waterproofing from Masonry Structures

Waterproofing is a crucial process that helps to protect masonry structures from water damage. However, there may come a time when you need to remove the existing waterproofing for various reasons such as applying a new waterproofing system or addressing issues with the structure. In this article, we will explore the methods of removing waterproofing from masonry structures.

Why is removing waterproofing important?

Removing the existing waterproofing from masonry structures is essential for several reasons, including:

  1. Preparation for new waterproofing: If you want to apply a new waterproofing system, it is necessary to remove the old one to ensure proper adhesion and performance of the new system.

  2. Addressing structural issues: Removing the waterproofing allows you to inspect the masonry structure for any underlying problems, such as cracks or damage, which can be Repaired before applying a new waterproofing system.

  3. Restoration purposes: Historic or older masonry structures may require restoration where removing the existing waterproofing is necessary to restore the structure’s original appearance and integrity.

Methods of removing waterproofing from masonry structures

There are several methods available for removing waterproofing from masonry structures. The choice of method often depends on the type of waterproofing material and the condition of the surface.

1. Manual scraping and scrubbing

This method involves manually scraping off the waterproofing material using tools like scrapers, wire brushes, or abrasive pads. It is commonly used for removing surface coatings or thin layers of waterproofing materials. Here’s how to proceed with manual scraping and scrubbing:

  • Start by protecting yourself with goggles, gloves, and a respirator mask to ensure safety.
  • Use a scraper or wire brush to loosen and remove the waterproofing material from the surface.
  • Scrub the surface with an abrasive pad or a brush to remove any residue of the waterproofing material.
  • Rinse the surface thoroughly with water to remove any remaining traces of the material.

2. Heat application

Heat application is an effective method for removing waterproofing materials that are heat-sensitive or can be softened with heat. This method works well for materials such as bitumen or some types of waterproofing membranes. Here’s how you can use heat application to remove waterproofing:

  • Use a heat gun or torch to heat the waterproofing material until it softens.
  • Carefully scrape off the softened material using a scraper or putty knife.
  • Wipe off any remaining residue with a cloth soaked in a solvent recommended for the specific material.
  • Clean the surface thoroughly with water to remove any solvent residue.

3. Chemical strippers

Chemical strippers are effective for removing waterproofing materials that are difficult to scrape off manually or with heat. These strippers contain solvents that dissolve the waterproofing material, making it easier to remove. Follow these steps to use chemical strippers:

  • Choose a suitable chemical stripper based on the type of waterproofing material.
  • Apply the chemical stripper to the surface following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Let the stripper sit on the surface for the recommended amount of time to allow it to dissolve the waterproofing material.
  • Scrape off the softened waterproofing material using a scraper or putty knife.
  • Rinse the surface thoroughly with water to remove any traces of the chemical stripper.

4. Sandblasting or pressure washing

Sandblasting or pressure washing is a more aggressive method of removing waterproofing materials from masonry structures. It involves using a high-powered stream of water or abrasive particles to blast away the waterproofing material. Here’s how these methods can be used:

  • Hire a professional who specializes in sandblasting or pressure washing for safe and effective removal.
  • Ensure that the pressure or abrasive level is appropriate for the masonry surface to avoid any damage.
  • Protect nearby surfaces from the blasting or washing process.
  • After the removal process, thoroughly clean the surface with water to remove any leftover debris or residue.


Q: Can I remove waterproofing from my masonry structure without professional help?

A: While you can attempt to remove waterproofing on your own, it is recommended to seek professional assistance, especially for more complex removal methods such as sandblasting. Professional Contractors have the experience, knowledge, and equipment to handle the process safely and efficiently.

Q: Can removing waterproofing cause damage to the masonry structure?

A: When done correctly, removing the waterproofing should not cause significant damage to the masonry structure. However, improper techniques or excessive force may lead to unintended damage. That’s why it’s important to follow the recommended methods and, if unsure, consult with professionals.

Q: How often should waterproofing be removed and replaced?

A: The lifespan of waterproofing materials can vary depending on factors such as climate, exposure to the elements, and maintenance. It is recommended to assess the condition of the waterproofing regularly and replace it when signs of deterioration or failure are observed.


Removing waterproofing from masonry structures is an important process for various reasons, including the need for new waterproofing application, addressing structural issues, or restoration purposes. Manual scraping, heat application, chemical strippers, and sandblasting or pressure washing are some of the methods available for removing waterproofing. It is crucial to choose the appropriate method based on the type of material and condition of the surface. Seeking professional assistance is recommended to ensure the safe and effective removal of waterproofing from masonry structures.

Waterproofing Somerset West

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