City centres are overcrowded with vehicles and restricted areas, car parks are “stressed” and there are never enough spaces to go round. Alongside the more “standard” trafficable ceiling slab solutions — such as in the case of underground garages — it’s not too much of a stretch, where structurally feasible, to think about designing or making better use of spaces on elevated levels.
Over the holidays, car parks on the roofs of public buildings or buildings for use by the public could also provide refuge for the cars of passers-through. During the offices’ closing time, for example, these parking spaces can become a real asset, an ideal solution for making use of otherwise unused space and increasing the number of car parks for people travelling to tourist hot spots
Continual vehicular traffic and exposure to the elements — from freezing temperatures to sweltering heat — mean the construction materials used must be fit for purpose. Intensive use means it’s imperative all the proper layers are in place (build-up design) to serve the different specific functions. Let’s see what these layers are.
What do we need to be careful about when designing a rooftop car park?
This kind of roof is subjected to high loads, both static and dynamic, from vehicles of all kinds. This makes the mechanical protection of the waterproofing layer and the need for high compressive strength two key focus areas.
Drainage is another aspect to be factored into the design. Rainwater can seep into the underlying layers and damage them, so we need to ensure that water is drained off the roof properly.
We recommend applying studded membranes laminated with nonwovens or drainage geocomposites made from monofilaments or geonets.
Our drainage geocomposite T-Mix Drain Plus is a good candidate for the drainage layer. Alternatively, you can opt for the T-Net Drain 5 and T-Net Drain 7 geonets, which are sandwiched between nonwovens.
The job of mechanical protection, together with drainage, can instead be handled by the drainage geocomposite TMD 1011. The product consists of a filter geotextile laminated to a studded membrane, whose conformation delivers effective drainage even under the strain of high loads (up to 400 kPa).
Nowadays, certain solutions allow you to create perfectly liveable and comfortable basements.
Of course, existing little-used basements can also be renovated, but you need to take some constructive measures to ensure that the building is in good condition and the environment is healthy.
So let’s see what we need to focus on.
Damp and moisture seepage
Basements are in direct contact with the ground, both the floor and the vertical walls.
Rainwater or ground moisture can penetrate concrete, leading to marks and mould that may cause the wall to peel. The aesthetic damage is as serious as the structural damage: mould is anything but healthy!
It therefore becomes necessary to provide a separation barrier between the structure and the ground that performs the function of damp-proofing, i.e. controlling moisture in the absence of hydrostatic pressure (click here to read more).
TeMa Building Solutions suggests T-Bentostop, in the F and F XL versions, a geocomposite, which attaches to concrete and consists of natural sodium bentonite with a waterproofing function, and T-Kone, the HDPE studded membrane available in several versions.
Groundwater or dispersed water may flow in the ground, even near structures, therefore increasing the load on walls. So, it is essential to drain water and prevent it from entering by reducing the hydrostatic pressure on surfaces: T-Kone G Drain, T-Net Drain studded membranes and the drainage geocomposites in the T-Mix Drain range perform this function while keeping walls dry.
Mechanical protection of waterproofing
The vertical walls of basement rooms have to withstand heavy loads exerted by the ground. It is therefore essential to provide systems to protect the waterproof layer in order to guarantee the safety and long life of the building.
The T-Kone, T-Kone Star and TMD (also in the Plus version) range are studded membranes specifically designed for foundations and underground structures: their high load-bearing capacity makes them ideal for such applications.
To keep masonry dry and allow constant and substantial air circulation, studded membranes can be installed with the studs facing inwards. In this way, their raised shape creates aeration channels that allow the wall to literally “breathe”.
Ideas for renovating your basement
It has been estimated that the value of your property increases by about a third if you have a well-planned basement. An extra room is always very useful and its intended use may vary greatly.
You can opt for a studio for working from home, a spacious laundry room for hanging up your washing, a playroom for your children, a relaxation area, a rehearsal room for talented home musicians, or even a free space for hosting friends, a wine cellar for preserving the best bottles with a tasting area, a gym or a personal home cinema.
“A hole in the roof is enough to ruin a home.”
So the (Italian) saying goes. Of course, there may not be any holes in the roof in the strict sense of the word, but, unfortunately, in a broad sense there might be. Roofs are subject to problems such as water seepage, damp and, in the case of trafficable flat roofs or car park roofs, heavy loads.
The roof is the part of a building directly exposed to weather conditions, such as rain, snow and hail, but also to heavy loads. It’s the least visible part of the house and the most difficult to inspect. When building a roof, it’s therefore essential to consider factors that might affect its integrity and safety, as well as harm the health of occupants.
Water seepage leads to damp and peeling walls. Dampness means mould and unhealthy attic environments.
So, let’s take a look at the main problems and see what solutions can be found.
Ponding on a roof will wet and ruin the materials used. It’s therefore necessary to install a drainage system for rainwater or, in the case of trafficable flat roofs, for accidental leaks of oil or fuel from vehicles. This applies to green roofs, trafficable flat roofs and ballasted flat roofs.
Solutions need to be found that don’t increase the “load” on the roof.
TeMa Building Solutions recommends installing its drainage geocomposite , T-Mix Drain Plus and TMD 1011, ideal for trafficable flat roofs and flat green roofs; its T-Kone G Drain studded membrane, suitable for ballasted flat roofs and flat green roofs; or T-Net Drain geonet for trafficable flat roofs.
It’s also necessary to focus on vapour control. Due to temperature differences between the air and the roof material, there’s a risk of condensation forming. To prevent this, highly waterproof vapour diffusion membranes need to be laid.
The membranes in the T-Vapo range act as a barrier, retarder and vapour diffuser for pitched roofs.
Mechanical protection of waterproofing
The first step is to ensure that the waterproofing layer is intact and remains that way. Any cracks, cuts or inaccurate application in corners can cause irreparable damage to the underlying surface, requiring major intervention and considerable costs. By the time damp patches appear, the damage is often already severe.
Moreover, in the case of roofs used as parking areas or flat green roofs, the heavy weight that the materials need to withstand must be considered.
TeMa Building Solutions proposes its T-Kone G Drain studded membrane and the Tematex range of geotextiles for flat green roofs.
Supporting walls or retaining walls are vertical structures intended to support and retain accumulations of natural or artificial materials and ensure their stability.
In the part in contact with the ground, the supporting structures are naturally covered with a waterproofing membrane, which must be protected from damage during construction operations and during subsequent settlement of the ground. The mechanical protection of the waterproofing is provided by TeMa Building Solutions T-Kone studded membranes, which also act as damp proofing, slowing down the absorption of moisture.
Moreover, when placed with the studs facing inwards, these membranes create a micro-ventilation space that is beneficial in keeping the structure dry.
In some cases, a rainwater collection system is planned around the perimeter of the building. It is necessary to use drainage geocomposites bonded with a geotextile such as T-Mix Drain, which conveys water to the drainage system envisaged in the project.
Supporting walls are used in a wide variety of areas in the building industry, from residential to infrastructural and commercial contexts.
Let’s take a look at the application in specific fields.
It is essential to protect the underground rooms of homes, whether they are used as garages, cellars or basement rooms, in order to prevent the moisture seepage, which would damage the structure and make the indoor environment unhealthy.
TeMa Building Solutions products meet this need and are efficient in this respect.
TeMa Building Solutions products are also ideal for heavy loads such as underground car parks or warehouses in commercial buildings.
In such environments, TMD, the studded membrane bonded with LDPE backing foil for the mechanical protection of waterproofing membranes and the T-Mix Draindrainage geocomposite for the drainage function can also be used. In addition, the T-Comp fibreglass mat performs the subdivision function.
In major infrastructural works, membranes and geocomposites must be able to withstand and resist heavy loads from the ground and hydrostatic thrust. The effectiveness of TeMa Building products is also proven for this type of construction work.
To learn more about the mentioned products, click here.
Just imagine the face of those present when Elisha Otis, a smart American entrepreneur, presented the first elevator in 1853. It was enlightening! During an exhibition at Crystal Palace in New York, visitors were shown how the enclosure works, which was fitted with an automatic safety device for blocking it in the event of an emergency.
Today, however, we are used to using elevators and we often complain if they are out of order and we have to go back to the old-fashioned habit of using the stairs!
But what does building an elevator involve?
Elevator pits are structures located at a lower level than the internal standing area and must be able to withstand both static and dynamic loads. In short, they need to not only support the weight of your Saturday shopping but also take it up to the fifth floor!
Many problems may be encountered when an elevator is being installed. First of all, there is the danger of infiltration and all the consequences it may bring. Then we mustn’t underestimate the fact that, in the case of a hydraulic elevator, oil may leak from the system, which is why electric elevators are always recommended. TeMa has developed the T-Kone family: HDPE honeycomb membranes that provide mechanical protection, damp proofing and drainage. As far as drainage is concerned, the research and development centre that TeMa relies on has developed drainage geocomposites that filter, protect and drain the system.
Waterproofing? Yes, but how
It is not enough to install membranes that perform a drainage function, it is also necessary to make spaces waterproof. But how? By using bentonite geocomposites that self-bond to concrete, such as T-Bentostop F and T-Bentostop F XL. They are made of a non-woven fabric and a polypropylene fabric with a layer of natural sodium bentonite in between.
These are the essential aspects that should never be underestimated for excellent, high-performance implementation. We must always remember that a thorough preventive analysis of the dangers, along with accurate and responsible installation, are the best techniques for avoiding problems and inconveniences caused by infiltration in the future.
Find out more about damp proofing, drainage, mechanical protection and waterproofing systems of TeMa Building.