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Chicago Masonry Waterproofing / Sealer Application on Brick and CMU / Split Face Block Wall Surfaces, and Limestone  

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Chicago masonry waterproofing / sealer application on brick walls, CMU / split face block walls, and limestone surfaces of your house, can successfully prevent those surfaces from absorbing water and moisture. With our Chicago weather, and often poorly constructed houses, this is sometimes one of the main processes that can be implemented, in order to improve living conditions inside, as well as preserve the structural integrity of masonry walls.

EDMAR Corporation masonry waterproofing Chicago

EDMAR Corporation masonry waterproofing Chicago

Depending on density of the porous material; brick, CMU wall, split face block, limestone, etc., the absorption rate will vary and even at higher rates is manageable in warmer climates. Unfortunately, with Chicagoland’s cold winters, even small amount of moisture trapped inside walls, could lead to mold growth, and cause structural damage.

Bearing in mind the overall condition of the building walls, additional steps may be required to fully guarantee that the sealer application will completely resolve water and moisture penetration issue.


For example, a lot of Chicago properties have been improperly constructed and are missing flashing – one of the most critical elements of every building.

Some of the areas of masonry building structure where flashing installation is absolutely necessary are:

  • above/on window and door lintels
  • under the door and window sills
  • under the parapet wall coping stones
  • along the parapet walls (roof side)

Another important, often missing component of the masonry wall design, is its drainage system. Fairly easy to implement during construction process, and difficult to repair, if improperly designed or non-existent. Mortar and masonry units eventually get saturated with moisture / water, and without proper flashing and wall drainage system, humidity will always find its way into the interior. If this is the case, and you are experiencing water penetration around the above-mentioned areas, as well as elevated levels of moisture being transferred through the masonry walls, sealer application may only temporarily and partially correct the problem.

Additional work will be most likely required to fully alleviate such problems, either before sealer application, or after, if leakage persists. Our typical Chicago masonry waterproofing / sealer application procedure on houses build from brick, CMU (cement block), split face blocks, and on limestone, consists of 3 elements:

  1. Tuckpointing – either 100%, spot, or repointing, which depends on current condition of the masonry walls being prepared for waterproofing / sealer application.
  2. Spraying of the sealing material onto the surfaces (1 or 2 coats depending mostly on porosity).
  3. Re-caulking of wall penetrations (full or as needed).

1 –  Tuckpointing / Spot-pointing (where needed) / or Repointing before Chicago masonry waterproofing / sealer application:

  • We will remove loose mortar from the masonry wall joints on the wall areas being sealed, by chiseling them clean.
  • Cracked mortar joints will be grinded to approximately 1/2″ – 3/4″ depth.
  • Dust and debris particles will be removed by brushing, rinsing with water or blowing the mortar joint with air.
  • Joints will be damped prior to spot-pointing to make sure that the new mortar mix bonds adequately to the existing joint and surface.
  • Open joints will be filled with mortar and pointed to match existing joints in shape and color.

2 – PWS Sealer application / Chicago masonry waterproofing:

Masonry waterproofing Chicago

Masonry waterproofing Chicago

We specialize in masonry waterproofing by application of PWS sealer (Professional Water Sealant). The product has been formulated using durable Room Temperature Vulcanizing Silicone Rubber, has a clear appeal, penetrates masonry, bridges hairline cracks, and also allows it to breathe through the cured sealer.

That last feature is extremely important since it allows moisture vapor from between the wall wythes to escape, while preventing water penetration from exterior – into the wall.

PWS is available in 3 strengths:  PWS-5 Regular, PWS-8 Extra, PWS-15 Super, that contain different amounts of solids, and had been designed for application onto the building materials with various porosity. Most of the materials require only one coat application, extremely porous ones, like lightweight CMU blocks, may require additional layers on PWS.

  • PWS 5 sealer / regular strength / contains 5% solids
  • PWS 8 sealer / extra strength / contains 8% solids
  • PWS15 sealer / super strength / contains 15% solids

PWS sealer has been designed to be used specifically on above grade surfaces, such as: concrete, CMU block, brick, precast, paving blocks, various types of manufactured stone, natural stone, as well as stucco and variety of other porous building materials which allow penetration of the water repellent.

PWS sealer application provides protection against the following:

  • Efflorescence on building walls
  • Mold & mildew growth
  • Calcium carbonate stains, also known as Lime Run
  • Freeze-thaw damage
  • Chloride Ion penetration
  • Hard water stains
  • Rust stains
  • Penetrating
  • Durable & long lasting – not affected by ultra violet rays, airborne pollutants, salt spray or acid rain
  • Dries to a clear matte finish—may slightly enhance or darken some substrates
  • Withstands wind-driven rain

 Available manufacturer’s warranties for PWS sealer:

  1. 5 years on horizontal surfaces
  2. 10 years on vertical surfaces

Power-washing of the masonry surfaces before PWS sealer application

One additional step that may need to be implement before PWS sealer application is cleaning / pressure washing of the surfaces being sealed. Although not absolutely necessary on newer structures that had not been yet contaminated, it would be required on surfaces soiled with dirt, grease, oil, efflorescence, paint / surface coating, and similar which may impede penetration and adhesion of the sealer. Pressure washing would also ensure uniform color of an entire surface. Basic requirements for PWS sealer application

  • Masonry surfaces designated for sealer application must be clean and dry for at least 48 hours after precipitation / rain, and at least 72 hours after being power washed.
  • Fresh concrete and / or masonry should be cured for 28 days prior to PWS sealer application.
  • Application air temperature should be between 40F – 95F

3 – Apply Vulkem® 116 caulking / sealant around wall penetrations

Any wall penetration seams create a potential passage for unwanted water and / or moisture. Since the thermal characteristics of masonry materials vs vinyl (windows, PVC pipes, etc), wood, and metal vary a lot, their joins should be filled with sealants allowing for flexibility during expansion and contraction periods. Therefore, any deteriorated / missing sealant, should be replaced with new one, and cure before PWS sealer application, to ensure proper bond.

Most common wall penetration areas where caulking / sealant condition should be verified prior to PWS sealer application:

  • doors frames / door sills and thresholds
  • window frames and sills
  • ventilation ports from furnace, water heater, dryer
  • exhaust vents from kitchen and bathroom

Vulkem® 116 highlights Vulkem® 116 is a high quality, single-component, polyurethane, moisture-curing sealant, with superior adhesion to porous substrates without any primers. This particular feature makes it perfect for sealing expansion joints in a multitude of construction applications.

  • It can be successfully applied and used in some water immersion applications.
  • It has a +/-25% movement capability rating.
  • Offers excellent performance in dynamic joints.

Sealant Data Sheet: