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The Green Scene in Watershapes, June 2011

Waterproofing Raised Spas
By Scott Cohen

For generations, the rank-and-file of the pool industry has operated under the general assumption that plaster is an effective waterproofing membrane. That’s not the case: As is true of all cement-based materials, plaster is permeable — as are concrete shells.

Yes, there are those who say that the higher the density of the concrete the less permeable it becomes, which is true. Unless the material has been applied to absolute perfection under ideal conditions, however, it will invariably be susceptible to penetration from water. In other words, waterproofing is a good idea!

Scenario: Consider this raised spa: It was built without any waterproofing at all, and water moving through the plaster and concrete eventually reached the outer wall, where the stucco surface began to delaminate.
lack of waterproofing

To read the entire article, buy THE CANDID CONTRACTOR: Lessons Learned From The Construction Defect Expert Witness Files of Scott Cohen

Contractors and homeowners will save thousands of dollars with this new book from Scott Cohen of HGTV fame. Cohen pulls back the veil on common construction mistakes with pools, ponds, decks and associated structures, explaining how to remedy them when they occur – or, better yet, avoid them entirely.


Scott Cohen is president and supervising designer of The Green Scene, an outdoor design and construction firm based in Northridge, CA. He provides consultation for clients nationwide and gives seminars on designing landscapes, swimming pools and outdoor kitchens.