Should I use a Liquid Waterproof Coating or a Sheet Membrane?

Waterproofing products fall into two broad categories. These are sheet membranes and liquid applied. This article explains the differences between the two types of product.

Liquid Applied Membranes

As the name suggests, these are supplied as a liquid, usually in tins or plastic containers. Liquid waterproof coatings such as EABASSOC RBE, TPU or Spraytec, create a uniform coverage without creases or seams. The thickness and the amount applied can be varied and they are generally easy to apply by brush, squeegee, roller or spraygun. Depedning upon what is being waterproofed and the product, more than one coat may be required. When pricing a job, it is important to take the coverage rate into account.

When compared to sheet membranes, liquid applied membranes are more sensitive to good application as regards maintaining a uniform and correct thickness.

Application of liquid applied membrane onto a roof using a roller.
Application of a liquid appied membrane
using a roller
Application of a liquid applied membrane onto a roof using by spraying.
Application of a liquid applied membrane
using a spray gun

Liquid applied waterproof coatings are very versatile and can be used for most waterproofing applications. Find out about the differences between water-based and solvent-based liquid waterproofing.

Sheet Membranes

Sheet membranes are supplied as semi-flexible rolls which are rolled out onto the surface to be waterproofed. Torch Applied membranes are applied by heating the underside of the membrane with a flame, whilst Self-Adhesive membranes have pre-applied glue that adheres to the substrate. Sheet Membranes give a guaranteed membrane thickness, which is not dependent on the skill of the applicator. However, they do have an overlapping joint which, if not applied properly, can allow water to penetrate.

Application of torching membrane onto a roof.
Application of a torch on membrane

Torch Applied membranes are used for waterproofing flat roofs, inclinded roofs and decking, whereas self-adhesive membranes can also be used for other waterproofing applications such as foundations, basements and floors. Find out more about the differences between torching and self-adhesive membranes.

Which Type of Waterproofing Membrane is Best?

Both types of membrane are used for similar applications, for example waterproofing roofs, and they both provide effective waterproofing if correctly applied. The choice of liquid waterproofing or sheet membrane really depends upon personal preference and the skill of the applicator.


Please note that any information or advice on this page is supplied in good faith and that while we make every effort to ensure that it is accurate, helpful and up to date, it is given without commitment or guarantee. We always recommend that trials are carried out prior to undertaking any work or contracts.

Please remember that orders have to be above our minimum size quantity.