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Common Mistakes to Avoid When Waiting for Waterproofing to Dry

We all know the saying good things come to those who wait. When it comes to waterproofing, truer words were never spoken.

Sure, waiting for your waterproofing to dry might not be the most exciting part of your DIY project, but trust us, it’s the glue that holds everything together — quite literally.

Let’s take a closer look at why proper drying time is such an important part of the waterproofing process and how skipping this step can lead to a very watery disaster.

Understanding Waterproofing Curing Times

Drying vs. Curing

When we talk about drying in waterproofing, we’re referring to the process where the liquid components of the coating evaporate to leave behind a solid film.

This happens through the evaporation of the carrier, either water or solvent, that initially made the coating liquid. The dried product doesn’t go through any chemical changes in the process.

Curing, on the other hand, does involve a chemical reaction. This happens as the coating is applied or used, transforming it from a liquid to a solid.

Unlike drying, this process is irreversible, leading to a permanent change in the coating.

You need to understand the difference between drying and curing if you want to pick the right product for your waterproofing needs.

Factors Influencing Waiting Time

Temperatures and humidity play huge roles in the drying and curing times of the coating. Heat accelerates the evaporation rate of solvents or water, while airflow can speed it up even further.

Temperature also affects the reaction rate of curing the coating, with a 10 °C halving the reaction time. You should also take humidity into account since the coating relies on moisture to initiate the curing process.

waterproofing in the shower

Preparation is Key

Before you even start the waterproofing process, you need to prepare the surface.

Think of it as laying the groundwork for a sturdy foundation — without it, things can quickly crumble.


First things first: make sure the surface is clean, dry, and free from any residues or loose particles.

Just like trying to paint over a dirty wall, neglecting this step can lead to poor adhesion and compromised waterproofing effectiveness.

Smooth Surface

You should also repair any existing cracks or holes in the surface. These imperfections can be entry points for water, undermining your waterproofing.

Patching up the holes will help you get a smooth and seamless application.


Proper surface preparation does more than improve adhesion — it impacts the drying time.

A well-prepared surface lets the waterproofing adhere effectively, making sure you have long-lasting protection against water damage.

The Perils of Impatience

Giving in to impatience during the drying process can spell disaster for your waterproofing.

Interfering with the layer before it’s had the chance to fully cure can disrupt the chemical reactions needed for full effectiveness.

If you do interfere, you’ll likely have to reapply the waterproofing coating, undoing all of your hard work and adding unnecessary time, expenses, and stress to your project.

Plus, meddling with the drying waterproofing layer can cause damage to the surface.

Patience pays off. Leaving the waterproofing layer to dry and cure fully is the best course of action. Yes, it’ll take some restraint, but it will be worth it in the end.

waterproof tools on the floor

The Waiting Game

Estimating Curing Times

You can refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the estimated curing times. Remember, these will vary based on factors like temperature and humidity.

Tracking Progress

Regularly check the waterproofing layer to gauge its progress. Signs like changes in colour or texture can indicate that the curing process is coming along.

Planning Ahead

You should factor curing times into your project timeline from the get-go. Have buffer periods to accommodate any potential delays so that you have adequate time for drying and curing.

Environmental Factors Affecting Drying Times


Higher temperatures speed up the evaporation of moisture, meaning faster drying times. Cold temperatures, on the other hand, make the drying process longer.


High humidity levels slow down evaporation, which will extend the drying time, while low humidity leads to quicker drying.


Good airflow helps the removal of moisture, speeding up drying times. Proper ventilation, especially in enclosed spaces, leads to more efficient evaporation.

Layering Techniques

Apply each layer of waterproofing thinly and evenly for proper adhesion and coverage. A consistent application will lower the risk of weak spots and help you get uniform protection from water damage.

Remember: You NEED to allow sufficient drying time between coats. This wait time will be specified by the manufacturer in the instructions.

Rushing this process will compromise the effectiveness of the waterproofing. Patience is key here.

When and How to Check if Waterproofing is Dry

Before you do a waterproofing check, you need to follow the manufacturer’s recommended drying time. Avoid any premature interference to prevent any damage to the surface.

Inspect the surface of the waterproofing layer for any signs of change. You’re looking for a uniform colour and texture to indicate proper drying.

Next, you can gently touch the surface of the waterproofing layer to assess its dryness. It should feel dry to the touch without any tackiness or stickiness.

painting on blue waterproofing

The Dos and Don’ts of Repairing Mistakes

If you’ve made a mistake during the waterproofing process, here’s what (and what not) to do:

  • DO assess the damage: Carefully look at the extent of the damage to your waterproofing layer.
  • DON’T rush to reapply: Avoid the temptation to immediately reapply your waterproofing solution. You should let the affected area completely dry before you attempt any repairs.
  • DO follow manufacturer guidelines: Refer to your manufacturer’s instructions for recommended repair methods and materials to avoid further problems.
  • DON’T ignore the issue: Make sure you address the damage as soon as possible.

Need Waterproofing Supplies?

In need of waterproofing supplies? Illawarra Industrial Supplies has a comprehensive range of products and resources.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a DIY enthusiast, our selection will cater to all of your waterproofing needs.

With expert guidance and top-quality products, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Shop with confidence and take the guesswork out of your next waterproofing project with Illawarra Industrial Supplies!

  • Australasian Corrosion Association
  • Association for Materials Protection and Performance
  • Illawarra Innovative Industry Network
  • NACE International
  • The Society of Protective Coatings