Difference Between Sheet-Based Membrane And Liquid-Based Membrane For Waterproofing


In a tropical country like Malaysia, where the weather is hot and rain occurs frequently, this can cause concrete cracks due to the continuous expansion and contraction of the concrete from the temperature change. Even though some of these cracks are very minor, water still can seep through the concretes easily and thus causing leakage. To add extra protection against water leakage, membranes can be generally used in roofs, toilets, or any other structures that require waterproofing effects or weather protection. The two types of membranes are sheet-based membranes and liquid-based membranes. Both types of membranes have their pros and cons and will be further discussed in this article.


A sheet-based membrane is in a form of sheet rolls. It can be made of bitumen, thermoplastic, thermosetting material or rubber. Sheet-based membranes are differentiated by the way it adheres against the surface, such as follows:

Torch Applied Membrane

  • Requires a heated torch to melt the layer onto the surface.
  • The melt membrane is very adhesive and can stick firmly to the surface when it cooled.

Self-Adhesive Membrane

  • Covered by a release liner, which is to be removed when applying on the surface.
  • Cold-applied alternative which is safer during the application work.


A liquid-based membrane comes in a liquid form as the name suggested. It can be applied through a roller, spray, or brush. When the membrane is dried up, a waterproofing layer will be formed. The liquid-based membrane may be used to heal leaks and cracks due to its capability to blend into the applied surface. Some liquid-based membranes are:


  • Typically takes the form of water, which is non-toxic.
  • Solvent-based
  • Typically takes the form of a chemical solvent to have chemical reactions when exposed to air.


  • An elastic waterproofing membrane which is made of high polymer material enhanced with a certain quantity of modifier.
  • Good resistance to abrasion, chemical, UV, and bio-degradation.

Cementitious based

  • Needs to be mixed with the right proportions of cements, water, and aggregates before applying to the surface, but it is vulnerable to joints and cracks.
  • It also required enough membrane thickness to ensure excellent waterproofing quality.
  • It is a kind of modified cementitious product, made by incorporating polymer additive.
  • The polymer fills the pores in the concrete mix to make it more watertight, durable, and increase its tensile strength.



Overall, neither one of them is better than the other as long as it works well in both weather and waterproofing. To choose the most suitable option of the membrane, it all depends on the type of projects, weather, time allowance, budget, development conditions, and requirements.


[1] Sheet vs Fluid Applied Waterproofing. Retrieved on February 17, 2020, from https://www.tremcocpg-asiapacific.com/news/sheet-vs-fluid-applied-waterproofing

[2] Sheet Membrane Benefits: Sheet vs Liquid: CCL Wetrooms. Retrieved on February 17, 2020, from https://www.ccl-wetrooms.co.uk/blog/benefits-sheet-membranes-sheet-vs-liquid-2/

[3] Wikimedia Commons. Tar Sheet Bsed Waterproofing.JPG. Retrieved on February 18, 2020, from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tar_Sheet_Bsed_Waterproofing.jpg

[4] Wikimedia Commons. Liquid Rubber Europe Coatings.JPG, Retrieved on February 18, 2020, from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Liquid_Rubber_Europe_coatings.JPG