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Keeping water and moisture on its side of the border, so to speak, has been a problem since The Flood. Over the millenia, folks have tried everything and anything to stem the endless tide: thatch, such as straw, reed, leaves and other dried vegetable matter as a barrier against water entering their home. In time, other more sophisticated waterproofing materials were used. These included: animal skins, timber shingles, and natural stones like slate. The architectural designs of the day such as high pitched roofs helped overcome some of the shortfalls and limitations of the materials that were used. Over the centuries other waterproofing materials were used such as metals eg. copper, lead, zinc, and tin. With the discovery of oil, and advances in chemistry more efficient petroleum-derived waterproofing products such as bituminous, butyl rubber, neoprene rubber, hypalon etc.were developed. Of course, technology marches on and it won't be long until today's waterproofing membranes such as polyurethanes, acrylics and polyesters will seem as primitive as leaves and animal skins are today.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|