Waterproofing a utility room?

Discussion in 'DIY' started by HiFidelity, Dec 30, 2015.

  1. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Hi everyone, I finally get to start building my new setup. I'm turning a small closet into my tank's utility room and was considering waterproofing the whole thing, first thought was pond liner. DT will only be 57G and maybe another 30 in filtration. 6" of pond liner would absorb the most diabolical leak short of DT bursting.

    I thought I'd come in here and ask in case there were better ideas out there?
  2. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I used pond liner on rev-a sump area, and my recommendation is DON'T.
    Usable, but a bit of a pain. Overkill.
    A bit thick to easily fold around corners.
    You cannot see through it to find studs later.
    Heavy, so hard to staple in with one person.

    On rev-b I used:
    a) Simple plastic 4 mil drop cloth.
    Not the super cheap thin stuff though.
    Duct-tape the top edge, so it does not tear at staples.
    b) 1/4 inch Styrofoam insulation directly around sump. Especially behind it.
    Really for insulation, but it also blocks moisture.
  3. Franko

    Franko Guest

    Rather than waterproofing the room, I would make it a priority to be sure there is good drainage in the room/closet. If a catastrophe happens the waterproofing will fail and it doesn't really matter how you do it. Even in the case of a minor mishap (10-20 gallons) the most important thing is to get the water out of the area as quickly as possible.
  4. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    If the tank/sump will be in the utility room, remember to consider humidity and potential for mold.
  5. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    sump, fuge, top off reservoir & a copepod tank are all going in the closet along with all electronics. Going to put a 12" fan in the door towards the top to pull away any moist air, 1" gap at bottom of door brings in cool fresh air.

    I can't put plumbing in the closet there is far too much structure above and around it which is why I want to waterproof it.

    @rygh I would have trouble trusting drop cloth, it would possibly puncture too easily considering the weight and different shape items that will sit on it. I might just do a ridiculous amount of drop cloth layers stapled to the wall then drop a rubber pad the size of the closet on the bottom as cushion. Glad you told me about the pond liner, I'd hate to have something that doesn't fold neatly at the corners and edges.
  6. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Colorado member

    I think it will depend on how much of a project you want to make this. Are you trying to make it waterproof or just to avoid moisture building up. If you're wanting to actually waterproof it remember what Franko said. If you do have a spill the water has to go somewhere. If it's in a closet and the floors and walls are waterproofed then the water will simply run into the room. The only way to avoid this would be to create a curb that would contain the water but then you have a large puddle of water in the bottom of your closet. With that in mind I would essentially create a shower out of the closet. Remove the drywall so the studs are exposed then use the shower pan, or pond liner around the floor making sure to have it come up the wall at least 4" or so. Then use the 4 mil plastic around the walls. Make sure that if there are any seams that upper piece of plastic lays over the top of the lower one. Just think if water was running down it then it would run to the next piece of plastic not behind it. Then cover it with mold resistant drywall (it is usually green or purple depending on where you get it). Mud the seams and joints, then cover it with a liquid waterproofing membrane (this is hard to find. I've used this before in our shower http://www.laticrete.com/dealers/products/waterproofing/productid/8.aspx). Let it cure, then you can prime and paint it.

    If you're not able to put a drain in then can you at least put a bathroom fan in so the evaporated moisture can escape from the house? Even with a fan in the door you're just redirecting the moisture into your house instead of the closet. I suppose there isn't a whole lot of moisture with a tank that size though.
    Enderturtle and Franko like this.
  7. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    I did plan on creating a curb, perhaps 4" so it's not a huge step if I want to walk in there. The purpose of this thing is not to contain a major catastrophe, it is going to be intended for more of a barrier that catches spills for the most part, if I'm working on frags, if I trip & dump water out of a bucket or container, something along those lines. There will be enough electronic redundancy to where even in the event of failure (aside from tanks splitting open) I don't end up with more than a couple of gallons on the ground. In any of these cases either I'm there when it happens or I notice it a few hours later, again there will be a lot of controller monitoring etc. so plenty of warnings & redundancy as far as the plumbing goes.

    I'm basically trying to do this without sinking a huge amount of time into it. Closet footprint is 67x41 inch, by my claculations 2" of standing water is over 20 gallons which is an insane amount considering how it's going to be set up.
    Can plastic not hold 1 or 2 inches of water for a short period of time?

    10g was the biggest spill I've had with this size tanks which was RO/DI related, in this case that is all in the garage. Aside from that I've had a big spill involving the DT breaking, in which case this doesn't matter since DT is outside of the closet.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2015
  8. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Colorado member

    In that case just the 4 mil plastic would work fine around the walls and floor. Double it up if you want, and make sure the stand doesn't pinch or tear the plastic though.
  9. gimmito

    gimmito Guest

    I would recommend using FRP. You can find it at Lowes or Home Depot. Easy to install and clean up.
    Enderturtle and HiFidelity like this.
  10. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    For the floor, I would recommend a thick rubber backed pet-rug.
    You want something to absorb minor spills quickly, before it spreads to the main room.
    And you want something you can pick up and clean or dry out.

    If you are worried about 2" deep spills, perhaps your best bet is a shower stall base.

    Plastic won't really work on the floor. It will quickly get holes.
  11. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    FRP might be it, easy to seal the seems & gives me nice clean corners, going to look into hard plastic flooring.

    Shower stall base would be a great solution but they come in standard sizes & I want to make use of the entire closet also the corners on those things are bulky and will make it difficult to push equipment or shelving up against the wall.

    Thinking FRP and use this stuff at the seems;

    Also kind of curious about this;
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
    gimmito likes this.
  12. gimmito

    gimmito Guest

    I've actually used FRP on the floor of my sump area. I caulked the hell out of the seems and it has held up great for me.
  13. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    ding ding ding, I think I came across the best solution for my application and here it is:


    I will build a 5-sided 7/16" plywood box that is 4" tall and fits the base of the closet like a glove, once installed and bolted in I'll coat it + 1" of wall above box then let it all dry.... I'll be damned if it doesn't hold 4" of water for a week haha which is around 50 gallons, the entire volume of my sump.
  14. jonmos75

    jonmos75 Supporting Member

    The funny thing is I saw a infomercial the other night for something like this and I thought about this tread but didn't have a chance to remember the name of the product so I kept it to myself....lol
    HiFidelity likes this.
  15. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Will you trip over the front edge? I could see that getting annoying.
    Or does it just go around sump in front.
    Otherwise seems like a great plan.
  16. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    In order for it to hold such volume (50g) at such a shallow depth I have to have it take up the entire floorspace of the closet, it'll be all the way up to the door so there will certainly be a 4" step when you walk in unfortunately but I don't mind learning to live with it in exchange for the peace of mind
  17. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    How about an automatic sump pump (not the aquarium type) on the floor, draining to a sink.
    Then you only need a small floor box.

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