Exploring Different Waterproofing Products: Drylok vs. Crystalline

When it comes to basement waterproofing, choosing the right products is crucial for long-term protection against water damage. Two popular options in the market are Drylok and Crystalline waterproofing membrane. In this article we’ll explore the difference between the two products and the best use applications for each.


Drylok Extreme:

Drylok Extreme is a latex-based waterproofing paint that forms a durable barrier on the surface of the concrete that helps to resist water penetration. It is designed to withstand hydrostatic pressure and can withstand up to 15 pounds per square inch of water pressure. An important characteristic of Drylok is its breathability. Moisture vapor is allowed to escape through the surface while preventing liquid from entering.

Crystalline Waterproofing:

Crystalline waterproofing is a general term used to describe a cementitious coating designed to bolster structural integrity and waterproofing of concrete. It works differently than Drylok when applied to a concrete surface. The crystalline material penetrates into the concrete and chemically reacts to form crystals, which block capillary pores and microcracks to provide long-lasting waterproofing. Crystalline provides a similar resistance against hydrostatic pressure to Drylok Extreme while allowing for limited vapor transmission.

The unique characteristic of crystalline waterproofing that really sets the product apart is its ability to self heal. As cracks form in your concrete over time the crystalline technology allows the coating to reactivate and form new crystals, sealing the crack and maintaining the integrity of the waterproofing barrier.

Best Uses:

Drylok Extreme:

Drylok is most commonly used on interior and exterior basement walls and crawl spaces. It provides protection against moisture intrusion and dampness and helps prevent growth of mold and mildew.

Crystalline Waterproofing:

Crystalline waterproofing is often used during the construction of basements, water tanks, swimming pools and other structures to provide comprehensive waterproofing from the start. The product also has excellent application for repairs and renovation on existing concrete structures such as basements.

Advantages of using Drylok Extreme

  1. Simplicity of Application: Drylok Extreme is relatively easy to apply, making it a suitable choice for DIY homeowners. It can be applied with a brush or roller, and the application process is less complex compared to the mixing and multiple-coat application required by crystalline waterproofing.
  2. Surface-Level Waterproofing: Drylok Extreme creates a surface barrier that helps to resist water penetration. It is an appropriate option for areas where the water intrusion is not severe or where the primary concern is moisture dampness rather than high hydrostatic pressure. It can be effective in preventing minor water seepage or dampness in basement walls or crawl spaces.
  3. Cost-Effectiveness: Drylok Extreme is generally more cost-effective compared to crystalline waterproofing If the project budget is a significant consideration, Drylok Extreme can provide a reasonable level of waterproofing performance at a lower cost.
  4. Interior Applications: Drylok Extreme is commonly used for interior basement walls, where the primary goal is to control moisture and prevent water seepage from the inside. Its ease of application, reasonable performance, and availability in various colors make it suitable for interior spaces that require a visually appealing finish.

Advantages of using Crystalline Waterproofing:

  1. Superior Waterproofing Performance: Crystalline Waterproofing offers a higher level of waterproofing performance compared to Drylok Extreme. Its crystalline technology penetrates into the concrete, forming insoluble crystals that block capillary pores and microcracks, effectively preventing water penetration. This makes it an ideal choice for areas with high hydrostatic pressure or severe water exposure.
  2. Deep Penetration: Unlike Drylok Extreme, which remains on the surface of the concrete, Crystalline Waterproofing can penetrate several millimeters into the concrete substrate. This deep penetration ensures a more comprehensive and long-lasting waterproofing solution, especially in situations where the concrete may have existing microcracks or porous areas that need to be addressed.
  3. Long-Term Durability: Crystalline Waterproofing forms a permanent waterproofing barrier within the concrete matrix. Once applied, it becomes an integral part of the concrete structure and provides long-term durability. This makes it a suitable choice for projects that require a reliable and long-lasting waterproofing solution, such as basements, water tanks, or tunnels.
  4. Structural Repair: Crystalline waterproofing is often used in renovation or repair projects where the concrete may have suffered from damage or deterioration. There is some evidence pointing to its ability to restore structural integrity by penetrating into the concrete and reacting with unhydrated cement particles allowing it to fill and seal cracks and voids.
  5. High Hydrostatic Pressure Resistance: If your project involves areas with high water pressure or continuous water exposure, such as swimming pools or water tanks, crystalline waterproofing is designed to withstand these conditions. Its exceptional resistance to hydrostatic pressure makes it a reliable choice for applications where water intrusion must be prevented even under challenging circumstances.

Ultimately, the choice between Drylok Extreme and crystalline waterproofing depends on the specific needs and requirements of your project. Consider factors such as the severity of water intrusion, the presence of cracks or damage in the concrete, the level of hydrostatic pressure, and the budget available. It is recommended to consult with a professional or a waterproofing specialist to assess your situation and make an informed decision. If you are interested in utilizing one of these products for your basement waterproofing projects give Drycrete Waterproofing a call.