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Hacking vs Non-hacking Waterproofing. Which is the Best Solution for Your Property?

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

Many people know how important it is to waterproof their homes, whether they are doing it for energy savings or just because they do not like getting wet when it rains. When waterproofing your property in Singapore, choosing the right method for your specific needs is crucial. While many options are available, hacking and non-hacking waterproofing are two of the most common techniques.

Non-hacking roofing means you have to replace your entire roof, while hacking means you can add it on top of your existing roof. While the latter has some definite advantages over the former, both have their advantages and disadvantages. Below, we will explore both types in more detail so that you can decide which is best for you.

Understanding Hacking Waterproofing

Hacking waterproofing is a traditional method that involves removing a structure's existing surface or finish, such as tiles or plaster, to apply a waterproofing membrane directly onto the substrate. This method provides a robust barrier against water ingress, making it suitable for areas with high water exposure.

Advantages of Hacking Waterproofing

  1. Strong adhesion: Hacking allows the waterproofing membrane to bond directly with the substrate, ensuring a long-lasting and durable solution.

  2. Suitable for high-moisture areas: Due to its robust barrier, hacking waterproofing is ideal for areas with constant water exposure, such as bathrooms and swimming pools.

  3. Versatile application: Hacking can be used on various surfaces, including concrete, masonry, and brick.

Disadvantages of Hacking Waterproofing

  1. Labour-intensive: Hacking requires significant manual labour, which can increase project costs and duration.

  2. Potential damage: The process may cause damage to the existing structure, such as cracks or weakening of the substrate.

  3. Messy and noisy: Hacking generates a lot of dust and noise, which may cause inconvenience to occupants or neighbours.

Hacking waterproofing in Singapore

Understanding Non-Hacking Waterproofing

Non-hacking waterproofing, or surface-applied waterproofing, involves applying a waterproofing coating or membrane onto the existing surface without hacking. This method is less invasive and is often used for less critical areas or when the existing surface needs to be preserved.

Advantages of Non-Hacking Waterproofing

  • Less invasive: Non-hacking waterproofing does not require the removal of the existing surface, minimizing the risk of damage to the structure.

  • Faster and cost-effective: With fewer labour requirements, non-hacking waterproofing can be more affordable and quicker to complete.

  • Minimizes disruption: As it generates less noise and dust, non-hacking waterproofing is less disruptive to occupants or neighbours.

Disadvantages of Non-Hacking Waterproofing

  • Surface preparation: Non-hacking waterproofing requires thorough surface preparation to ensure proper adhesion of the coating or membrane [4].

  • Limited to specific surfaces: Non-hacking waterproofing may not be suitable for all surfaces or substrates.

  • Less effective in high-moisture areas: In areas with constant water exposure, non-hacking waterproofing may not provide the same level of protection as hacking waterproofing.

waterproofing membrane Singapore roof
Hydro-seal technicians applying membrane to rofo


Choosing between hacking and non-hacking waterproofing methods depends on your property's specific needs, budget, and the level of disruption you're willing to tolerate. To decide which is right for you, consider carefully how much money you want to spend on the project and how long it will take you to complete. While hacking waterproofing is more affordable and can be done quickly, non-hacking roofing is much cheaper and will not affect the structural integrity of your home and give you a brand-new top layer.

Both types have their advantages and disadvantages, so it depends on whether or not you are willing to take on the risk of hacking roofing or not. If you are, then go for it! However, if you are not interested in taking that much risk or are concerned about spending your entire savings account on one project, non-hacking waterproofing is likely your best bet.

Regardless of the method you select, hiring a professional waterproofing and rope access contractor is crucial to ensure the success of your project. Working with an experienced contractor such as Hydro-Seal protects your property from water damage, maintains its structural integrity, and enhances its value in Singapore's competitive real estate market.


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