GCP waterproofing system for Thailand’s ‘largest aquarium’

Aquaria Phuket is set to be the largest aquarium in Thailand, slated to open this year. Aquawalk Thailand Co Ltd, the company that owns and will operate the aquarium, has commissioned Aquablu Technologies Sdn Bhd to design and build the aquarium, along with finding a high-performing waterproofing solution that would be safe for the marine life.

“All of the tanks that we apply waterproofing technology to, at the end of the day, are used for fish, marine mammals and other animals, so we have to make sure that the construction materials and the systems that we install are safe for the animals,” said Matthew Boyle, chief operating officer at Aquablu.

Located inside the Central Phuket megamall, the roughly 6,000-sq-m aquarium is expected to house some 25,000 marine creatures. It is also planned to become a working research and breeding centre, in addition to being a tourist attraction. The aquarium is partnering with Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok to research marine life. 

When it comes to waterproofing, especially an aquarium, the biggest challenge is said to be delivering a solution that is safe for the marine life without compromising waterproofing integrity. For Aquaria, Aquablu wanted a high-performing durable solution that would address waterproofing vulnerabilities, offer flexibility in application and be easy to install. 

“One of the challenges we face in the construction phase of any aquarium project is the timing and the speed that we’re able to apply the waterproofing or the liquid membrane system,” revealed Mr Boyle.  

After researching liquid waterproofing systems for the tanks at Aquaria, Aquablu selected several Silcor liquid-applied waterproofing products from GCP Applied Technologies. These include: Silcor Primer BS – fast-drying, single-pack modified polyurethane primer for elastomeric polyurethane membranes; Silcor 990 MP – two-part, fast-curing, pure polyurea, spray-applied elastomeric coating; and Silcor LM PU Sealant – one-part joint sealant based on proven polyurethane elastomer technology. 

“With Silcor waterproofing, we found we had a lot of flexibility. Plus, the speed that we’re able to apply it gave us a lot of advantages with our project schedule and the timing of the overall work,” explained Mr Boyle.

The Silcor system comprises liquid waterproof membranes, top coat, primers and detailing products. Its flexibility in application overcomes vulnerable joints and protrusions while delivering waterproofing integrity. With proper application, Silcor waterproofing can result in excellent adhesion to concrete and steel, and also offers flexibility through spray as well as trowel application. 

“We received a lot of information early on about the Silcor system, which helped us select the correct products and application methods to overcome challenges on the site,” said Mr Boyle. “The technical support we received from GCP was excellent — they helped us to tick all the boxes.”

The specially formulated Silcor liquid membrane incorporates advanced polymer resin to optimise product application and durability. It is a liquid system that cures rapidly to form a seamless, monolithic membrane fully bonded to the substrate. It is highly durable with excellent wear and chemical resistance to enable long-lasting waterproofing protection. 

“One of the huge advantages of Silcor waterproofing is the speed of applying the product and the curing time,” pointed out Mr Boyle. “Once we apply it, we can work within the area in a very short window of time. This enables other contractors and other works to be scheduled ahead and completed on time.”

The Silcor liquid-applied waterproofing system in ocean blue and blue black were applied on two of the largest tanks at Aquaria to provide marine-strength protection. The durable Silcor system, fully bonded to substrates, eliminated water migration and prevented water tracking. The elastomeric system is also able to accommodate structural movements and offers excellent resistance against wear and abrasion. Applied by spray or hand, this has allowed Aquablu to boost productivity and achieve daily coverage application to speed up the construction process.

With a wide application temperature and humidity range, the Silcor liquid system provides a seamless, continuous waterproof barrier on the tanks to ensure waterproofing integrity. It is also available in low volatile organic compound grades, making it safe for animals. 

“One of the other huge value-adds for us with Silcor 990 MP waterproofing is that it has potable water certification,” delighted Mr Boyle. “We believe the Silcor system offers a huge advantage over many other systems available on the market.”