AquaDefense vs. RedGard: What’s Better for Waterproofing?

Aquadefense vs. Redgard for Waterproofing

Many homeowners find themselves asking if they really need waterproofing on their homes at some point.

If you live somewhere that gets a lot of precipitation like snow and rain, or if your basement often floods after a storm, waterproofing is certainly something you should consider using.

If you are still unsure, there are a few signs to look out for that can answer the question.

You can also pay attention to things like cracks in the foundation, plumbing issues, or rotting floors.

If you notice these problems, water might be the culprit – which is getting into your house and damaging it from the inside out.

If it turns out you need to waterproof the house, Redgard and Aquadefense are the two great options in my experience when it comes to general waterproofing.

Both of them are great in terms of performance, making both an excellent choice, but I have noticed that Aquadefense does seem to have a slight edge over Redgard in a few ways.

For instance, Aquadefense is more flexible than Redgard. It is well suited for areas that experience issues with hydrostatic pressure.

Because Redgard is weaker in that regard, Aquadefense is usually best. Overall, that is the only real difference that you’ll notice.

It is possible that Aquadefense has more uses than Redgard, but it can be difficult to decide based on that alone.

For this reason, I’ve gone through the different drawbacks and benefits of both of these products, so you can compare them and get a better idea for yourself before making a decision.


RedGard contains elastomeric material that makes it ideal for both outer and inner surfaces.

It is able to be used in a large number of applications and therefore is preferred by a lot of people who do waterproofing as a profession.

Below are a few things I’ve noticed about Redgard:

The Pros

  • The nature of Redgard is similar to other ready-made products, and it eliminates agitation before application.
  • It has a quick-drying formula, so it takes less time to complete the project.
  • It works well as a substrate formation element while helping to waterproof swimming pools and hot tubs.
  • It is efficient regardless of the size of the project.
  • It is compatible with a number of tools, like trowels, sprayers, and rollers.

The Cons

  • Surfaces prone to a lot of hydrostatic pressure or are exposed to a lot of moisture are incompatible with Redgard.
  • It contains no adhesives at all.
  • It is not good for applying in cold weather environments and won’t work well if the temperature goes below 5 degrees Celsius once it’s applied.
  • It doesn’t replace a proper finish coat and will actually need a separate finish layer in order to function as intended.

Uses for Redgard

There are a few rules when it comes to using Redgard, as stated in its instruction manual.

You can use it in steam rooms, saunas, and showers as a way to seal substrate.

It can also waterproof fountains or swimming pools before putting on a topcoat.

RedGard is not damaged if it is exposed to hot water, so you can also use it as a base coat for spa rooms and hot tubs.

Still, the best place to use Redgard is verandas and terraces to seal them from rain.

Application of Redgard

RedGard can be used with all types of interior or exterior applications.

Its great performance under extreme wet conditions makes this product stand out over other options while retaining good looks compared to other options, including cement board.

It is important to use an adhesion promoter first since Redgard doesn’t have any adhesives in it at all.

This process can change depending on how much protection you actually end up needing.

When using Redgard for foundations, flooring, and walls, I usually apply two layers to any exterior surface that comes in contact with moisture.

Aquadefense or Redgard


Aquadefense (a product of Mapei Industries) is a versatile waterproofing option, especially when you compare it to Redgard.

You can use Aquadefense on walls beneath tiles, underneath the flooring, and on ceilings.

You can even use it in steam rooms and saunas where the heat is above average.

Below are a few of the benefits and drawbacks of Mapei Aquadefense.

The Pros

  • It is ready to apply as soon as you receive it, so you don’t have to worry about mixing it.
  • It takes much less time for Aquadefense as compared to Redgard. You won’t have to wait around all day for it to dry, so you can take care of other aspects of your project.
  • It works well even when applied on pre-existing coats or layers of concrete.
  • Existing plasterboard or cement board won’t impact the functionality of Aquadefense.

The Cons

  • You will need a minimum of two coats on everything you use it on.
  • Large cracks in the structure or any issues with substrate parts moving against one another might reduce the efficacy of Aquadefense. 
  • You can’t have a high percentage of moisture on the substrate material.
  • It is not well suited for use on OSB surfaces and plank floors since they are made of asbestos.

Uses for Aquadefense

Though terraces and balconies are one of the strong suits of Aquadefense, it isn’t as good at it as Redgard, in my experience.

For everything else, it does just as good of a job as Redgard.

The most noticeable difference between the two is how Aquadefense reacts to hydrostatic pressure.

It is capable of withstanding more of it and more moisture than Redgard as well.

You can use it safely in any wet environment like bathrooms, saunas, and even shower enclosures.

You can also use Aquadefense to waterproof wallboard, decks, exterior walls, and laundry rooms.

It also makes a perfect waterproofing choice for humid, hot places, like a kitchen.

Application of Aquadefense

Spray Aquadefense on or roll it onto surfaces and then allow it to dry naturally or use a blow dryer to speed up the process.

Be sure you carefully follow the instructions on the can before using it.


Can You Tile Over AquaDefense?

It’s fine to cover tiles with AquaDefense. In fact, AquaDefense was created with tiling in mind.

The good news is that you won’t have to remove it from your floor or wall first. And the product won’t decay when tiled.

But be sure to place a paper towel or anything similar over it while laying tile. You may want to do so just in case any water spills onto your floor or wall during installation.

Can You Use AquaDefense on Plywood?

Yes. AquaDefense is a water-based solution, so it’s safe for wood and can even help prevent the plywood from being damaged by moisture exposure.

Plus, it delivers an immediate, long-lasting effect that doesn’t require waiting days or weeks.

The trick is to apply it after you’ve completed all of your framings.

It can then penetrates quickly into any core components such as interior walls or support beams, which can erode over time if they are not protected.

Can You Paint Over RedGard Waterproofing?

The RedGard waterproofing system is commonly used on tiles, stones, flooring, and other surfaces.

It’s a product that is not designed to be painted over.

However, if you paint over it, the waterproofing won’t be as effective as before. Plus, the waterproofing warranty will be reduced (or will void) after painting it.

The Bottom Line

I have worked with both these products before and can say that both are excellent because they are both quite similar.

If you’re wondering whether Aquadefense or Redgard is better, the answer for me is that they are both good at what they do.

But if I have to choose one, Aquadefense will be the preferred choice here, mostly because it can better handle hydrostatic pressure.

Below you can find the official video and instructions on using MAPEI’s Mapelastic AquaDefense.

Using it properly will quickly ensure that your substrate is waterproofed and can last for a long without any problems.

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