Damp proofing refers to the process of sealing and protecting masonry walls against water damage and mould growth.
The easiest way to damp-proof a wall is to inquire about a damp survey.
Whether you are remodelling or retrofitting your existing home, is to use one of the many commercially available damp proofing products and methods that are available on the market today.
Read on for instructions on how to handle it now!
Damp Proofing Walls
To prevent damp patches, you need to understand what causes them.
Often the root cause of the problem is rising dampness or condensation, though causes can also be a blockage in the gutters, faulty plumbing, and poor ventilation.
A small crack in your wall that you simply paint over could lead to serious problems later on, so always address issues as soon as possible.
An easy way to check for the dampness is with a food pack such as KitKat or Oreo:
Simply press it against the wall and see if it sticks.
If it does, moisture is present.
You may have a leaky pipe nearby that needs attention.
Water stains around electrical sockets could also indicate a problem.
Water should never come into contact with exposed wiring.
Stains on light switches or plug sockets need checking immediately, as electricity and water aren’t friends!
Like we said before, dampness is not something to take lightly.
Don’t wait until damage occurs before calling an expert in.
If you have any concerns about dampness or water-related issues at home.
Even if you think it’s just cosmetic, speak to your landlord or property manager about it as soon as possible.
If you rent and have major concerns about your property, look into having a consultation with a lawyer.
This should be someone who specializes in tenants’ rights and uses their findings when negotiating with your landlord for repairs or compensation.
Remember: Safety First!
Property maintenance is vital.
But so is your health and safety.
And remember that we live in a society where people value appearances over substance.
Just one more reason to avoid cheap DIY methods!
What causes dampness?
Because damp is not just one condition but many, no two solutions are alike.
If your house suffers from wet walls, get some expert advice on what might be causing it and how you can treat it.
Once you have identified what type of damp you have, there are a number of things that you can do about it.
Start by installing a drainpipe in each room that gets lots of water coming through.
You may find an experienced damp proofing specialist or plumber.
They will be able to advise you on these issues too.
You can also contact your landlord if there has been flooding in other parts of the building.
They should take steps to remedy such issues through their insurance company, so long as their lease demands it.
There are certain types of dampness that affect houses made with traditional construction methods that prevent damp problems from developing if suitable measures are taken during construction and repairs.
The Water Cycle
Water is essential for life on Earth, but too much of it can be dangerous and costly.
Damp can lead to mold and rot, which in turn causes health problems and damage to your home.
The good news is that damp-proofing your wall helps get rid of moisture and keeps your home safe from water damage.
Why You Need Damp-Proofing
Damp is one of those words that have negative connotations: it’s cold, it’s damp, it’s mouldy.
But in construction speak, dampness is just another word for water. Lots of water.
And too much water can cause serious damage to your home and possessions.
Damp-proofing prevents excess moisture from entering your house and causes costly structural damage.
The damage is to walls, floors and other areas inside and outside your home.
The best way to deal with internal damp is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
As we are learning, internal damp is caused by moisture evaporating up through materials.
If you can stop that moisture in its tracks, you can stop the internal dampness before it has even started.
“Damp proofing,” happens to solve this problem.
An incredibly important part of any construction project.
Especially where there is an increased risk of flooding or mold growth due to poor drainage and low-lying land.
Four stages of external damp
- You can see mold growing on walls and ceilings.
- You can see black mold growing on walls and ceilings.
- Even if you can’t see black mold growing on walls and ceilings, you can smell that something’s not right.
- Your wallpaper hangs off in sections (that looks great by the way).
If you find yourself on stage two or three, it’s time to get serious about damp proofing your home.
Other Ways to Treat External Damp
It’s best to get on top of damp as quickly as possible before it causes major damage.
One of the easiest ways to do so is by installing traditional damp-proof courses.
But there are other methods, too.
Placing rubber seals on all exterior doors will not only keep out water but also help maintain heat.
However, it’ll also keep cold air inside and hot air outside, keeping your heating bill low.
Double glazing windows is another great way to save money on energy bills, as glass is a very good insulator.
If you can afford to replace single-glazed units with double or triple glazing (or more), you’ll notice an immediate drop in fuel costs.
You can avoid external condensation by using dehumidifiers in the rooms that need it.
Damp proof course for walls, floors, and ceilings (DPC)
This course is typically made of expanded clay aggregate.
It’s fitted inside your walls and ceilings before they’re covered with plasterboard or drywall, and between floors, before they’re laid with flooring. For more info see https://advanceddamp.co.uk/dampproofing/will-damp-plaster-dry-out/
The idea is that if moisture seeps into your walls or floors, it can travel up through the gaps in your damp-proof course to where it will drain away via perforated pipes around your outside walls.
If you have already fitted your home out with damp-proof courses, don’t panic!
You may be able to repair any leaks by installing plastic drainage channels at any weak points.
But consider replacing existing damp proofing courses if they are damaged or over 25 years old.
You might even want to double up on them, especially if there is major construction work taking place nearby.
Key Questions Before You Buy a Damp-Proof Course
- What type of wall have you got?
- What’s causing it to get damp?
- Is it a high or low risk?
- How long do you need protection for, what level of protection do you need and how much does it cost?
- Also, will any treatments be needed in addition?
A damp-proof course is an extra layer of protection against rising dampness, penetrating moisture and condensation.
You can buy these courses at most DIY stores.
Things to watch out for with external damp courses
Old damp courses can crack and crumble, which may encourage moisture to penetrate deeper into your house.
This can lead to much more serious issues with mold, wood rot, and even structural damage.
Before getting started, make sure you have any necessary repairs done by a professional (and get their invoice for proof).
Stages of Installing an External DPC Course
It can take you from around 2-3 weeks up to 6 months if you follow all of these stages, depending on how long it takes for your damp proofing system and other building works to be completed.
The stages are as follows: Obtain Planning Permission / Building Regulations Approval:
You will need to get a surveyor’s report that states whether or not you need to install a damp-proof course.
If you don’t have any major issues with your property, such as rising damp or penetrating damp, then maybe planning permission is not necessary.
However, if there is a chance of incurring further damage, then it is highly recommended to seek approval.
This is also more relevant in cases where you need to make changes to your property, such as knocking down walls or converting loft space into habitable rooms.
There are certain ways in which planning permission and building regulations approval work together but most professionals will know what they mean by those terms.
Just make sure your potential contractor does too before setting out on the installation process.
Ensure Your Home Insurance Covers Your Wall Being Damaged During Installation:
As I mentioned before, installing an external DPC course is likely to cause some physical damage to your home.
Even though it is minor, you should ensure beforehand that it would be covered under your insurance policy.
A lot of policies cover water penetration so if there was an issue with moisture affecting internal rooms during installation, then you would have legal backing for compensation.
The damp-proof course is responsible for protecting walls and floors from internal moisture.
The problem with damp-proof courses is that they can break down over time, allowing moisture to enter your home, which may lead to serious problems, such as rotting timbers.
If you find that your damp-proof course has deteriorated, it’s important to contact a professional contractor.
The job is relatively simple and inexpensive but if left alone could cause more serious damage in the future.
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