With weather conditions becoming more extreme and localised flood risks heightening as well as prolonged periods of damp conditions more and more homes are in need of damp proofing solutions. Damp in the home can cause a great deal of damage including crumbling plaster and can necessitate costly repairs and even lead to health conditions if left untreated. The first step is identifying the cause of the damp – in other words, where the moisture is coming from.
Assuming you have noticed damp in the home, manifesting in patches on the walls or ceilings you may need to consider any number of these as potential culprits:
- Roofing issues, down-pipes or gutters
- Plant overgrowth or roots
- Entry of rainwater
- Poorly sealed doors or windows
- Cavity wall insulation issues
In simple terms damp arises because water cannot escape, or water is getting inside.
If condensation is the problem then proper ventilation, especially when cooking or showering will be your best bet at tackling the problem. This is especially common in large households where lots of people are showering and cooking at different times without adequate ventilation. Keeping on top of any mould around windowsills and behind furniture as well as adequate ventilation can work wonders with condensation issues.
Another very common issue, especially with the prolonged heavy rain that we are experiencing more frequently, is penetrating damp. Finding the source of the issue is half the battle, but often the solution will be to check the pipes and gutters for any faults or poor design as well as the overgrowth of any vegetation or moss on the roof. If the solution is not easily found and there is an absence of a known and traceable damp course, then the answer is often the need for damp-proofing.
The need for damp proofing solutions is just the first step in the process. It is then necessary to decide on the best course of action among a few potential candidates. It is strongly advisable to seek expert advice before taking the plunge, but the available options include:
- Tanking slurries to damp-proof brick walls
- Damp proof membranes
- Special damp proofing paints
The process of applying a tanking slurry involves hacking back to the original masonry and applying a coat of this waterproof coating. This is a solution that is perhaps best suited to basements and can withstand large water pressures.
Damp Proof Membranes
Damp proof membranes involve the use of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), a substance impervious to both moisture and salts. Once you have solved the immediate source of the damp problem such a membrane creates a cavity to allow moisture to evaporate from the wall.
Damp Proofing Paints
These special paints are best used by applying to the substrate and then rendering or plastering. This creates a better layer of damp proofing, stopping moisture issues than just applying on top of the plaster.
It is also often necessary to re-plaster areas affected by damp.