With around one million of UK homes experiencing damp problems in at least one room, damp-proofing is a must in a country where cold, wet weather prevails much of the year. You often see houses on the market for sale with damp issues so is it risky to buy a house with damp issues? If you thought a cup of tea could solve anything, in this particular case you should put off having a brew until you’ve read these few lines.
Damp causes and how to get them fixed
Still, on the subject of tea, condensation would be where the boiling water from your kettle leads to a build-up of steam in your kitchen. This will eventually show up in signs of dampness such as black mould spots or wallpaper coming off in places. The good news is that this type of damp issue is the easiest to solve.
Condensation can be avoided by a few lifestyle changes such as opening your windows and keeping the doors shut when cooking or boiling water.
If you’re already dealing with dampness caused by condensation, this can easily be fixed by getting ventilation units installed. You’re safest getting a registered technician to look at your property to evaluate the cause properly and put in place the right treatment option.
Concrete or brick walls are porous, meaning wet weather conditions will affect its structure, finding its way into the fabric of it and seeping into your home. Not only does this cause poor energy ratings but carries known health risks, especially where infants and the elderly are concerned.
My friend Dean from Damp Hero said that in order to avoid this problem arising in the first place, you can get damp proofing applied to your house in the form of an exterior coating that will protect your wall from water penetration. This dampproofing mixture is essentially tar-based and offers good protection against moderate exterior dampness.
Having a qualified tradesperson assess the situation first and foremost will ensure you’re not throwing money down the drain on an ill-fitted solution though. It could be the case that you actually need a barrier against water pressure coming from a high water table. If the soil your home is built on has a significant saturation, waterproofing will be recommended. Leak detection can be carried out by plumbers if you suspect the cause is damaged pipes, they
can use infrared detectors to look for cold or hot spots without damaging the walls. Read more about this technique a few paragraphs down.
It, too, is caused by the cavities found in concrete or brick walls as well as render. Their small size allows for the water to travel upwards by an effect called capillary action. The resulting damp lines resemble waves running along the bottom of your walls.
A great way to prevent this is by fitting what is known as a damp-proof course, or DPC. What is it? Basically, a waterproof sheeting. This plastic membrane is placed at least 150mm higher than ground level and blocks out any moisture. This keeps your interiors pretty and safe to live in. This can also go unnoticed for some time if it’s happening under hardwood flooring which will also ruin and warp the wood.
What if you become aware of rising damp because it had already worked its way up to your building’s structure? There is a solution there too. Whether the original damp-proof course has been subject to wear and tear due to an aging property, or whether there just wasn’t any whatsoever, you will be allowed to breathe sane air again after the appropriate treatment has been put in place.
This involves injecting a silicone mix into your wall following thorough preparation. First, the silicone is injected in between bricks at strategic horizontal entry points drilled in specifically. This creates the impermeable layer required to prevent rising dampness. The job won’t be finished until your interior has been re-plastered. This step is crucial, as old, damp plaster carries salt from the water it retains. If left on, this will only keep attracting more water, allowing mould to form when condensation from your interior cools off at night, say.
Damp proofing v waterproofing
You may be concerned that damp-proofing your home may not guarantee healthy living conditions. In some cases, you may be right, and waterproofing will be the right solution for you. This fine line between several proofing options is best left with the experts, not least because waterproofing involves more work, with the invoice to match.
The difference between damp proofing and waterproofing lies in the ability of waterproofing to block out water in its liquid form, pressure, and all.
Waterproofing is usually used for below-ground rooms like cellars, sealing walls off completely with a waterproof barrier. Tanking slurry, also known as cementitious tanking, is the material that comes into play there.
Aside from this case, or unless your home is exposed to water in its liquid form rather than just to outdoors moisture, then damp-proofing is a great way to keep dampness at bay.