Our damp proofing guide will provide all you need to know about damp problems and how to solve them. The four main causes of damp are Rising damp, penetrating damp, condensation, and underground water ingress, and we will outline how to fix them all.
If you require professional treatment, then our damp proofing specialists have been solving damp problems since 1951. Our experienced surveyors are fully trained and qualified to diagnose the exact cause of the problem and, if necessary, provide a treatment plan to remedy it.
Following current Government guidance, Handyman Hunter can still perform damp proofing services in homes and commercial properties while taking all necessary precautions with regards to social distancing and use of protective equipment. To find out how we can help you today while remaining safe, please get in touch with us by calling 01414590479 or by following this link to our contact page and telling us there what you need done. Alternatively continue reading to find out more about the various damp proofing services we can provide.
Damp proofing walls
Most people start to think about damp proofing when symptoms of damp start to appear on their internal walls. Damp on walls cause aesthetic damage to paint, plaster, wallpaper, skirting boards and other fixtures and fittings but it can also lead to more serious problems such as rot which can affect structural timbers.
Other problems associated with damp walls include exacerbated symptoms of asthma and other respiratory conditions and poor energy efficiency with higher bills as a result. If you notice damp walls in your property then we recommend acting fast to resolve the issue. Generally speaking, the sooner a damp wall is repaired the less deterioration it will suffer.
The excess moisture that causes damp walls can come from various, such as:
- Humidity caused by poor ventilation
- Faulty roofing, gutters and downpipes
- Bridged or damaged damp proof courses
- Damage to foundations from tree roots or invasive weeds
- Damp cavity wall insulation
Types of damp and damp treatments
Identifying the exact type of damp proofing you require can sometimes be difficult for those who are not professionally trained. Symptoms of conditions like penetrating damp, rising damp and condensation can look remarkably similar but all require different damp proofing techniques to solve.
That said, when most people talk about “damp-proofing” they are usually referring to a remedial damp proof course. This is a type of waterproofing where a barrier is placed in a wall to prevent rising damp. There are many other types of damp proofing treatments available though, and each is suitable for different types of damp.
Many homeowners will have heard of a damp-proof course, waterproof membranes or positive input ventilation unit but far fewer would know when to apply them.
Penetrating damp, otherwise known as lateral damp, is the development of moisture through the walls and roof or below the ground area of a building. Like most cases of dampness, if left untreated it can cause problems for the structure and significant damage to the fabric of your home.
If a penetrating damp problem is left untreated it can cause deterioration to the fabric of your property including damage to walls, floors, ceilings and can even cause rot to timbers. Unlike rising damp penetrating damp, can happen at any level of your property. Damp penetration can affect any age of the property. Older properties that have had a lack of maintenance are more at risk of dampness problems causing deterioration to the building fabric. This is not to say that modern buildings do not suffer from penetrating damp. In some cases, due to defective workmanship or design, modern buildings can also suffer from damp in walls.
The damp can form in isolated patches or can affect full wall areas. The damp can get worse after heavy periods of rain.
Living in the UK, your home is at risk of rainwater penetration, however penetrating damp most often affects areas that are exposed to severe weather conditions or there is a defect in the property like missing roof tiles or defective render, gutters and downpipes.
The first sign of penetrating damp that you may see could be a watermark that appears on your decoration. With penetrating damp, damp patches will grow as the water continues to enter. Mould could begin to grow on the damp wall as condensation could occur on the existing cold damp surfaces.
Damp is a major concern for many homeowners and is one of the most frequent problems that we face with properties. Damp can lead to severe structural damage if not treated. Handyman Hunter has made a list of both structural and household factors that can be undertaken to keep your property safe and dry.
The list below provides structural improvements that can be made to damp proof your property to not only treat the issue but also prevent damp from occurring in the future.
Installing a Damp Proof Course and a Damp Proof Membrane
Rising damp is the movement of groundwater up through the wall or floor. A damp proof course will provide a horizontal layer of waterproof material within the walls of the building, protecting against moisture rising up through the walls.
A damp proof membrane is a sheet of material that is impervious to water. It is laid under a concrete floor, which should, in turn, be connected to the damp proof course, so that the building is effectively sealed from dampness.
Installation of Bathroom and Kitchen Fans
Condensation is an inevitable damp problem in all properties as a result of everyday living. The kitchen and bathroom are the most susceptible to dampness. The installation of mechanical ventilation, such as bathroom and kitchen fans, allows constant airflow throughout your property and ease any condensation issues that may be present.
Improving the Outside of the Property
Penetrating damp is a form of damp that causes significant damage to exposed areas of a building like roofs or chimneys. Penetrating damp tends to expand in a horizontal movement on surfaces as opposed to rising damp, which travels vertically.
Regularly clearing out gutters will allow water to flow away from the property. As a property owner, you should check for blockages in drains and gutters as the wetter months could cause expensive, long-term damage to the property.
Fix Plumbing Problems
There are many potential damp problems that can be found in bathrooms and kitchens. Leaks from water and waste pipes can affect both the external and internal walls as well as ceilings.
Mould can be seen with these types of dampness and if not addressed wood rot can occur. Where floorboards with wood rot have been left for a long period of time, then there is a serious risk of collapse. Problems with plumbing should be treated by a qualified tradesperson without any delay.
What is Rising Damp?
Rising damp is a relatively rare form of damp that affects the walls of buildings. It occurs when moisture from the ground travels up through the walls by capillary action.
This means that groundwater is effectively sucked up through tiny tubes in the bricks, like a series of straws. This water contains salts that also travel up through the wall.
Around the affected wall, you get other porous building materials such as plasterwork and the timber found in the floorboards, joists and skirtings. These materials will also absorb the groundwater easily and you may find evidence of wet rot in the timber.
Generally rising damp is first noticed by the damage it causes to the internal walls of a building. Plaster and paint can deteriorate and any wallpaper tends to loosen. A visible stain often appears on the wall in the form of a tide mark at the point where the groundwater has reached.
You may also see salts blooming on the internal surface. This is something often associated with rising damp and will lead to the debonding of paints and even plasterwork.
Externally, mortar may crumble and white salt stains may appear on the walls. We will go into the common signs of rising damp in more detail later in the guide.
Causes of Rising Damp
Most buildings have some form of barrier installed at the lower level of the wall to prevent water from rising up in this way. It is called a damp proof course (DPC).
These can be made of non-absorbant, water-resistant materials such as slate, bitumen and plastic depending on the period the property was built. Sometimes these physical DPCs may fail over time; in older houses, they may not exist at all.
If you don’t have a DPC or there is evidence that it has failed then there is nothing to prevent the water from travelling up your wall.
What is a damp proof course?
damp proof course
A damp-proof course (DPC) is a damp proofing treatment used to treat rising dampness. Damp-proof courses can be repaired or installed with a few different methods but the most popular and well known is the damp proof injection.
A damp-proof course is only effective against rising damp and will not help other damp problems such as condensation or penetrating damp, so we would always recommend contacting an accredited surveyor to develop a treatment plan before getting a damp-proof course installed, this we can do for you.
It should be noted that rising damp is regularly misdiagnosed by untrained tradespeople, so by discussing the problem with a qualified and trade body recognised company like Handyman Hunter you could potentially save yourself from any needless and ineffective treatment.