Damp proofing, or dampproofing as it is also known, offers a solution to the often frustrating problem of damp. This issue occurs when moisture travels up from the ground and through the foundation and walls of a building. Once damp has set in, a number of issues will soon become apparent – damp patches on the walls, peeling paint and wallpaper and even plaster that falls from the walls. Structural damage can occur if damp is left unchecked, but that is not the only thing to worry about – damp can also lead to health problems if it is not stopped in time.
The most common type of damp is known as rising damp. Often symptoms of this type of damp can be mistaken for symptoms of lateral damp or condensation. As each type of moisture damage requires a very different approach to be treated, it is essential that you consult a dampproofing expert who has the experience to know how to proceed.
Many homes are built with a damp proof course (DPC) that is installed during the building process. This system goes a long way in helping to prevent damp, but if it is not positioned correctly when installed, deteriorated over time or it has been damaged by renovation to the building, the DPC will not be an effective way to avoid damp from setting in.
How is Damp Caused?
Of course, when it comes to investing in damp proofing compared to fixing damp that is already in place, prevention is always better than cure. In cases where it is too late to prevent damage to the building, dampproofing experts will often need to make major changes to correct the damage and prevent further damage. This can be time-consuming and costly – especially when there are serious issues that need to be treated.
Making sure that the building is effectively proofed against all types of moisture damage is far simpler all round. The process to getting your home or work premises protected against dampness begins when a specialist such as Wilcote does an evaluation to determine the risk of damp, whether there is any DPC already in place and what other measures are required to provide efficient protection.
It also helps to understand some of the most common causes of damp, so that you can do your own checks throughout the building. The primary causes include the following:
- Defects in roof coverings
- Defects in flashing
- Defects in valley gutters
- Unsuitable roof design or inadequate roof overhang
- Lack of gutters and downpipes
- Condensation caused by the absence of air-bricks
- Inadequate drainage
- Poorly placed tiles or paving
- Floor cracks, broken walkways and leaking balconies
- Poor load bearing of lintels
- Rising damp caused by failed damp proof course (DPC)
- Leaking downpipes and geysers
- Plumbing leaks in bathrooms and kitchens
- Unsealed tops of walls and parapets
- Inadequate roof timber
- Rocky slope foundation on building site
- Gardens, sprinklers and water features placed too close to walls
- Weak plaster caused by insufficient cement
- Inadequate foundations on clay ground with a high water table
Why is Damp Proofing Needed?
Many homeowners and business premises owners believe that damp is purely a cosmetic problem. While it is true that this problem can cause major (and unsightly) problems within the structure of a building, damping issues that are not treated can end up costing far more than you realise in the long run.
A damp-ridden building is colder than a dry building, due to heat being absorbed by the building in order to release moisture from walls. Working and living in conditions prone to cold and damp can easily lead to a range of health problems, including bronchitis and more serious conditions such as asthma. As fungi and bacteria are able to grow more quickly in damper conditions, these health conditions can spread even more quickly. Termites are also a big risk in the case of wooden floors, walls and ceilings that are subjected to dampness, as wet wood is far more susceptible to attacks from these wood-eating insects than dry wood.
Your home or building is an important investment – whether it is for your family or for your growing business. Make sure that you protect your investment by protecting the building itself against problems such as rising damp, which can lead to ongoing issues that are difficult to treat.
Contact Wilcote today to find out how dampproofing your building helps to prevent damp, once and for all.