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All buildings and their fabrics will deteriorate in time and require repair, but the process of deterioration is accelerated considerably if the building is allowed to succumb to the effects of water ingress. Water can make its way into any property that is not suitably protected by a damp proofing system and cause:
- The external brickwork and mortar to deteriorate and crumble;
- Damage to internal decoration;
- Decay and infestation in any timber floors or joists which become damp;
- An unpleasant smell; and
- Raise the humidity in the property, leading to condensation and mould.
Causes of water ingress
It is not just the lack of an adequate damp proofing system that can allow water to enter a property. Firstly, a thorough investigation of the general condition of the building itself might reveal several disrepair issues which are allowing water to enter. Some common examples of this are:
When water ingress requires a damp proofing system
Before any damp proofing system is considered, it should be determined whether repairable defects are the root cause of the water ingress. When the root of the problem has been identified, it should be repaired and any damage that the damp has caused to the property should be made good. Where the water ingress is attributable to unavoidable, naturally-occurring rising damp, or penetrating damp, a damp proofing system must be considered instead.
What is damp proofing?
Damp proofing is the method of preventing unwanted moisture from reaching the internal walls of a property. Water can find its way into internal walls by absorbing upwards or through an external wall surface (normally brick or stone), into the structure and wall plasters beneath; this process is referred to as ‘capillary action’. The phrase takes its names from capillaries, tiny blood vessels which allow blood to flow to all parts of our bodies.
In buildings, water can be incredibly mobile and, unless a suitable damp proofing barrier prevents it, moisture will affect many parts of the home. Where moisture becomes visible on the internal surfaces of a home, it is commonly the case that the property is not adequately protected by a damp proofing system.
I’VE FOUND DAMP, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
DAMP PROOFING EXPERTS
Our team of experts specialise in the design and installation of specialist damp proofing systems, which will keep your home free of damp. Where walls are affected by rising damp, our technicians inject chemical damp proofing courses, which provide a continuous and lasting barrier against any future water ingress. The chemical which our technicians use is injected in a continuous line near the base of a wall affected by rising damp.
“How does a chemical stop damp?”
The chemical which our technicians use is injected in a continuous line near the base of a wall affected by rising damp. When the chemical cures, it acts as a waterproof barrier which prevents any additional water rising past it and into the interior of your home.
“Why use a chemical rather than a membrane?”
Chemical damp proof courses are a cost-effective method of treating rising damp as their injection does not normally require the disturbance or removal of brickwork like would be necessary for physical damp proof courses. However, in most cases, the interior wall plaster which has been affected by damp will need replacement, irrespective of the kind of damp proof course that is used.
“I have damp, why does the wall plaster need to be removed?”
If you’ve found damp in your home, you might have noticed a white sediment deposited on the surface of the affected walls; this is salt. Any damp that makes its way into a property carries with it a range of minerals (including salts) and deposits these in the surface of the wall as it evaporates. This is a problem for two reasons:
- It leaves a permanent stain on the wall; and
- The salts which are deposited are hygroscopic, meaning that even when the source of the damp that deposited them has been cured, they will continue to attract moisture from the internal air of the property, leaving the wall appearing permanently damp.
Where these salts are present, the wall plasters must be replaced. As part of their work, our technicians commonly remove salt contaminated wall plaster and replace it with specialist salt retardant plasters to prevent the problem reoccurring.