One of the major issues property owners have to deal with is dampness, especially during the winter and autumn months. Damp usually occurs when unwanted moisture finds its way onto your property and affects areas like the walls, floors, and ceilings. Damp can make your home feel very uncomfortable and cause serious damage to your furniture and décor. As a property owner, it is crucial that you know how to spot the signs of dampness and take the appropriate measures, as ignoring them could lead to structural damage. Damp proofing is a very effective way to protect your property from dampness.
What is damp proofing?
These are the treatments used to prevent moisture from being absorbed through either the walls or floors and into the interior of a property. Depending on the cause of your damp issues, there are different methods that can be used to repair and damp proof your property.
Before diving into the different methods of dampproofing your property, it is important to learn about the different types of dampness, their causes, and how to spot the signs on your property.
Types of damp
Rising damp – this is the capillary movement of moisture from the ground through the walls of your property. Some of the signs include; damp patches starting at the base of the wall which gradually moves up, rotting plaster, wet and lifting floor coverings (tiles, carpets, vinyl), peeling wallpaper, yellow/brown stains on the wall, and the appearance of a white powdery substance on the wall.
Penetrating damp – this involves water from outside finding its way into your property as a result of external damage such as; broken/porous brickwork, guttering issues, missing roof tiles, and damaged window and door seals. The signs of penetrating damp are similar to rising damp except that the moisture, in this case, moves horizontally through the walls. You may also notice signs of dampness on the external walls of your property.
Condensation – this is a very common type of damp resulting from a lack of proper ventilation while performing household tasks like cooking or drying damp clothing. Be on the lookout for signs of damp patches/water running down the walls around the house.
How to damp proof your property
Installation of a Damp Proof Course and a Damp Proof Membrane
A damp proof course (DPC) provides a horizontal layer of moisture-proof material within the walls of your property to prevent rising dampness. A damp proof membrane, on the other hand, is like a sheet of material impervious to water that is placed under a concrete floor and connected to the damp proof course to seal your property from dampness. Essentially, a DPC protects your walls from rising damp, and a damp-proof membrane protects your floors. A combination of both offers your property full damp protection.
Installation of a Remedial Damp Proof Course
Most properties come with a DPC of about 6 inches above ground level pre-installed. This will look like a thicker mortar course with a slate or bitumen sheet. These DPCs are made with materials that are quite resilient, but they can degrade over time and leave your property vulnerable to rising dampness. To prevent this, you can further damp proof your property by injecting a silicon remedial damp proof course which provides a waterproof barrier and prevents moisture from seeping in. This DPC injection is a guaranteed and long-lasting method of dampproofing your property. Reputable and trusted London Damp Specialists are likely to be the most cost effective option with added peace of mind.
Improve the exterior of your property
This is a great way to prevent penetrating damp, which causes damage to exposed areas of your property. Clear out your gutters regularly to aid the flow of water away from your property and also ensure to check for any drainage blocks, especially during the wetter months.
Fix all issues with plumbing
Leakage from water and waste pipes can lead to damp problems and damage both the internal and external walls of your property. If not addressed properly, the dampness could be accompanied by mould and eventually lead to floor damage and collapse, so it is crucial that you fix all plumbing issues immediately.
Monitor your insulation and heating levels
To reduce the amount of moisture-laden air in your property, you need to have good insulation and ensure that the heating levels are at just the right temperature (19-22 degrees for the living room, kitchen, and bathroom; 16-20 degrees for the bedroom).
Damp is a serious issue that, if left unresolved, could lead to serious property damage. It is important that, as a homeowner, you know how to immediately spot the signs and take measures to fix any damp issues and damp proof your property. This is to prevent any further damage or decrease in your property’s appeal and value in the future.