Damp Proofing Walls – Why and Where to Start

damp walls photo

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The most obvious way to avoid having to engage in damp proofing walls in your building is to have been fortunate enough to have had the services of a knowledgeable builder, obviating the need for any rising damp solutions. However, many factors give rise to damp walls.

Indications that Damp Proofing of Walls May Be Required

Should you notice a band of bubbling paint or wallpaper, friable plaster or a strip of whitish salts deposited on walls just above floor level, rising damp and subsequent damp proofing of walls may be indicated. Rising damp is generally caused by the capillary effect of water, which thus seeps into porous surfaces, degrading them. A few reasons could be:

  • Your building may be old, built during a time when rising damp preventative products such as damp proof course, were unknown or not in common use.
  • The outer ground surface may be level with, above or too close to the damp proof course layer. This rising damp preventative membrane should be at plinth level (where the walls join the foundation), and the outer ground level should be at least 150mm below this.
  • Clay soil can cause soggy conditions, which necessitates damp proofing of walls.
  • Drainage of rain water may be inadequate or ineffective, or ground may slope towards the building.
  • Burst or leaking pipes can exacerbate damp conditions.
  • Condensation or penetrating damp could be a factor, particularly where solid walls were built with mortar high in lime content, or a gypsum based plaster mixture was used.

Address the Causes and Not Just the Symptoms

Although there are a multitude of rising damp DIY solutions on the market, you may well waste time and money by attempting to eliminate rising damp in your walls by yourself, only to find that the problem reoccurs later.

A qualified wall damp proofing specialist will first thoroughly assess the nature and cause of the damp walls and inspect the surrounding terrain before making any recommendation of a solution to combat rising damp. The cause and not just the symptoms must be addressed, to ensure a long term wall damp proofing solution.

He will establish whether adequate measures were taken during construction to prevent rising damp. Thereafter, the exact type and cause of damp manifestation will be assessed, and then advise given on the best type of damp proofing solution. There is no “one size fits all” solution.  Proper assessment is crucial.

The damp proofing of walls may include the repositioning of downpipes, gutter repairs/maintenance, and changing outside ground levels and drainage. The correct, best performing rising damp solution is the answer to putting damp walls, floors and constant costly repainting and replastering behind you.