Damp Proofing Walls – Why and Where to Start

damp walls photo

Have a look at some of our articles containing useful and informative information regarding our services and products.

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.

Green Building Materials & Design

green building supplies

A home is more than the sum of its components, so the selection of green building materials is an important part of a building project. There are several factors we use to judge the “greenness” of the materials we use and recommend.

  • Is the material locally produced (reduced transportation)?
  • Is it made from renewable sources?
  • Is the product an energy efficient green building material, both in production and in use?
  • Is the product non-toxic in application, in use, and in disposal?
  • Is it readily recyclable or bio-degradable at the end of its useful life?

There are a couple of other things that we also like to consider. We love products that will require little or no maintenance.

We compare the life cycle costs of competing green building products, looking for the one that will be the most economical over the life of the home. And being owner-builders, we are always on the lookout for products that at are easy to work with.

To keep things organized, we will group our discussion of green building supplies into a few categories….

Green roofing materials

Think of your roof as the hat that your house wears. You and your green home will want a roof that is attractive, energy efficient, durable, and as green as possible.

While most of the readily available roofing products are man-made, some are definitely greener than others. Let us offer you some insight into the green building supplies and give you a few tips that will help you make your choice.

There are some truly green roofs made from natural materials, such as thatch or “living” green vegetation. However, we will focus our discussion on the more common, and building code friendly options.

Lumber and other structural products

For our current construction project we are using two items that we consider to be very, very green building products – local lumber and straw bales.

The bales are supplied by a local wheat farmer, reducing transportation energy expenditures (and costs), and keeping money in the local economy. The lumber was produced even closer to home.

Check out our Solar Wood Kiln article to see how we converted the trees on our home site into usable lumber.

Windows and doors – going beyond insulated glass

Have you been to your local building supply center, or looked through a home design magazine lately? The assortment and price range for windows and doors is staggering.

Unfortunately, not all insulated glass is created equal. Let us share our experiences and tips with these products. There will be a few sad stories along the way.

Green and sustainable flooring products

We had a minor disagreement writing on this topic, but finally decided to include both “green” and “sustainable” in our discussion. One of our major beliefs regarding green construction is that you should use what you already have. So we support the use of salvaged materials, especially wood flooring.

If you don’t have a convenient or economical source of salvaged materials there are some excellent sustainable flooring products. Check out the options in bamboo and cork flooring. It is beautiful, durable, renewable…and very economical.

Green wall finishes

There are a number of “old-time” wall finish products that have reappeared with the increased demand for green materials. And the results have been surprisingly good.

Many of these older products and processes were both environmentally friendly and durable. They were replaced with less friendly products that had advantages for assembly-line construction of tract homes.

Take a look at the lime based and clay based finishes that we are using on our home.



If you have a question about green building materials or products, please drop us a line on our Contact Us form

Finding the Perfect Spot for a Photo Shoot

The love affair started years ago. That is, my love affair with this old motel not too far from my home. It’s the kind of place where lonely travelers would crash for the night, or down and out country band would make it’s last stand. What a perfect spot for a photo shoot! Kind of reminds me of the junk yard photos I took a while back. It took 3 years to find our perfect couple for this location but when Vanessa and Eli walked through our door, we knew our wait was over.

But a funny thing happened. When the shoot was over and I gazed at the collection of images we had created that afternoon, I realized that this location, with it’s vintage paint, and charming retro character, became just that: the location. All my visions or grungy moodiness and artistic lines faded as I was struck by the love and tenderness of the two people in front of me.

Vanessa and Eli, thanks for showing me how love can outshine even the most salmon walls. You guys are beautiful and I’m so looking forward to photographing you on your wedding!

old motel photo

Why You Should Choose Metal Roofing

It is not always easy to choose the type of roof that you want for you business or home. We take photos of all kinds of roofs. Although there are many different options out there for roofing you should know that the decision does not have to be as hard as many people make it out to be.

In fact the decision can be quite easy once you are able to look at the benefits that each type of roof will give to you and your business. One of the best types of roofing is metal roofing and there are many different reasons that this roof is able to offer you such great benefits.

metal roofing solutions

Metal Roofing Cooling Costs?

When most people think about metal roofing their first concern is the fact that they think it will increase their cooling cost because of the fact that it is metal. However, the truth of the matter is that the metal is able to reflect a great deal of sunlight. This means that it can actually save you money on your bill as this will allow you to not need to use as much electricity to keep your home cool as you might need to otherwise.

You will also find that these roofs are able to withstand things like hail and wind better than many other types of roofing. In some cases metal roofs are able to withstand as much as 120mph of wind which is hurricane force winds.

This is certainly a great benefit to those who live in areas that are proven to this type of damage. Also, many think that a metal roof is more proven to lightning. You should know that lightning is known to strike the highest point and if your roof is the highest point this is likely but it is not because of the material. If you are worried about this you can choose to have lightning rods installed.

Metal Roofs are Easy to Care For

Metal roofs are also easy to care for and to take care of. You will be able to use a water hose to spray your roof down from time to time to keep it from getting dirty. If you have spots that have been left unclean too long then you might find that you need to use a pressure washer and to prevent this from happening again you can clean your metal roofing more often.

Metal Roof Replacement Prices

Metal roofing in most cases is going to cost you a little more than an asphalt/fiberglass roof that is shingle. However, you should know that in many cases it will actually allow you to save money as it is less likely to be damaged and also will help with the cooling cost of your home. All of these great benefits are reasons that more people are starting to choose metal roofs.

Although the decision on which roof to choose can be difficult it is easy to see the clear benefits that you can get from choosing a roof that is metal versus the other types of roofing options that are available out there on the market today.

Old Junk Yard Engagement Photo Shoot

Engagement sessions are best done several months before your wedding. We like that it allows you to choose a different season than your wedding to give you more variety in your images. Doing your engagement session early also allows you to focus on your wedding plans closer to your date. Choose a location that expresses your personality and sense of style. It’s a great chance to get creative and most of all, have some fun!

We’ve always wanted to shoot a session in an old junk yard. So, when Krista and Steven came to us looking for something unique for their engagement session, we knew they’d be perfect for this! Besides being a super sweet couple, what struck us about them was their love for life, travel and adventure. Having reached their dream of traveling to every continent, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for them next! If you’re wondering, this junk yard was just outside of New York City!

Krista and Steven just recently tied the knot at the lovely Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar. Here are a few of the many images we love from their engagement session (stay tuned for their wedding images!). K&S, you guys are awesome! If I ever need someone to fix my jeep, I’ll give Steven a shout. 😉

When Spring Arrives

Spring arrives and reminds us another season has begun.  We have been quite busy in the past little while and taken a bit of a break here on the blog to focus on our family and current clients, but have lots to share!  If you are still here reading our blog, well, these upcoming posts are for you.  Thanks for keeping us inspired and special thanks to MOB and blog-reader, Dawn, whom we’ve had the privilege of meeting, for giving us just the push we needed to keep writing.

Some personal news: We recently welcomed baby girl #3 into our family last month and despite the exhaustion, we couldn’t feel more blessed.  Stay tuned for more on that in an upcoming post! And we also want to share some secrets for finding the perfect spot for a photo shoot!

Other than that, we have some really exciting weddings, engagements, and lifestyle sessions, to share (including a few maternity and baby sessions that we have had the privilege of shooting).  Up first though, is a sneak peak of Pamela and Jimmy’s recent winter wedding in February.

Happy Spring!

spring photos