Damp and damp proofing explained

You have finally managed to build your dream home. It did a number on your bank account but the outcome was all worth it. A few months after moving in, during the cold season, you start noticing damp on the walls. Can you think of anything worse than incurring more costs because you didn’t damp proof your home? This article will take you through what damp proofing is and how you can damp proof your home.

Removing damp

What is damp proofing?

Damp proofing is the process of applying different techniques in an effort to protect your home from damp related damages. It is a long-term preventive solution to moisture decay and it mostly applies to walls and floors. In simpler terms, damp proofing will protect your house from developing damp especially during the cold seasons. The two main types of damp proofing are damp proof course and damp-proof membrane. Damp course is the most preferred option when it comes to homes.

Different type of damp

There are 6 common types of damp that are likely to affect your house. It is important for you to be on the lookout as your home could be affected by any of them, or even a combination of several of them. The 6 common types of damp are;

– Rising damp

Rising damp mostly occurs on the ground floor and in basements, especially to those houses located near marshlands and rivers. The most common causes of rising damp include incorrect positioning of a damp course, failure to install it or a deteriorated damp proof course.
The signs of rising damp include peeling wallpaper or paint, rotten skirting boards, swollen wooden floors and stained plaster.

– Condensation damp

This type of damp is caused by excess water vapour and mostly occurs in houses located in high humidity areas. Signs of condensation damp include black damp or mould on walls and ceilings and damaged wallpapers due to lifting.
Condensation damp is harmful as the mould lets out spores into the air causing respiratory problems. This type of damp can be prevented by ensuring that the house has sufficient ventilation.

– Falling damp

This is a type of damp caused by the penetration of moisture into your home through high areas like gutters and roofs. The major signs of falling damp are peeling paint on boundary walls and weathered bricks. Ensure that you always inspect your gutters and roof for damage to prevent this type of damp.

– Defective plumbing damp

It is caused by poor plumbing e.g. defective and leaking pipes, overflows and cracked rendering. These defects are caused by corroded metal or poor installation and are most common in houses that have heating pipes under the floors. Defective plumbing damp is mostly characterized by small damp patches on walls and floors.

– Chemical damp

Chemical damp mostly occurs when the plaster is contaminated by hygroscopic salts. These salts tend to absorb moisture from the air, causing damp on the walls. This type of damp is prominent in plastered walls and materializes as brown patches.

– Penetrating damp

It is also known as Lateral damp and is caused by moisture passing through walls. The main signs of penetrating damp are decayed plaster, mould formation and rotten floorboards.

The damage damp does to your home

Damp is not only dangerous to your health but is also expensive to control. One of the main problems of damp is that it doesn’t really go away on its own. Instead, it spreads on the walls and floors, causing structural damages as it progresses. What are some of the major damages caused by damp?

-Respiratory diseases caused by spreading mould spores.
-Damaged floors and rotten boards.
-Peeling paint and wallpapers.
-Stained walls.
-Crumbling plaster.
-It weakens the structural integrity of your home.
-Stain your clothes and giving them a mildew smell.

How damp proofing works

Technically, all damp proofing does is provide a protective layer or barrier on walls, foundations and floors to prevent them from absorbing moisture. It mostly done during the construction process and if well installed, it will save you lots of money. Damp proofing is usually in the form of a slater barrier or a plastic membrane that prevents damp from rising into the walls.

Importance of damp proofing your home

You stand to benefit from damp proofing your home in the long term. For this reason, it’s important to use reputable tradesmen and technicians when installing a damp course to ensure it does not become defective after a short period of usage.

Here are some important reasons to damp proof your home.

– It prevents your home from having a putrid smell caused by damp walls and decaying floorboards.
– It has various health benefits. Damp walls are harmful to the occupants of the house. They tend to cause respiratory infections including lung diseases.
– Saves you money. Damp can cause extensive damage to your house. If it occurs, you will have to replace the floorboards, and repair various parts of the house.
– Aesthetic benefits. The cracking plaster, peeling wallpapers and decayed skirting boards in a home are an eyesore. An effective damp course ensures that your home remains as attractive as it was when it was constructed.

Damp proofing is not just an alternative but should be a necessity for any homeowner. If the damage to the structural integrity of the house is extensive, it may make the house inhabitable.

How much does damp proofing cost?

There are various factors that come into play when it comes to damp proofing charges. The three main ones are;
-Extensiveness of the damping- the more damage caused by the damp, the more you are likely to pay.
-Repair and replacements- these will add on to the overall costs.
-Type of damp proofing treatment needed.

The type of damp is going to have a huge effect ob the cost of repairing any damage. Generally, all factors considered, damp proofing should cost around £60 for every meter. This makes the cost to be about £270 per room. The cost is much higher if the tradesmen have to excavate the concrete.

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