Finding a patch of damp on the living room wall or having a survey come back identifying damp in the basement can be worrying for any householder. Damp and damp proofing are subjects that we hope we never have to engage with and ones that the average homeowner knows little about. After all, most of us will have heard of a damp proof course, but many don’t know whether that is a treatment that can solve our problem or a programme of lessons for builders.
How can I tell if I have a damp problem that requires damp proofing?
Visible signs of damp or mould on the walls, as well as walls feeling wet and cold, are all signs of damp. But don’t panic, as not all causes of damp are complex or costly to repair. It is far better to contact one of our damp proofing experts and get the problem checked than to leave it to get worse. Our review system means that our damp proofing experts can be trusted to carry out the work to the highest standards and undertake only the work that needs doing to deal with your damp problem.
The causes of damp can be broken down into three main categories. These are penetrating damp, damp caused by condensation and rising damp. A damp proofing professional should be able to swiftly identify which one is causing your damp problem. Most of the damp proofing experts registered with MyBuilder will assess your damp problem for free and will then offer you a quote for the necessary repairs.
Penetrating damp can be caused by anything from a broken pipe or leaky roof to a blocked drainpipe or the level of ground outside your property. Fixing the cause of the damp usually solves the problem, but in some cases you may need damp proofing to stop it happening again, particularly if the external ground level is the cause or if you have a basement. If you have a basement your damp proofing contractor may decide that you need a cementitous tanking, which is a system that seals the inside of the basement with cement, preventing damp from penetrating your walls from the earth outside.
Damp caused by condensation is easy to spot and can usually be simply rectified by an expert. This form of damp is usually caused by a lack of ventilation and may present itself as mould in the bathroom or kitchen. Some remedial work, such as re-plastering or re-decorating, may be required, but fixing the cause usually solves the problem efficiently.
Rising damp is the most complex form of damp to deal with, but many of our contractors have years of experience in dealing with this problem. Rising damp can be caused by a faulty, damaged or non-existent damp proof course in your external walls, as well as by leaking pipes at the base of the wall or previous damp problems that have caused water to pool at the base of the wall. If you have rising damp there is a good chance that your damp proof course will need repairing.
So, what is a damp proof course?
The damp proof course is usually a layer of slate or plastic damp proofing material that is laid between the bricks near to ground level and should stop damp rising from the ground up through your walls. If it is damaged or compromised in some way it you will need a new damp proof course, which is usually in the form of an injection of chemicals just above ground level. Specialist plastering work completes the job and ensures your walls stay dry inside and out.
What other solutions might a damp expert suggest?
Where damp has been caused by flooding in a basement or cellar, the contractor may decide that a system using a pump and a waterproof membrane is the best ongoing solution to your damp problem. This does away with any excess water and will guarantee that walls stay dry.
How do I know that damp proofing will work?
Our damp proofing experts will offer you a guarantee for their damp proofing work, which should be valid for around 30 years. Our reviews should tell you all you need to know about a damp proofing contractor but you can also check if they are a member of a professional body such as The Property Care Association, who are a trade body for damp proofing experts.