Damp-proofing is essential for ensuring the longevity of any building. Dampness can cause a range of problems, from weakened foundations to mould growth and even structural decay. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to successfully damp-proof your property.
Damp proofing on a structural level is often best left to the professionals, but if the damp is the result of interior conditions, there are steps you can take to make this yourself. You can take steps to prevent damp, and also make choices around your home that will address the cosmetic issues associated with damp. Read on to learn more about how to do damp proofing.
What is damp?
Dampness is caused by water penetrating the fabric of a building, usually in the form of moisture from either the ground or the air. Damp can be classified as either rising damp (due to groundwater), falling damp (due to condensation), or lateral damp (due to rain penetration). Whatever the cause of your damp, you certainly don’t want it in your home.
Damp can make your home uncomfortable and make it more difficult to keep it warm. It can also lead to patches of mould on your walls, furniture and possessions. And if the damp is structural, it can cause widespread damage throughout your property.
How do you do damp-proof?
The first step is to identify where any moisture is coming from as this will help you determine the most effective type of damp-proofing solution. Common sources include rainwater ingress through roof tiles, cracked walls or leaking pipes. Once the source of the dampness has been identified it’s time to select an appropriate waterproofing solution.
One option is the external rendering of the property. This involves applying a protective coating over exterior walls which not only prevents water penetration but also provides insulation against temperature fluctuations.
Chemical injection damp proofing
Another popular method is chemical injection damp proofing – this involves injecting a waterproof substance into walls in order to create an impermeable barrier between them and the wet environment outside. Finally, certain types of paints also provide damp-proof coating capabilities – these can be applied directly onto walls in order to keep moisture at bay.
Basement tanking is the process of applying a waterproof membrane to the interior of a property, usually in a basement or cellar. This process is often required before converting a basement space into a living space.
By following these steps you can effectively prevent water damage and protect your property from the damaging effects of dampness. However, it’s important to note that these steps will require a professional.
By addressing these issues first, you can be sure the damp isn’t coming from an external source. And once you have confirmed this, you can then take steps to damp proof your home on the inside.
How to prevent damp in your home
If your damp issue is not resolved by the methods above, then the problem is internal. This usually means there is a build-up of moisture in your home. Here are some tips on how to prevent damp in your home:
When air isn’t able to circulate, this can lead to moisture building up in the coldest part of the room. And if this moisture isn’t able to evaporate, it can lead to damp patches. To prevent this, make sure you improve the air circulation in your home. Open windows and doors regularly, use fans or dehumidifiers if needed and ensure any extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms are switched on when cooking and showering respectively.
Poor ventilation can also lead to damp problems so it’s important to open windows and doors regularly to increase air circulation and help disperse moisture. If you notice moisture build-up on your windows overnight, you’ll need to open the windows in the morning to allow the moist air to escape.
You can then dry the windows with a cloth to help remove this moisture build-up. Doing this in the morning is ideal, as you don’t need the room to be warm during this time. You can then close the window and allow the room to warm up gradually throughout the day. This means you can do this step, even in the deepest depths of winter.
Keep your home warm
Cold spots in your home will attract moisture and create condensation. So make sure your radiators are switched on and that there aren’t any cold spots in the home. If you are trying to save money, try isolating rooms in your home by switching off the radiator and then closing the door. This will allow the room to stay cold without being a trap for moisture.
Move furniture away from walls
When things are pushed against a cold wall, this creates the perfect conditions for moisture build-up to turn into damp and mould. You should also keep furniture away from exterior walls as this can cause cold air to accumulate, leading to an increased risk of damp patches.
Clean your extractor fans
If your extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom are full of fluff, this can interfere with their performance and cause a build-up of damp in the air. To prevent this, make sure you regularly clean the extractor fans to ensure they are working properly. You can use a hoover with a brush attachment to remove dust from your extractor fans.
Introduce moisture-absorbing plants
Certain plants help to tackle moisture build-up by absorbing excess moisture from the air. If you live in a damp property, then spider plants, orchids and philodendrons are all great choices to help keep dampness at bay. They can also be placed in low-light areas, such as the bathroom, and the moisture from the air will help to keep them healthy, so they’re incredibly low maintenance.
By following these steps, you can effectively prevent and protect your home from dampness and the damaging effects it can bring. For more serious cases of damp, it’s always best to seek professional advice from a qualified damp specialist.