A damp proof course is a crucial part of protecting your home from the damage caused by groundwater rising up the wall and the different associated problems that can develop because of it. Most buildings have one, but this doesn’t always guarantee a damp free home as they can fail and some older buildings were constructed without one. So just what is a damp proof course (DPC) and how does it work?
Beating rising damp
The purpose of damp proofing is to stop a problem called rising damp. Rising damp happens when water from the ground transmits up through the bricks and mortar of a property due to something called a capillary action. This is a little like the action of a sponge, where water fills the spaces between the material.
Rising damp is a natural occurrence, and in many cases, natural evaporation will deal with this water before it causes a problem. But when there is a high amount of water over a shorter period of time or something causes the ground level to alter, then rising damp can become a problem. Normally it reaches no higher than around 1.2 metres and salts carried with the damp deposit in the masonry and plaster and attract moisture from the atmosphere, making the wall even wetter.
Signs of rising damp
But how do you spot if you have a problem with rising damp. There are quite a few signs that can help you spot a problem with rising damp and if you suspect you have one, then get in touch with a damp proof expert such as Tapco HomeDry who will find the cause and solution.
Tide marks and stains
A tide mark often appears when damp is rising up a wall and there can be some bubbly plaster due to the salt contamination. If you see these marks at the base of your walls, above the skirting board, then this is a clear sign of rising damp. The maximum damp can rise by capillary action up the wall is 1.5 metres so damp above this height isn’t rising damp.
Peeling wallpaper and decaying skirting boards
If your wallpaper is peeling on the lower sections of your walls and becoming discoloured or stained, this is often a sign of a damp problem. Likewise, skirting boards can show signs of decay with rotting timber and flaking paint.
What is an injection damp proof course?
An injection damp proof course is a treatment that can be used in domestic and commercial properties to stop rising damp. It is used to stop damp rising up your walls and protecting your property from a number of associated conditions such as wet rot, dry rot and woodworm infestations as well as the damage caused by the damp itself.
Chemical damp proof course
This is installed by drilling a pattern of holes in a chosen mortar joint, clearing the holes of dust and injecting a Silane/Siloxane cream damp proof course solution at the approved rates to form a new protection against rising damp.
Assessing damp proof course problems
If you spot any of the problems it is important to get in touch with a damp proof specialist, such as ourselves, Tapco HomeDry and have the areas surveyed. You can also look to see if you have a damp proof course already, as this can indicate if there is a problem. Damp proof courses started to be commonly added to homes in the late 1800’s so look for tell-tale signs such as a line in the base of the brickwork just above the ground – this is usually your DPC.
If you have a problem with damp, are worried about the potential issues or think you don’t have a damp proof course on your property, give us a call or use our online appointment booking system. We will provide your with a thorough survey, detailed report and a floor plan showing where the work needed and what is required.