Waterproof Render

What is waterproof render?

When to Use Waterproof Render

Building materials manufacturers are always coming up with new ways of combining chemicals and minerals to provide us with superior products to use in construction. Sometimes, the main aim is an easier application, but improved performance and lower maintenance are also top reasons for this. Render is one product that is often improved with each new development. However, the technical terminology that you might come across when looking for a type of render for your property can be confusing. Keep reading to learn more about waterproof render and the other types of render available, the benefits of each, and which might be the best option for your home.

What is Waterproof Render? Rendering Explained

Render refers to a coating that is applied to the external walls of a building. It is a smooth and often white surface that you might see on the exterior of a home. Traditionally, render was a breathable and flexible covering that was made using a combination of water, lime, and an aggregate like sand. However, while this method hasn’t been as popular in the last decade, recently it has started to come back around and is still used for the conservation of period properties. Today, conventional render is made from a blend of sand, cement, and aggregate. That being said, many modern properties are free from cement. Newer render options can sometimes contain products that are designed to help with waterproofing and prevent algae growth on the walls. You can also find renders that are pre-mixed to work with external insulation or to provide a vibrant coloured finish.

Waterproof Render and Damp Proofing

If you are considering using a waterproof render, then it is a good idea to understand the different types of render available to help you make the right choice. Generally, you can choose from three types of render, which are:

Acrylic: Polymer or acrylic materials are used to bind this type of render. It is usually pre-made and can be ordered in tubs. You can also get acrylic render that is pre-coloured with enough colour to get a vibrant finish on the property. While it is designed to be durable, it is not very waterproof and can be prone to attracting algae.

Mineral: A cement-based top layer render that is applied in one coat and includes polymers and lime in the mix. It typically comes as a dry powder and will need to be mixed with water before applying. It is breathable and very suitable for applying on substrates with mineral wood insulations. However, it is not waterproof and actually quite absorbent, so it usually needs to be painted to protect it against rain.

Silicone: A silicone render is the best option to choose if you want a waterproof render for your property. It offers the same colour choice options and flexibility as acrylic render but has an additional layer of waterproofing. It can also be purchased with additional alkaline content to prevent algae and self-cleans through staying dry. It is also easier to apply compared to the alternatives, but on the downside, it is a premium product that tends to be more expensive.

Will Waterproof Render Stop Damp?

If you want to prevent moisture from getting through the external walls and add an additional layer of waterproofing and damp-proofing to your home, then a silicone render is a good choice. Despite costing more compared to other render options, the benefits of preventing damp and algae growth on the external walls mean that eventually it can help you save money in the long-term by preventing issues that are expensive to fix. Some of the main reasons to choose silicone render include:

1 – Self-Colouring: There are around twenty standard colour options on offer, and the colour is embedding into the topcoat. This means that once you have applied the render it does not need to be painted, and the colour will stay throughout its lifetime, so there’s no need for touch-ups.

2 – Water Repellent: Silicone renders have hydrophobic qualities, which make them very resistant to water and dirt. Not only can it prevent damp from entering through the external walls, but it is also self-cleaning. Most homeowners with silicone render say that all the maintenance they need to do is a light wash every few years.

3 – Flexibility: When it is correctly applied and maintained well, silicone render can be expected to last for more than three decades. The main reason for this is that compared with traditional render products, silicone render is much more flexible, allowing it to be better at resisting cracking and accommodating movement.

Waterproof Render and Damp Proofing in London

Penetrating damp can be one of the most problematic damp types to repair. The good news is that there are various products such as waterproof render that you can use to protect your brickwork and masonry, repel moisture, and prevent damp from getting in through the walls. Bricks and mortar and not completely waterproof, and even newer homes that are built with cavity walls and materials that are harder for moisture to penetrate can still be affected by water coming in from outside and leading to penetrating damp issues. Within the brickwork or stonework of a home, damp and excess moisture can cause internal damage leading to further issues like wet rot and black mould.

What Do You Use to Waterproof Render?

While silicone rendering products and other waterproof rendering can be used to protect your home against penetrating damp issues, it’s important to ensure that you get to the root cause of the issue before you apply any waterproofing products to the walls. Before you can go ahead and apply a waterproof render or any other kind of brick waterproofing product, you should ensure that any faulty mortar, cracks, and other building faults are fully repaired. Check that the structural integrity of your walls is in good condition before applying a product such as a waterproof render or waterproof façade cream.

What are the Alternatives to Waterproof Render?

While waterproof or silicone render can be an ideal way to protect your external walls from moisture and create a barrier to keep your home free from damp problems, there may be some instances where it is not suitable for your property. It is always good to know what alternatives are available to waterproof render in order to ensure that you choose the right damp proofing product for you. Some options that you may want to consider when damp proofing the external walls of your home include:

Water Repellent Paint

Painting the exterior walls of your home can serve various purposes, including improving the aesthetics of your home. If your walls have existing rendering and it would be a large job to remove this and apply a silicone or waterproof render, then you may want to consider covering the existing render or brick with a water repellent paint. These paints do not have a creamy consistency like traditional paints and are easy to apply. Once applied and dried, the paint is very highly impermeable and has a high capacity for bridging cracks. This makes it an ideal choice for surfaces that are cracked and treated. It can also be applied easily over old, cracked coatings making it a much cheaper yet very effective option.

Waterproof Façade Creams

Another option to consider is a waterproof façade cream, which can be applied to the external walls if they are exposed brick or unpainted render. One coat of a good product should protect the wall from water penetration for several years. They work by soaking into the stone or bricks. The consistency of the cream allows the active ingredients to penetrate deep into the material, which reduces water absorption and protects the substrate. This is a good option if your external walls are exposed brick and you want to protect them from water penetration without changing their appearance since the protective layer is invisible once applied. Along with this, it can also be used on an existing render product to create a waterproof barrier, without the need to remove or change the existing render. Façade creams for waterproofing also allow the walls to ‘breathe’ which in turn ensures that the damp already existing in the wall can evaporate and the walls dry out.

How Often Should Waterproof Coatings Be Reapplied?

How often you will need to reapply a waterproof coating at your home will depend on the type of product that you choose. A good quality silicone render will usually last for around thirty years before you will need to start considering removing and reapplying it. On the other hand, water repellent or waterproof façade creams will last between two and three decades depending on the weather. Waterproof paint will not usually last as long but is easy to reapply over the existing paintwork.

If you want to avoid penetrating damp problems in your home, then a waterproof render or another type of waterproof barrier coating for the external walls is the best way to do this.


What is cementitious tanking

What is cementitious tanking?

Will Cement Tanking a Cellar Keep Moisture Out?

A basement or cellar space can be very susceptible to damp. This is because moisture can get in through the walls from the ground, and since the basement is below ground level, there is often much more moisture around the external walls from the soil, especially in wet weather. This is why if you have a cellar in your home that has not been damp-proofed, you might notice that things inside the cellar are affected by damp and mould after a while, or the walls in the basement are moist even if you do not have any damp problems in the rest of your home. If you want to be able to use your cellar for more storage or are considering converting it into a liveable area of your home, then cement tanking your cellar can be an ideal way to keep moisture out and prevent any further damp problems.

What is Cementitious Tanking and How Does It Work?

If you are thinking about converting your basement so that you can use it for storage without worrying about damp affecting your belongings or you want to take advantage of the space to use it as a second living room, bedroom, or another room in your home, then protecting it from damp and flooding is one of the most important first steps to take. Even a small damp problem in the cellar can cause issues by damaging your belongings and making the area unpleasant to spend time in. In addition to this, damp problems in your basement or cellar can get much worse as time goes on, leading to structural damage of your property and even negatively impacting the health of yourself and your family. Cement tanking involves applying a waterproof slurry to the basement walls and floors, to prevent moisture from getting through.

What is the Difference Between Waterproofing and Tanking?

When damp proofing a basement there are two main options to consider. These are tanking and waterproof membranes. While both work the same way, there are some considerable differences between the two.

Cementitious Tanking and Damp Proofing

Tanking the basement for damp proofing involves coating the walls, floor, and sometimes the ceiling of the basement with a waterproof slurry to seal it. The material is usually cement-based and is designed to prevent any moisture from entering at all. However, it can be a lot of work depending on the age and state of your basement currently. If you need to waterproof a basement that has been renovated in the past, then you will need to ensure that all plaster and other wall coverings are completely removed before the cement tanking slurry can be applied. You will also need to make any necessary repairs such as repointing, and in some cases, coat the masonry with a salt-neutralising product to ensure that the walls are at peak structural integrity, as this will make sure that the tanking slurry can work as effectively as possible once it has been applied and dried.

What is Cementitious Tanking Slurry?

Applying a cement tanking slurry is usually the best way to deal with low-level cellar and basement damp problems. It can be used on the entirety of the basement walls and floor or used to patch problem areas that may be more prone to damp than others. You can also use cement tanking alongside other damp proofing products such as a cavity membrane drainage system for extra protection. The tanking slurry is applied directly onto the masonry substrate of the walls to create a waterproof barrier that water is not able to penetrate. Once it has dried, you can apply internal finishes such as plaster and paint or wallpaper to finish your habitable area in the cellar.

Cavity Membrane Systems

You can use a cavity membrane system for damp proofing your cellar either together with or instead of cement tanking slurry. This involves installing a high-density studded plastic membrane, which is fitted to the walls and floor of the cellar. It is designed to prevent the water from entering the basement. Instead, there is a cavity left behind the membrane where the water becomes trapped before it is drained down into the floor cavity and away from the basement, often with the help of modular drainage pipes and a sump pump, which may be necessary if there is no natural drainage system present. This type of waterproofing for a cellar is an ideal choice if the area is prone to getting a lot of damp problems or flooding. It can be used on its own or you can apply a cement tanking slurry first before adding the membrane for additional protection against any moisture that might find its way through. It is designed to handle larger amounts of water in comparison to tanking.

Preparation for Cementitious Tanking and Damp Proofing in London

Successfully applying a cement tanking slurry to waterproof your basement will require a lot of preparation. Unlike a cavity membrane drainage system, which can be installed on existing walls and floors, you will need to fully remove any previous coatings on the walls. This includes taking off any existing render, plaster, paper, or paint from the walls and restoring them to the original masonry. Only when this has been done and any necessary repairs have been made can the slurry then be applied to the walls. Applying slurry over existing wall coatings, or onto masonry that has not been suitably repaired, can render it less effective. If you are tanking a cellar, another key part of the preparation process will also involve forming a cove joint in the floor slabs.

Once the prep work has been done, you may find that a key is needed for the slurry to properly bond with the substrate. If your cellar has materials such as waterproof concrete, for example, then this might be a challenge. Before applying the slurry to the masonry substrate, you can improve your results by first applying a bonding slurry coat over the substrate, which is designed to provide a key for the tanking slurry to bond to once applied.

What are the Main Benefits of Using Cementitious Tanking Slurry?

If you have a basement or cellar in your home, then you will need to damp proof it correctly before it can be anything but unused extra space. Without damp proofing, you will struggle to even use your basement as a storage area since anything that you put down into the cellar will be quickly impacted by the high levels of moisture and damp. Because of this, it’s no surprise that there are many benefits of using a cementitious tanking slurry to update your basement.

Easy to Apply

While there’s a lot of preparation involved for some cellars, the good news is that a cementitious tanking slurry is usually an easy product to apply. You may even be able to do it yourself once the basement has been prepared. And if your basement walls are still the original masonry substrate and do not have any other coverings, then all you may need to do is some minor repairs and apply a bonding coat before brushing or rolling the slurry on.

Liveable Space in the Basement

Whether you need more storage space or want to create a new room in your home, damp proofing is the first step to converting your basement into anything but a dark and damp area. Applying a cement slurry will provide a sealant for the walls and floors that allow you to use your basement for storage without worrying about water damage. In addition, you have also now finished the first main step towards converting your basement into a liveable room. Once it’s been damp proofed, you can add things like flooring, wall coverings, and have an electrician install power sockets and lighting.

Protection From Structural Damage

By using a cement waterproofing slurry to damp proof your basement, you can protect your home from the structural damage that can often be caused by damp that has been allowed to go on for too long. After a while, damp can lead to serious issues in the home such as wet rot and mould issues that could even make your home unsafe if not repaired.

Save and Make Money

Once your basement has been damp proofed with a cement slurry, you have a much more usable space, which in turn can add to the value of your home, helping you get more for it in the future if you decide to sell. Along with this, damp proofing the basement also prevents cold air from getting in and seals the basement so that warm air can’t escape, ultimately helping you save on your monthly energy bills. And, a damp-proofed, liveable basement could even be a source of income. People are often willing to pay for storage space, or you could rent it out as a spare room or even a whole apartment depending on the size.

If you want to keep moisture out of your basement and avoid damp problems, then applying cement tanking is a good option to consider.

Sump and pump system and Damp proofing

Sump pump and a water pump

Why Water Leaks are a Huge Problem with Basement Conversions

Water in the basement can cause musty smells, mould, damage to the walls and floors, and damage to your belongings and furniture. It is necessary to get rid of the water, fix any underlying basement problems, and take steps to keep your basement dry if you are in the process of converting it into a liveable room. Keep reading to find out more about some of the common reasons why water leaks occur with basement conversions, what you should do if your basement is wet, and how to handle damp-proofing going forward with your basement conversion.

What to Do If You Find a Leak in the Basement

If you find a leak in the basement or go down into the basement and it is wet, here are some important steps to follow.

1 – Stay Safe

It’s important to put your safety first if there is a water leak in the basement. Ideally, you should stay out of the basement until a professional arrives to advise you on what to do. Do not go into the basement with any electrical devices since this can lead to electrocution or shock. If you need to go into the basement, avoid touching any electrical devices or wet wires, and wear rubber boots to stay dry.

2 – Determine the Source

The next step is to try and determine the source of the water. Is the water leak a one-time problem, or has this been a consistent issue for some time? Water seepage is a problem that is likely to continue occurring if it is not correctly dealt with by damp-proofing the basement. On the other hand, if your cellar has already been damp-proofed then the issue might be due to a plumbing leak, for example.

3 – Remove Standing Water

You can use a wet-dry vacuum to get rid of any standing water if the cellar is only partially flooded. Otherwise, you will need a specialist or plumber to come and pump the water out if there is too much to clear on your own. Once this is done, you should consider drying out the area with a dehumidifier.

4 – Remove Items That Attract Mould

If they are wet for longer than a day or two, some materials such as fabric, wood, paper, and leather are likely to attract mould, so it’s a good idea to remove them from the basement. Some belongings may need to be thrown out depending on the scale of the damage, while others can be dried out and saved.

Reasons for Leaks in the Basement

During a basement conversion or even after the conversion has been completed, there are generally two major causes of water in your basement. These are sub-surface groundwater and surface water. These can both have several different causes including:

Water Coming Up Through the Basement Floor

If water is entering through the basement floor or getting in where the walls of the basement meet the floor, then it is most likely to be caused by a problem with subsurface groundwater. There are several reasons why this might occur.

Hydrostatic Pressure

Hydrostatic pressure is caused by rising groundwater and saturation during wet weather. This leads to pressure on the foundation, which pushes water through cracks and openings in the concrete. It can also sometimes be high enough pressure that it causes the floor and walls of the basement to crack even further.

Surface Water

If you have noticed water that only appears to be near the exterior walls of the foundation, then the problem is more likely to be surface water that is not correctly draining away. This can be caused by a few different problems, including:

Roof leaks: Water that is leaking in through the roof can run down the sides of the walls and cause damage to the ceilings or walls of the basement.

Landscape slope: Your garden and the soil next to your property should be sloping away from the foundation to prevent water from pooling and causing the soil to become saturated.

Overflowing gutters: When gutters are clogged or blocked, water overflowing from them can enter the basement and erode the soil around your property, which can lead to cracks in the foundation.

Leaky basement windows: Debris and leaves can clog the window wells, leading to them filling up with water. This can then leak into the basement through any gaps and cracks around old basement windows.

Short downspouts: The downspouts should be extended at least ten feet away from the house to ensure that the water running off is disposed of far enough away from the foundations.

Settled pavement: Over time, pavement and patios can crack and settle, which can lead to rainwater flowing away from rather than towards the house. You may need to hire a contractor to repair or replace the patio or pavement to ensure that it is sloping away from the property.

Basement Flooding

During wet weather, cellar flooding can be a common problem. Additional water on the surface and underground from heavy rainfall can put more pressure on existing draining systems or get around weaknesses. Some of the main reasons why your basement might be completely flooded include:

Exterior drainage issues: Exterior drainage systems can be prone to clogging with debris and other issues. If the drainage system was not installed correctly or fails due to issues such as a blockage, then the basement might flood, particularly during heavy rainfall.

Sump pump problems: If your drainage system has a sump pump that fails due to a mechanical problem or isn’t able to keep up with the drainage needs, this can lead to flooding of the basement.

Appliance or plumbing failure: Burst or damaged pipes, failed hot water tanks, or cracks in a washing machine hose can lead to major flooding in the basement and other areas of the home.

How Does a Basement Sump Pump System Work?

Even if you’re doing everything right with your cellar conversion when it comes to damp-proofing and drainage, you might still need a sump pump to deal with excess water in the basement. You may need a sump pump if your cellar has flooded in the past, if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, or if you live in a flat or low-lying area. Most sump pumps last around ten years, so if you already have one that is quite old, it might be worth getting another. Finally, get a sump pump system installed if you have anything in your basement that you want to protect like furniture or carpets.

Sump and Pump System and Damp Proofing

A sump pump is a small pump that is installed in the lowest part of the cellar to keep the building as dry as possible and to prevent flooding. Water enters the pump through a special drainage system, or it will simply travel naturally through soil. Sump pumps are usually kept in a sump pit, where it will pump any water it collects out of the pit and away from the home.

What is a Sump Pump System – Types of Sump and Pump System and Damp Proofing in London

Centrifugal pumps are the most popular option for homes. When the motor is switched on, the turning of an impeller uses centrifugal force to push any water towards the pipe sides. A void is then created and water rushes in from the pit to fill the space. Another option is a submersible pump, which is designed to rest in the water. It is kept in a waterproof space with the pump located at the bottom and the outgoing pipe at the top. These pumps come with a debris filter to prevent other materials from building up and clogging the pump.

Since water and electricity are not a good combination, you will need to bear in mind that sump pumps tend to use a standard household electrical current and need a grounded outlet. Since the sump pump is almost always located near water, you will need a ground fault circuit interrupter on the outlet to prevent the risk of electrocution.

What is the Difference Between a Sump Pump and a Water Pump?

Water pumps or drainage pumps are usually used for only draining clean water. Because of this, they deal with smaller particle sizes compared to a sump pump. A water pump can be used to drain water or fluids in several different areas. It is important to look at the particle size that the pump can handle if you are selecting a sump pump or a water pump.

Is a Well Pump and Sump Pump the Same Thing?

A well pump and a sump pump both work in the same way by removing wastewater from the sump pit or well. This is usually located out of the building. However, while these two pumps have similar components, they are different as they are used for different purposes.

When converting a basement, avoiding damp and flooding is one of the major things to consider. The best way to do this is with a drainage system and sump pump to divert water away.

Cavity membrane and Damp proofing

What is a cavity membrane

What is a Cavity Membrane?

If your home has had problems with damp in the cellar or basement, then you will already likely know how annoying it is to have a space in your home that you’re unable to use. Even worse, having damp in the home can also cause health issues for people living in the property. The good news is that damp does not have to put you off from utilising that unused space and adding extra rooms and value to the home. A cavity drain membrane system is the most ideal way to ensure damp proofing for a damp cellar, keeping your new room dry and safe for decades. Before converting your cellar into a liveable space, keep reading to find out more about this damp proofing system and why it might be an ideal choice for your property.

Cavity Membrane and Damp Proofing

Cavity membrane drainage systems are suited for using in cellars, basements, or vaults. The main purpose of such a system is for damp proofing, and a membrane made from high-density Polyethylene is typically used, which is installed on the floors, walls, and sometimes the ceilings of the basement. In many cases, it can also include a specific drainage channel that is installed to divert water towards a sump chamber. It will also usually include a pump that pumps that water outside and away from the building.

What is a Cavity Membrane and How Does it Work?

Cavity membrane drainage allows water in at the back of the membrane. From here, it is then diverted to where it should go. This is different to tanking or structural water proofing, which completely blocks any moisture from reaching the walls. The cavity membrane system can either be directly plastered onto or dry lined. This should be decided prior to starting the installation. In a situation where no natural drainage is available, a sump chamber and pump will be installed to direct the water away from the building towards a suitable area, such as an outdoor drain. There are two types of Type C waterproofing membranes: wall membranes and floor membranes. There are different types of each one to choose from based on your needs. Floor membranes usually have larger stud profiles.

Cavity Membrane and Damp Proofing in London

In the UK, many people live in properties with some degree of damp. Damp issues can make it impossible to use your basement as storage, as it will only cause damage to your belongings. And before you can convert your basement into a liveable room, damp will need to be dealt with to ensure that the walls stay dry for years to come. Otherwise, damp can damage your cellar conversion by causing issues with the internal décor such as crumbling plaster, flaking paint, curling wallpaper, and rotting skirting boards. It can also change the entire atmosphere of the space from somewhere that is cosy and inviting to somewhere that’s unsightly, uninviting, and seems dirty. If the damp issue isn’t dealt with before converting the basement, it can lead to serious problems down the line.

Why Do You Need a Basement Waterproofing Membrane?

There are several problems related to having damp internal walls or a damp basement. If you convert your cellar without having damp proofing carried out, the damp will make the whole area feel less comfortable. It can cause damage to the furnishings and decorations, and lead to an unpleasant and musty damp smell. Along with this, damp will also make your basement less energy efficient, which can lead to you paying more on your monthly expenses overall. There are also health risks linked to having damp in the home, especially for people who are young, elderly, or have respiratory conditions such as asthma.

How Do You Install a Cavity Wall Membrane?

Cavity drainage membranes are a popular method for waterproofing a basement. They work through internally lining a basement to divert any water into a drainage system when it enters the basement structure. The British Standard for waterproofing classifies Cavity Drainage Membranes as Type C waterproofing. The first element of setting up a cavity drainage system is to provide drainage that is accessible and maintainable. This can be done through Delta Perimeter Drainage Channels or with a modular drainage system. Cavity drainage systems shouldn’t be connected to a combined sewer, as this will create a higher risk of sewer surcharge and nasty smells.

What is a Drainage Membrane? Preparing the Area

Before a cavity drainage membrane can be installed in the cellar, any new concrete should be pre-treated using an anti-lime treatment that will prevent limescale from forming in the new drainage system.

What is Type C Waterproofing?

Type C waterproofing is designed to provide a structure with drained protection, or cavity membrane drainage systems. They are a popular option for damp proofing existing cellars and basements and a popular option for installing in new homes with a basement. The reason why drained protection is needed is that earth-retaining walls are subjected to hydrostatic pressure, which occurs when external water pressure is exerted on the structure. While some primary resistance will be provided by external basement walls, any structural weaknesses may cause water to get into the property and lead to floods and other destruction. Type C drained protection ensures that any cellars, basements, and other structures located below-ground are protected if water ingress occurs. It involves using a specially-designed cavity membrane to cover floors and walls, along with the installation of a drainage system designed to channel and redirect water entering the property. As a result of this, any items in the basement will not be affected if water gets in.

When To Use a Cavity Wall Waterproofing System

In most instances, a cavity wall waterproofing system will be used for refurbishment projects in existing properties like a renovation or conversion of the basement. They are also often used in the construction of new build properties. In some instances, you may also need to think about using combined damp protection. This will usually be recommended if there are risks that are considered to be high, or if the potential damage caused by the cavity membrane system failing is a lot. If this is the case for your property, then you can also use type A protection, which involves external or internal tanking, or structurally integral, which is known as type B protection, alongside your type C drained protection.

What are the Benefits of Cavity Membrane Drainage Systems?

There are various benefits of using a cavity membrane drainage system for damp proofing in your property. These are:

No External Changes Needed

Unlike some other types of waterproofing systems such as tanking, type C cavity membrane waterproofing systems do not require any external changes to be made to the structure of your property. This allows you to get a high level of water ingress and damp protection without the need for a lot of building work and labour. It’s also typically a cheaper option compared to other damp proofing types.

Reliable Protection

This waterproofing system type is designed to provide protection for your property that is reliable and long-term. It protects your belongings and home from damp problems and water ingress for many years.

Protect Your Property From Structural Damage

A cavity drain membrane system provide an option to safely deal with any water that may have entered a building. With this controlled drainage system, the water can be easily removed, and pressure is prevented from building up against the structure of the internal walls. Since there is an air gap left between the wall and the membrane, this allows the structure and materials to breathe, which encourages drying out after being subjected to water ingress.

Can Be Used on Any Property

You can use a cavity membrane waterproofing system on both new builds and for refurbishing older properties. This type of waterproofing can be used for more peace of mind with new properties that are built on land that is susceptible to flooding. For older houses, a cavity membrane waterproofing system provides a reliable and robust waterproofing option for homeowners who want to refurbish a cellar or basement into a space that is usable and liveable.

Who Should Install a Cavity Waterproofing System?

In general, the installation and fitting of a cavity drain waterproofing system is not a task to consider doing on your own. For an installation that is compliant and reliable, you should hire a trained professional with a good knowledge of the complete installation process and the specifications that need to be met. This is because even small mistakes during installing the membrane can lead to weak patches, which can render the entire system inefficient by causing pressure to build up at these weak spots. This increases the risk of flooding and damage to the property.

If you are converting a basement or cellar or building a new cellar or basement in a new property, then damp proofing is one of the most important parts of the process to consider.

Damp Proofing Coal Vaults in London

Damp Proofing Coal Vaults in London

The Benefits of Converting a Basement in London

Getting a basement converted is becoming a more and more popular trend in the UK, especially in London where space is at a premium. With the rising price of property in the UK, more and more homeowners are considering converting their basements into a useable and liveable space rather than upgrading to a larger home. Utilising the space underneath a house has long been a popular option in other countries such as Canada and the US, and now there is a bigger move to convert basements in the UK as homeowners realise how much it can benefit them. Here are some of the main benefits of converting your basement in your London home.

Ideal for City Living

While there are different ways to add space to your home, any homeowner is aware that building into the back garden is often the only option if you want to build an extension on a house. This can often be a very restrictive option that might not always be possible if you are living in a city like London, where space is at a premium and outdoor spaces are often small. Some houses in London don’t even have a garden and you may be lucky to have a small back yard. Because of this, a basement conversion in London is the perfect option for anybody who doesn’t want to give up the small amount of precious outdoor space that they have.

Utilise the Space

Having a basement conversion carried out can be an ideal way to add a surprisingly large additional useable space to your home. Right now, if your basement has not been damp proofed, you may not even be able to use it effectively for storage, which can lead to a huge amount of space going wasted underneath your home. Many basements span the entire ground floor of the property, so when it comes to the ways that you can use it, the opportunities are endless. Some people use a basement for additional storage, while for others it becomes an ideal home office space. Or, you could turn your basement into an additional living room, bedroom, games room, or even a home cinema – the choice is yours.

Make Money

When you consider the price of properties in London, the benefits of getting your basement converted become even clearer. According to experts, getting a basement conversion in the UK capital could potentially increase the value of your home by up to a massive thirty percent. Along with this, you could even make money from your converted basement if you don’t want to sell your house. Depending on the size of your basement, you could turn it into a bedroom with an en-suite bathroom or even an entire apartment with its own entrance that you could rent out to a lodger or offer as tourist accommodation in London.

Improve Energy Efficiency

After having a basement conversion carried out, you will notice that your home is more energy efficient overall. This is because you will need to damp proof and seal the foundations of your home in order to ensure that the new room in your basement is not at risk of damp and flooding. Along with keeping moisture out of the basement, this treatment will also prevent cold air from getting in, which can make a massive difference to the temperature control in your home and make it easier for you to heat your home in the winter without the central heating system working quite as hard. Properties with a basement tend to have fewer external walls that are directly exposed, and getting your basement converted will mean that you need to invest in improved floor and wall insulation.

Space for Your Growing Family

With the current prices of homes in the UK – and London in particular – it’s no surprise that more and more homeowners are looking for new ways to improve the space in their existing property rather than purchasing a new one. Additional space might be necessary if you are thinking of extending your family, but buying a new home might not be in your budget right now. Along with that, buying and moving into a new property can be an extremely stressful process. A basement conversion can give you an entire new floor that you can use for living and storage space, providing you with the extra room you need for an expanding family in the home that you currently live in.

Protect Your Belongings

If you have a lot of belongings and want somewhere to store them, then you might have considered a basement conversion. While there are lots of options for storing items including self-storage units, these can get expensive over time. If all you want to use the basement for is storage, then you will only need to damp-proof it. Once it is damp-proofed, you can put whatever you like in there and it should be well protected. Despite the amount of space that is often available in many basements, if the space has not been damp-proofed or converted into a suitable storage area then you might find that after just a few days or weeks in there, your items have gotten damp and there will be a high risk of mould.

Avoid Structural Issues

The preparation work that goes into getting your basement ready to be converted to a useable room or storage area in your home can also help to protect your property from structural issues. Many homeowners are aware of and prioritise structural issues on the ground floor or the higher floors of the house, but overlook the basement. However, since the basement is so close to the foundation of the property, it’s not uncommon that this is where a lot of structural issues and other problems start. By converting your basement, you can seal the foundations and add reinforcement that will prevent issues from developing in your property over time. Damp-proofing the basement can also be effective at helping to prevent issues like rising damp in the future.

Damp Proofing Coal Vaults – Preparing for a Basement Conversion

Whether you want to convert a large basement into a living space or have a small coal vault that you’d like to be able to use for additional storage, there are several ways that you can do this. The two most popular ways to damp proof your basement or coal vault are to either apply a waterproofing slurry or tanking product or have a cavity membrane system installed.

Damp Proofing Coal Vaults in London With Tanking Slurry

Tanking is a process that involves applying a waterproof slurry to the walls of the basement or coal vault. The purpose of this is to seal the walls and floor and prevent any moisture from entering. It is typically the best option if you have low-level damp problems in the space. However, it can be a big job to carry out as there is a lot of preparation work involved. Firstly, you will need to make sure that all coatings that are currently on the walls such as existing rendering, plaster, paint, wallpaper, and more are completely removed and that it is stripped back to the original masonry substrate. You may also need to prepare the masonry for the slurry to be applied beforehand by repairing any cracks and holes in the bricks, repointing, and using a salt-neutralising product. Without the right preparation, there is a higher risk of damage once the slurry has been applied as the water pressure can build up and cause issues if the walls are not strong enough and in good enough condition to withstand it.

London Coal Vault Conversion – Damp Proofing With Cavity Membrane System

Another option to consider when it comes to damp proofing your basement or coal vault conversion is to use a cavity drain membrane system. A high-density studded plastic membrane is applied to the basement floor and walls, and in some cases the ceiling. Unlike the slurry, which is applied directly to the wall substrate, this option allows for a cavity to be left behind the membrane that ultimately allows any water that does get in through the walls to be drained away to the cavity underneath the floor membrane, where it eventually drains away completely from the basement and outside away from the foundations via a drainage system.

You may also need to have a sump pump installed to aid with this. If your basement or coal vault has severe damp problems or is prone to flooding issues, this might be a better option for you compared to tanking. Along with this, having a cavity drain membrane system installed requires less preparation work beforehand. This system is designed to withstand larger amounts of moisture, so will work better if your basement is prone to damp.

If you have a basement that currently serves as a place to gather dust and cobwebs, then you’re missing out on a lot of space that could be used in your home. In London where space is at a premium, there are lots of great reasons to get a basement conversion.

Rising damp specialists in Battersea and Wandsworth

Rising damp specialists in Battersea and Wandsworth

Damp issues in a property are something that every homeowner wants to avoid. Damp is caused by moisture that penetrates the walls and can lead to wet patches that over time can develop into more serious problems like mould, structural issues, and wet rot in the timber. Rising damp is one of the most serious types of damp to deal with in a property. It is usually a sign that there is some kind of problem with the damp proof course, a waterproof membrane that runs along the length and width of the internal walls to prevent moisture from getting into the walls and causing damp issues in the home.

What is Rising Damp?

Rising damp refers to a type of damp that occurs when water rises upwards in the walls from the ground beneath. This is usually a result of a failure or a breaching of the damp proof course since the main aim of the damp proof course is to prevent moisture from getting through. It is often more common in older properties that may have been built before adding a damp proof course was mandatory, especially if there is no damp proof course present. Older properties that have had the same damp proof course since when they were built may also be at a higher risk of rising damp since over time, the membrane can become less effective at repelling moisture and may deteriorate or become damaged with age. Capillary action, where water is sucked upwards through tiny holes in the wall materials, causes the rising damp to occur.

What Rising Damp Looks Like

Often, one of the first visual signs of rising damp in a property is yellow or brown patches that appear on the ground floor walls. Due to where the moisture is getting in, you will usually notice these appearing just above the skirting boards. The woodwork of the skirting boards and potentially around the edges of your floorboards might also be affected by the rising damp, and you might notice that it feels damp to the touch or that the woodwork is rotting in places. Rising damp is usually characterised by the height that it rises to. If you’ve noticed damp on your walls that is higher than around 1.2m, it’s probably another type of damp. This is because due to the nature of the rising damp, it inevitably reaches a point where gravity will not allow it to rise any further. If you have vinyl wallpaper or washable paint on your walls, you may notice higher-up salt deposits in the walls, which are caused by the moisture washing the salts out of the brick.

Why You Need Rising Damp Specialists Battersea

If you suspect that you might have rising damp in your Battersea home, and have noticed signs of damp on the ground floor on the lower walls, then it’s a good idea to get a damp specialist to come and look at your property. This is because rising damp is often one of the most commonly misdiagnosed types of damp and it’s not unusual for other types of damp such as penetrating damp to appear in the same areas. This could lead you to believe that you have rising damp and end up wasting money paying for it to be repaired when it’s an entirely different problem if you do not have it confirmed by a specialist. Other types of damp such as damp caused by condensation or penetrating damp which involves moisture getting into the walls from the outside are not affected in any way by the damp proof course. Since work on the damp proof course is not cheap, it’s important to make sure that you actually have rising damp in your home before you pay for any repairs or replacements to be carried out.

What Do Rising Damp Specialists Wandsworth Look For?

If you have noticed signs of damp on your lower ground floor walls, then a damp specialist can help you determine if there is a problem with your damp proof course or if you are dealing with another type of damp that is going to need a different type of treatment.

Firstly, the specialist will check to ensure that there is a damp proof course present. If there is no damp proof course, then it is highly likely that the damp in your home is in fact rising damp since without the water resistant membrane, there is nothing to stop the moisture from the ground getting into your internal walls and travelling upwards. If your property has a damp proof course, the issue might be down to damage or deterioration because of age.

You can easily check your property for a damp proof course yourself; there will usually be a visible line at around six inches higher than ground level on the bricks on the exterior of your property. A damp specialist will look out for any signs that the damp proof course has been damaged or has become ineffective over time, which will prevent it from keeping the moisture out as it should. Finally, they will also check for any signs that the damp proof course has been bridged or breached in any way.

This is a common cause of rising damp and involves something allowing the moisture to get in over the damp proof course, providing a ‘bridge’. Some common issues include higher ground on the exterior of your property such as a patio area that comes up to higher than your damp proof course, debris build-up causing a blockage in the cavity wall area, or structures like sheds or storage units that are kept outside the property alongside the exterior wall and are higher than the damp proof course. In most cases, removing these obstructions will stop the rising damp and prevent further damp from occurring.

If you live in a semi-detached or terraced property, the damp specialist may also want to speak to your neighbours about their damp proof course. This is because if your neighbours have a damp proof course installed on an adjoining wall that is higher up than yours, this can also bridge your damp proof course and provide the moisture with a way in.

How is Rising Damp Treated?

Before you can determine the best way to treat any rising damp in your home, it is first important to figure out the exact cause. Your damp specialist will carry out the full inspection of the property and damp proof course mentioned above in order to determine whether it’s a failure or a bridge of the damp proof course that is to blame, and to check that there is a damp proof course present at all. Once the main cause of the damp has been determined, there are several treatment options that might work best. In the case of when the damp proof course has been bridged, removing the bridge is usually the most effective course of action. How much work this is likely to be will depend on the type of bridge and where it is located. An exception to this is if your damp proof course has been bridged by a neighbour’s damp proof course being installed higher up. In this case, you will usually need to have a new damp proof course put into your property at the same level.

If there is no damp proof course present at your property, or the current damp proof course has failed over time and is no longer effective at preventing rising damp, then you will usually need to have a new damp proof course installed by a professional. While this might sound like an impossible job if your house is already constructed, the good news is that professionals have several options available to them for installing a damp proof course in an existing property.

This is a job that you should always have done by an experienced professional; avoid attempting to DIY since even small mistakes during the installation can lead to serious problems with your damp proof course down the line and might even cause the rising damp to come back.

To install a new damp proof course, most professionals will use a water-repellent chemical that is injected into your property’s bricks at about six inches above ground level, or at the same level as your neighbour’s damp proof course if that is the main issue for the rising damp problems.

Treating the Interior Effects of Rising Damp

Once a specialist has removed a bridge or installed a new damp proof course in your property, you should be able to reasonably expect that any rising damp issues will not return or get worse. You may need to do some work on the interior of your property to deal with the effects of the problem including mould treatments, replastering, or using damp-proofing undercoating before repainting or re-wallpapering the effected walls.

If you have noticed signs of damp on the ground floor near the skirting boards, it could be an indication of rising damp. Get in touch with a specialist who can help you determine the next best course of action to deal with the problem.

Rising damp specialists in Chelsea and Fulham

Rising damp specialists in Chelsea and Fulham

The mere thought of having damp in the home can be enough to send shivers down your spine as a homeowner, especially if you suspect that you might be dealing with rising damp. Rising damp can be one of the most problematic types of damp in the home and is caused by moisture that rises up through the walls due to water collecting in the ground underneath or next to the walls. It can happen to almost any wall including walls that are constructed from bricks, blocks, or stone. It happens as a result of capillary action, where water is sucked up through tiny holes in the wall’s construction materials, which leads to water travelling upwards through the wall until it is pulled back down by gravity. Because of this, the moisture will usually only occur on the ground floor of a property and will usually stop at around 1.2m high. However, you may notice some effects of rising damp higher up on the walls, including salt deposits, especially if your wall is covered in a non-breathable covering like vinyl wallpaper or washable paint.

Signs You Need Rising Damp Specialists in Chelsea

There are some common signs to look out for in your Chelsea home that could indicate a problem with rising damp. One of the most typical signs to keep your eye out for is a ‘tide line’ of discoloured brown or yellow staining of the plaster occurring on the ground floor, on the lower area of the walls just above the skirting boards. Rising damp can also have an effect on your skirting board woodwork, and you may notice that it feels damp to the touch or even that there are visual signs of rotting. The damp and moisture in the wall can cause salt deposits to be washed out of the bricks and into the plaster, which you may notice higher up than the damp itself, depending on the type of wall coverings that you use. After some time, rising damp can also lead to mould developing on the walls, which appears as black spots.

Reasons to Hire Rising Damp Specialists Fulham

If you have noticed any of the signs of rising damp in your Chelsea or Fulham home, then it’s important that they do not go ignored. This is because rising damp in the property is often a sign of a bigger problem with your damp proof course. The damp proof course is a water-resistant layer that is installed at ground level and spans the width and length of your property’s walls. Its main purpose is to prevent moisture from the ground reaching the walls and causing rising damp. Because of this, any issues with rising damp in the home are almost always an indication that something has gone wrong with the damp proof course, and this is a problem that will need to be repaired by a professional.

Rising damp often means that rather than being drained away from your property, the moisture is being drained towards it – and this isn’t going to go away on its own until the damp proof course problems have been dealt with. Along with being an unsightly problem for your home, the potential health issues that rising damp can cause are another reason why you should never ignore it. Spores from the mould that rising damp can cause over time can lead to various health issues including respiratory problems, which can be very dangerous, especially for people in the home who already suffer from allergies or asthma.

What Causes Rising Damp?

Rising damp problems are almost always a result of issues with the property’s damp proof course. This could include no damp proof course being present, which might be an issue if you have an older property that was built before a damp proof course in new properties became a mandatory building regulation in the early 1900s. Thankfully, this is quite a rare issue since most properties in the UK have had a damp proof course installed regardless of their age. However, if your property’s damp proof course was installed a long time ago, then general wear, tear, and deterioration over time may be causing it to not work as effectively as it should.

When the damp proof course begins to lose its water-resistant properties, this can make it easier for the moisture to travel upwards and through the damp proof course into the walls, causing rising damp. However, ‘bridging’ of the damp proof course is the most common reason why rising damp occurs in properties. The good news is that this does not indicate that there is an issue with the damp proof course itself. In fact, the damp proof course may be working perfectly and doing its job effectively, however, something is creating a ‘bridge’ for the moisture to get over and above the damp proof course where it will penetrate the walls and cause rising damp.

This can be caused by several things including structures or objects close to the external walls, debris blockages inside the cavity walls, or even if your neighbour’s damp proof course on an adjoining wall is not installed at the same height as yours.

How to Be Sure You’re Dealing With Rising Damp

Since rising damp is a commonly misdiagnosed damp issue in homes, it’s important to be sure that this is the issue you are dealing with if you have noticed some of the common signs. While rising damp will only occur on the ground floor of a property and will not usually exceed more than 1.2m in height, it can be easy to mistake penetrating damp or damp from condensation as rising damp if it occurs in the same place. Because of this, it’s best to have your property inspected by a professional who can check the damp proof course to determine whether it is rising damp or another type of damp that you are dealing with.

How to Determine What’s Causing Rising Damp

Rising damp is almost always due to an issue with the damp proof course, but the exact cause might not always be obvious to an untrained eye. Because of this, the best course of action is to have a damp proof specialist inspect your property to get to the bottom of the cause, and make sure that it is actually rising damp that you have noticed.

The first thing that they will do is inspect the damp proof course to first check that there is one present at the property and secondly to inspect it for any kind of failure or ineffectiveness. The specialist will also look for any signs that the damp proof course has been breached or bridged, allowing moisture to get over it or around it. If you are not sure whether or not there is a damp proof course at your property, this is usually something that you can easily check yourself.

You should see a visible line on the exterior of your property that is usually located around six inches above the ground level. It is also worth asking your neighbours about their damp proof course since even if yours is working and functioning as it should, rising damp could be getting in from an adjoining property if your neighbours do not have a damp proof course, their damp proof course has failed, or if the damp proof course in the next property is installed higher up than yours is. This allows the moisture to travel around your home’s damp proof course and leads to rising damp.

Treatments Available for Rising Damp

How you decide to treat the rising damp in your home will depend on what has caused it. Simply dealing with the effects of rising damp such as wet patches on the wall or musty smells might hide the issue for a while but it is only likely to return if you don’t get to the root of the problem. It’s always best to hire a damp specialist to deal with the underlying cause of the rising damp before you carry out any cosmetic work to hide the effects of it indoors. Repointing, applying damp proofing undercoat to the walls, or repainting might mask the issue for a while, but it is only going to get worse and reappear over time if your damp proof course has failed or if it is bridged. Over the long term, this is only going to mean more work and more money spent.

When rising damp is caused by a bridge to the damp proof course such as a blockage in the cavity wall or high outdoor ground that is allowing moisture to get over the damp proof course, removing the source of the bridge is usually the best course of action. If your damp proof course has failed, or there is no damp proof course present, a new one will be installed. This is done by injecting moisture-repellent chemicals into the bricks.

Rising damp can be a serious issue in your home that can lead to various problems if left unchecked. If you suspect that your property might have rising damp, contact a specialist as soon as possible.

London houses

Damp Proofing

London housesAt times, your home may show some signs of dampness. This is a serious problem that you should get worried about and repair with Damp Proofing London. Dampness in your building will encourage the growth of moulds a condition that is not good for the inhabitants of the house. To humans, mould infestation affects immune and respiratory systems. This is the side effects of animals. Worse is the eventual damage of your entire building that lowers its value.

When you notice this kind of infestation in your building, you need to take quick measures to curb the problem. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are very important to prevent further damages. All these can be addressed well by a specialist who in most cases is a damp proofing company.

In London, Damp is mostly caused by condensationpenetrating damp and also rising damp. The companies are therefore very important for the various benefits. These include

It prevents moisture vapour and related salts that cause contamination in the structure and within causing serious structural problems

Damp prevention prolongs the lifespan of the structures. This is done so by the fact that only the natural evaporation of dampness in the building will take place

They restore damp issues very quickly and easily. This saves a lot of structures from being degraded by this problem

The damp companies in London are certified and they offer guaranteed services that last for as long as 30 years or more.

Environmental and structural factors

Dampness in most cases is caused by structural and environmental factors. If a house is built in a floodplain, e.g. those in West London, there is a need for an effective basement tanking or damp coursing because the lower floors reach the water table. For instance, structures found in south London like the Victorian properties were built based on the antique standards other than today’s thus making them vulnerable to the rising and penetrating damp. Insensitive modifications on these structures have intensified condensation issues.

Weather patterns in Britain are constantly changing with wetter, milder winters and hotter summers. Additionally, torrential rains and floods have become common thus making it necessary for buildings built in the 21st century to revise their damp proofing. This is possible with London Damp Proofing Company which has specialized and experienced staff in conservation damp proofing. The company will also recommend a treatment plan that always pays attention to your property’s heritage.

Damp treatment

The method to use in damp proofing depends on the cause of dampness. Structures experiencing condensation can best be treated by insulation, providing better ventilation and more effective heating. On the other hand, penetrating damp can be remedied by application of water-repellent coatings on the property’s external walls while rising damp can best be treated using a more effective damp proof course.

There are times when damp problems get to a complicated stage especially when different causes converge to cause more damage. The best thing to do in such a case is to contact an expert like London Damp Proofing Ltd which will fully diagnose and cure all damp problems with a 30-year guarantee of their treatment products.

What happens next?

Call London Damp Specialists on 020 7458 4864.

Alternatively, you can book a survey online by completing your details below.

Once you have submitted the form, one of our surveyors will be in touch with you to discuss your problems within 24 hours.

Your free, no obligation damp survey will typically only take between 15 to 30 minutes.

30 year guarantee We also offer a 10 year insurance backed guarantee.

Free damp survey No obligation survey with detailed reports and quotations

Experienced & qualified Team qualified to industry standards (CSRT & CSSW)

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London Damp Specialists

How to Remove Damp Smells from your House

Tips for removing damp smells

ReplasteringA house with rising damp can be unpleasant to live in as well as cause sickness.

Several things can cause a damp smell in the house but mostly mildews are the main reason. The trick is to know how to remove damp smells. The mixture of darkness, moisture, and lack of air circulation in the house leads to the growth of moulds and mildews. They release foul gasses that attach themselves in the furniture as well as fabrics all around, this is why we are going to tell you how to remove damp smells.

Is damp smell in your house making your life unbearable? Below are some ways on how to remove damp smells:

Tip #1:

You first locate where the damp smell is coming from. Once you have located the source, try to remove it if it is possible since it can be a piece of fabric that has fallen on the floorboards and it contains moulds. Clean the affected area with clean water and bleach. Don’t forget to open all the windows, cupboards and, closets to let in cool fresh air, at times all it takes to remove the musty smell is a clean circulation of air.

Tip #2:

Lemon is a natural dampness remover that gives fresh air. You can boil the peels of lemon and use the lemon water to give the lemony fragrance around the house by placing the water where the musty smell is located. You can use a fan can circulate the air or else you can use a sprayer to spray around the house.

Tip #3:

Placing a plate or a box filled with baking powder in the places affected it helps to absorb the foul smell of moulds. Place the box for 24 hours. This process should be repeated after several months. A cat litter is also used to remove the bad smell, place the cat litter where you store old clothes and furniture or in the attics and let it stay there for at least two weeks before replacing it again.

Tip #4:

If the damp smell is coming from the fabric try using diluted white vinegar or soak the fabric using baking powder. 1 cup of either baking powder or white vinegar is enough to wash a normal load of damp clothes. If a fabric is bleachable then you can use any type of bleach to remove the musty smell. White vinegar, bleach, and baking soda can also be used to clean foul smell in refrigerators, ovens and other appliances that contain mildews; it can also be used to clean shoes and carpets.

Tip #5:

If the smell is coming from the walls try using a washcloth and mix the water with the baking powder to scrub off the moulds will help to absorb the bad smell. Prevent the growth of moulds by replacing all broken leakages. Clean the floor thoroughly with a damp cloth and a bleach to make sure all the dust and humidity is gone this will ensure there won’t be any growth of moulds and mildews,


With the above steps, you have an idea on how to remove any damp smell in your house once it starts, just remember to keep your house well ventilated, and clean all year round to avoid a lot of work.

Nobody likes dealing with any kind of damp issues in their home, and rising damp is a very serious type of damp issue that will need to be dealt with by a professional. Rising damp is caused by moisture penetrating from the ground into your internal walls. It typically appears on the ground floor of your home and rises up to around a metre above your skirting boards. Rising damp will not usually appear any higher than this, so if you’ve noticed damp that is only reaching a certain point on the ground floor of your property, then it’s a definite sign that you might have rising damp.

Does Rising Damp Smell? Signs to Look Out For

There are a few signs to look out for if you are checking for rising damp within your home. Some signs might be obvious, such as discolouration on the walls on your ground floor, signs of mould developing due to the damp, or wet rot on the skirting boards or around the edges of the floorboards. Since rising damp only appears on the ground floor and will usually not go any higher than around 1.2m, it’s usually quite easy to distinguish between rising damp and the signs of other types of damp such as penetrating damp or condensation damp. Check your skirting boards; if they feel damp to the touch or are showing any visible signs of rotting, this can also be an indication that there is rising damp in your property. You may also see fluffy, white deposits in the wall plaster that have been caused by salts washed out of the bricks by the damp and into the plaster work. Black spots on the wall that are caused by mould might also appear depending on how long the rising damp issue has been going on for.

What Does Rising Damp Smell Like?

Rising damp might not always be obvious visually. However, a moist and musty smell in your home could be an indication that damp is present, including rising damp. A musty smell in the home is often one of the most common early signs of rising damp, even if you can’t yet see any visual issues. However, bear in mind that all kinds of damp have this musty smell that you will notice in your home, so it might not always be easy to determine whether it is rising damp or another kind of damp such as penetrating damp that is causing it. If you are in doubt, the best thing to do is contact a damp professional who can inspect your home for signs of rising damp and other types of damp to determine what the root issue is and where the damp is occurring. Misdiagnosing rising damp in a property can be quite common, which is why it is a good idea to have a reputable damp specialist carry out an inspection and correctly identify the type of damp that is present in your property.

What Causes Rising Damp Smell?

Issues with rising damp in the home are almost always due to problems with the damp proof course (DPC). This might happen because there is no damp proof course present, which might be the case with older homes that were built before DPCs were added as standard. In some cases, it might be because over time, the DPC has become worn and less effective, which is allowing moisture to get through into your internal walls from the ground. In most cases, however, rising damp occurs due to an object, structure, or debris that is close to, attached to, or even inside the cavity of your internal walls, allowing water to get in above the damp proof course. For example, gardening work might lead to an area of ground next to the property that comes up higher than the damp proof course that moisture will travel over to get into the walls. Or, debris blockages inside the cavity wall that have reached above the level of the DPC can allow moisture to access the walls above it. This is known as ‘bridging’ the DPC, as the object, structure or blockage will provide a bridge for the moisture to travel over the damp proof course. Thankfully, this can usually be rectified by simply removing whatever is causing the bridge, leaving the moisture with nowhere to go.

Why You Need a Damp Proof Course

The DPC at your home has been a mandatory requirement for all properties in the UK built after the early 1900s. It provides a water-resistant barrier that spans the length and width of all the walls in your home. Its main purpose is to prevent moisture from the ground from getting inside the walls and causing rising damp. Damp proof courses should be installed at around six inches from the ground level, according to building regulations and standards. There are various different types of damp proof courses available for properties today. Plastic damp proof courses are the most popular for the construction of new homes. On the other hand, damp proof courses that are injected into the brick in the form of chemicals are a common option for existing properties that need to have a damp proof course installed or are in need of a full DPC replacement due to age and wear. There are also some less common options to considering including pore blocking salt mortar, a cement-based mortar that is injected into the walls, and osmotic water repellence, where wires are embedded in the walls.

How is Rising Damp Treated?

Like any kind of damp problem that you might find in your home, the only way to get rid of it and prevent it from coming back in the future is to get to the root of the problem. Before you do anything about the discolouration or spots on your wall, it’s important to hire a damp proof specialist who can deal with the main issue that is causing the rising damp such as deterioration or bridging of the DPC. Painting over the signs of damp and getting rid of the damp smell should only be done once you have repaired the main cause of the issue, as otherwise, the damp is only going to return and you will face the same problems over and over again, likely worse each time.

What kind of treatment a damp specialist will recommend for your home if you have rising damp will depend on the root cause. In instances where the rising damp has been caused by bridging of the DPC, it may only be necessary to remove the object, structure, or blockage that has caused the bridging, without any extra work needed on the DPC itself. However, in cases where the bridge has been caused by a neighbour with an adjoining wall having a higher DPC than yours, for example, you may need to have a new DPC installed at your property higher up to match it and prevent any damp from getting through.

If there are no signs of bridging and your property has a damp proof course, then rising damp has likely been caused by the DPC deteriorating over time and working less effectively. If your home is quite old and the DPC has been in place since it was built, then this is the likely cause as over time, like anything, your DPC can be subject to wear and tear. In this case, you can have the DPC replaced by a damp specialist, who will inject chemical waterproofing substances into the brick. The same treatment might also be required if your property is very old and does not have a damp proof course installed.

Why Do You Need a Damp Specialist for Rising Damp?

Since rising damp is a potentially serious problem for your home and also one of the most commonly misdiagnosed damp issues, it’s important to work with a damp specialist who can help you make sure that you are actually dealing with rising damp. This is especially true if you have only noticed a musty damp smell and haven’t seen any physical signs of rising damp since the damp smell can occur with penetrating damp and damp from condensation.

Penetrating damp on the ground floor of your property is a common issue that can easily be mistaken for rising damp. Since the damp proof course is only for the purpose of preventing rising damp, it doesn’t have an impact on the development of penetrating damp and cannot prevent it. The last thing that you want is to do is spend a lot of time and money having your DPC repaired or replaced only to find that it wasn’t the issue in the first place. A good damp proof specialist can carry out a full inspection of your property and damp proof course to determine what kind of damp you are dealing with and how to best treat it.

If you have noticed a moist and musty smell in your home, then it might be a sign of rising damp, especially if accompanied by visual signs of damp on the ground floor.

What happens next?

Call London Damp Specialists on 020 7458 4864.

Alternatively, you can book a survey online by completing your details below.

Once you have submitted the form, one of our surveyors will be in touch with you to discuss your problems within 24 hours.

Your free, no obligation damp survey will typically only take between 15 to 30 minutes.

30 year guarantee We also offer a 10 year insurance backed guarantee.

Free damp survey No obligation survey with detailed reports and quotations

Experienced & qualified Team qualified to industry standards (CSRT & CSSW)

Fully insured Public liability limit of indemnity £5million

Federation of Master Builders
Trust Mark
Registered Fairtrades
Certified Health and Safety Assessment Scheme

Request a free survey


Dampness Types

Dampness Types

Rising Damp

MouldDampness is an ever present risk in London buildings. Rising damp usually happens in old homes and occurs when the water from the ground rises into and through the capillaries of bricks and mortar of buildings. Over time, a musty smell will develop as more plaster is exposed to water. How high the water rises depends on the type of plaster used and the rate of evaporation.

What you see on buildings walls when rising damp happens is due to the contents present in the ground water, such as soluble salts, chlorides, nitrates, and sulphates. When the ground water rises through the capillaries, the contents will follow along. However, the water would evaporate, leaving those salt contents behind. When rising damp occurs often, this allows more water to enter and then leave more of their salts behind, becoming even more concentrated over time. Furthermore, since chlorides and nitrates are hygroscopic, meaning that they can absorb moisture from the surrounding, a greater salt concentration will attract a greater amount of moisture. This can be worsened if the weather in your area is often humid. And blocking the dampness with decorations is not a solution as they can be contaminated by the salts too.

Penetration damp

Penetration dampness occurs when your external walls let in moisture. The moisture then penetrates into the inner walls. It can be responsible for cracking and peeling off of paint as well as the growth of mould and mildew. It is important to understand that unless you deal with the problem, water will continuously seep into the walls causing dampness that will in-turn cause the structure of your home to rot.


Condensation is also known to cause dampness. If you have leaking pipes or poor ventilation, you are likely to get condensation dampness. If the skirting boards in your house are decaying, the walls are staining and discolouring the paint is peeling and the timber floor is rotting, there is a very good chance you have rising dampness.

How to deal with dampness

Dealing with dampness is not rocket science. You simply need to identify and address the root cause. If it is leaking pipes and old gutters, you need to replace them. This will help dry and help you ascertain that the problem will not recur. Nonetheless, if this is not your forte, you can hire an expert. the process which is called damp proofing solves the dampness problem once and for all.

There are loads of individuals and firms that provide tanking services. Understand that not all are credible. Before hiring an expert, enquire about credentials and level of experience. Do also make a point of talking to some of their previous clients.

What happens next?

Call London Damp Specialists on 020 7458 4864.

Alternatively, you can book a survey online by completing your details below.

Once you have submitted the form, one of our surveyors will be in touch with you to discuss your problems within 24 hours.

Your free, no obligation damp survey will typically only take between 15 to 30 minutes.

30 year guarantee We also offer a 10 year insurance backed guarantee.

Free damp survey No obligation survey with detailed reports and quotations

Experienced & qualified Team qualified to industry standards (CSRT & CSSW)

Fully insured Public liability limit of indemnity £5million

Federation of Master Builders
Trust Mark
Registered Fairtrades
Certified Health and Safety Assessment Scheme

Request a free survey