Basement Cellar Damp Proofing

What are the Likely Causes of Damp in a Cellar?

In the UK, the average home will usually deal with a large amount of wet weather throughout the year, which ultimately increases the risk of damp problems. Due to the high amounts of rain that we get, you are probably not surprised to hear that damp is a common problem in many British properties as a result. If your home has a cellar or basement, the risk of damp is even higher since not only do homes with cellars tend to be older, but there is often also poor ventilation in this area of the home. Damp and other damp-related issues such as mould can appear anywhere in your cellar, but it’s most likely to show up on the internal walls. Damp in a cellar or basement can be the result of several different issues including condensation from the inside, moisture getting through from the outside, ineffective drainage, leaks, a bridged or broken damp proof course and more. Since the cellar or basement is often the coolest area of the property, this makes them particularly at risk of damp.

When Might You Need Basement Damp Proofing?

There are several situations in your home that might increase the risk of damp in the basement. Basement or cellar damp proofing might be needed in the cases of:

Poor Grading

Grading issues can often lead to rain or groundwater finding its way into the basement. The ground above your home’s foundation should be sloped away from the property rather than towards it, to avoid this problem. Water that is draining away in the wrong direction due to poor grading will eventually accumulate around the foundation, where it can get inside.

Poor Ventilation:

Condensation can form quickly and end up leading to damp in a cellar or basement, especially if the basement is used for things such as washing and drying clothes, which will generate a lot of moisture. To ensure that your cellar can be made use of effectively without the risk of damp caused by condensation, adequate ventilation is crucial.

Downspout and Gutter Issues:

Your gutters and downspouts are designed to direct water away from your home’s foundation. If they’re not functioning effectively or are broken, the rainwater might be directed towards your home’s foundation instead, where it can eventually get into the basement and lead to damp problems over time.

Cracks in the Foundation:

Cracks in the foundation of your home can quickly lead to damp in the cellar or basement since the water will find its way through them. In some cases, cracks in the foundation can be due to water gathering on the foundation.

Interior Water Leaks:

An interior water leak should be one of the first things to check for if you’re investigating the need for damp proofing in your basement. There are many potential reasons for a water leak into your cellar or basement including in the bathroom, kitchen appliances, broken pipes and more. If you are noticing damp patches in your basement or cellar that are localised to one area and tend to be located in areas where there is a water appliance or feature on the other side, this could be due to a leak.

Possible Health Problems Due to No Cellar Damp Proofing:

Even when not using the basement or cellar as a main room in your home, it’s important to understand that the risk of having a damp cellar to your health. When it is left untreated over time, damp in the basement will only get worse, which can lead to the development of more serious issues in the home such as mould. Damp and mould in the cellar area could quickly begin to spread to other areas of the property, and their presence in your home can lead to respiratory problems and even cause asthma.

Will a Dehumidifier Work in a Damp Basement or Damp Cellar?

If you want to reduce the risk of dampness in your cellar or basement, you might be considering using a dehumidifier in the room. However, before you invest in one, it’s important to make sure that you first determine the root cause of the problem. A dehumidifier might be an effective and simple way to prevent damp issues in your cellar if the main cause of the damp is condensation. If you regularly use your cellar for washing or drying clothing, for example, adding a dehumidifier for additional ventilation can be useful. However, this solution may not be quite as effective if the damp problems are caused by something external such as broken gutters or cracks in the foundation.

Damp Cellar Solutions to Consider:

There are several options to consider when it comes to damp proofing your cellar or basement to ensure that dampness does not occur or get worse in the future. Some of the main things to consider when it comes to basement or cellar damp proofing include:

Repair Issues:

The first step is to check your basement for the sign of any issues that might be leading to a damp problem. Ineffective guttering, cracks in the foundation, or poor grading that is leading to water draining towards the foundations of your home rather than away from them will all need to be repaired as quickly as possible in order to prevent damp issues in your home from getting worse. Even if you treat the damp present in your cellar, it’s likely to keep returning if these issues are left unchecked.

Ventilation:

Adding adequate ventilation to the cellar or basement is an important step in making sure that any damp caused by condensation is prevented. When there are activities going on in the basement that generate warm and moist air, this air will be directed towards the cooler surfaces, which are usually the walls and ceilings, where damp will form. Since basements and cellars do not typically have windows, the walls are often the only place for warm air to go. Good ventilation systems will remove the moisture from the air and prevent damp. You can do this by adding vents to the cellar or using extractor fans.

Pipe Insulation:

Insulating any pipes that have the potential to leak into your basement is also a good way to prevent damp and other issues like burst pipes and water damage. Insulating any pipes that are located in your cellar or nearby areas in your home will reduce the risk of pipes freezing over, which can increase their likelihood of breaking and bursting. In addition, insulation will help to keep the pipes at the correct temperature, which will reduce issues with the flow of water in your home.

Damp-Proofing Treatments for Cellar Waterproofing:

In some cases, cellars and basements might be converted into a main room in the home. If you are planning to decorate your basement and utilize your basement as much as possible, it’s important to consider how you are going to damp proof the basement before starting. If you’re going to decorate, consider using moisture-resistant undercoats and paints to improve the damp proofing of the basement and make it harder for moisture to cling to the walls.

Why Work With a Damp Specialist?

Damp in the basement or cellar can be the result of several issues in the home from condensation to general living activities in a basement that you use as the main room in your home. Since damp is often the result of issues in the home that are in need of repair as quickly as possible, a damp proof specialist can help you determine the root causes of any damp issues that you are experiencing and make sure that the problem is dealt with correctly so that it does not worsen over time or reoccur in the future.

Working with a damp specialist, especially before carrying out major renovation work on your cellar or basement to turn it into a functional room in the home, can be a wise investment since they will be able to help you save money by making you aware of any hidden damp issues that you may have otherwise missed on your own. Understanding where the main damp issues are in your cellar and what is causing them will help you prioritise the work that needs to be done during renovations and avoid serious damp issues from causing issues in the room or even in the rest of your home in the future.

Is a Cellar Damp Inspection Worth It?

Whether you are buying a new property with a cellar or basement or own a property with a cellar that you want to convert into a room, a damp inspection is a good way to find out more about the issues and their root causes. The report from a damp inspection can help you determine how much work needs to be done, what it’s likely to cost, and any work that might be necessary in the future.

Basements and cellars are often some of the coolest rooms in the home, which can make them a high risk of damp issues.

Damp on chimney breast

Damp on chimney breast

What Can Cause Damp Patches on a Chimney Breast?

Whether you have a traditional log burning fire or your fireplace is decorative only, it’s never a good sign when you begin to see damp patches and staining appearing on the chimney breast in your home. While it might be tempting to simply paint over the damp or use it as an excuse to wallpaper a new feature wall in the room, the unfortunate truth is that damp in this area is unlikely to go away on its own and will probably come back in the future to ruin all your hard work. Figuring out the root cause and treating it as quickly as possible is important for dealing with damp issues on a chimney breast.

What are the Common Causes of a Damp Patch on Chimney Breast?

There are several common causes of a damp patch on your chimney breast, including condensation forming on the inside of the chimney, rain water or other sources of external moisture getting inside the chimney, or hygroscopic salts, which draw moisture into the walls.

Reasons for the Damp on Chimney Breast:

If you’ve noticed damp patches on your chimney breast, it could be due to one of the following reasons:

1.     Rain Water:

If rain water or other sources of moisture from outdoors are finding their way inside, this can lead to the signs of penetrating damp on the chimney breast. Whether your chimney is still in use or has been sealed up, leaks can be a common cause of moisture damage. There are several sources where moisture may be able to leak into your chimney including from the top of the chimney is not protected with a cowl or cap, and through cracks inside the chimney, which become more common in older homes. In addition, damage to other parts of the house can sometimes lead to damp patches appearing on the chimney breast due to moisture getting through.

2.     Condensation:

If there are no signs of leaks or gaps where moisture could penetrate the walls in your property, the damp on your chimney breast may be due to condensation. Whether or not your chimney is in use, it will require ventilation. A lack of ventilation tends to cause more damp problems when the chimney is not in use, however. When a chimney has been sealed up, the airflow will be restricted – which can lead to the formation of condensation. If you have a working fire and the chimney is in use, water vapour will be an unavoidable product of burning your fire. When everything is working correctly, the water vapour will pass easily through the flue. However, if the chimney is not working effectively, this could lead to water vapour condensing on the walls too soon, causing damp.

3.     Hygroscopic Salt:

If you are able to rule out penetrating damp and condensation, and your chimney damp is still persisting, hygroscopic salt could be the root cause of this issue in your home. This salt is a byproduct or burning fossil fuels like gas or coal and it absorbs minerals since they have been formed underground. If you have a coal or gas fire in your home, these salts are released into your chimney where they can build up. Since these salts attract moisture, they can lead to damp forming in your chimney breast.

Damp Chimney Breast in Bedroom or Living Room – How to Damp Proof

Whether you are experiencing damp problems in your chimney for the first time, have dealt with this issue in the past or simply want to avoid damp issues from forming in the chimney in the future, the good news is that there are several things that you can do to damp proof your chimney breast in the living room or bedroom. Some of the main things that you can do in your home to help avoid damp from forming in the chimney include:

1.     Regular Chimney Cleaning:

Whether or not your chimney is in use, regular sweeping and cleaning will help to ensure that any blockages are removed before they can lead to damp problems. In addition, professional chimney cleaners are able to check your chimney for any signs of damage or cracks that could become a risk factor for penetrating damp in the future.

2.     Burn Seasoned Wood:

If you have a log burner at home, avoid using wood with a high moisture content since this means that more water vapour will be released into the chimney. Dry, seasoned wood will release the least moisture content and is one of the easiest ways to keep your chimney dry and damp-free.

3.     Chimney Liner:

If you do not already have a chimney liner, it’s worth considering having this done. A chimney liner will protect your chimney against damage and improve flue efficiency. If your chimney is lined but it has been a long time since it was installed, check the liner to ensure that it is still in good condition. Damage to the liner can lead to damp problems, so it might be worth having it replaced.

Damp on Chimney Breast After Rain

If you only notice damp on your chimney breast after there has been wet weather, there’s a high chance that this is a result of penetrating damp caused by moisture getting through from the outside. There are a few ways to check for the root cause of a damp patch on your chimney breast, including:

1.     Check the Roof:

It’s worth taking a quick look at your roof to see if it could be contributing to the damp problems in your chimney breast. Go outside and look at your roof from the exterior to see if there are any visible issues around the chimney including problems with the flashing, tiles, or mortar.

2.     Check the Top of Your Chimney:

If it’s safe to do so, check the top of your chimney or have a professional do it for you. Make sure that there is no damage to the existing caps since this could be the cause of water being let in. If the caps are damaged, you will need to either replace or repair them to fix the damp issue. A completely sealed chimney is also a high risk of condensation becoming trapped inside.

3.     Check the Loft:

If you are able to access your loft or attic space, do so and check your chimney stack. If there is damp this high up into the chimney, there’s a high chance that rainwater getting through into the chimney is to blame. Once you figure this out, it’s easier to determine how to best treat the damp issue.

How to Treat Damp Patch on Chimney Breast in Bedroom

How you treat damp patches on your chimney breast in the bedroom or living room will depend on the root cause of the damp issue. You will need to deal with the root cause of the damp before you will be able to treat the damp on the walls and add the necessary protection. The main solutions to each common type of damp on a chimney breast include:

1.     Penetrating Damp:

If the damp is caused by rain and outside moisture getting into your chimney, you will need a professional to access the roof and carry out any necessary repairs. Broken chimney pots, for example, will let water in and require a cap to prevent this. Even if the chimney pot is not damaged, a broken pot may need to be capped to prevent moisture from entering. However, you should avoid completely sealing off the chimney since this will worsen the airflow, increasing the risk of damp from condensation.

2.     Chimney and Roof Defects:

If the damp issue is a result of roof or chimney defects, you will need to have any holes or cracks that have formed repaired. You can do this yourself with the right safety equipment, but if you’re not comfortable doing so, a roofer can help.

3.     Condensation:

Condensation damp is a result of hot air that has built up inside the chimney and hits the colder surfaces of the chimney breast wall. There are several things that you can do to prevent condensation damp from forming in your chimney breast, including good air circulation and ventilation inside the room. You should also make sure that there is nothing blocking your chimney since poor ventilation inside the chimney can cause a build-up of hot air, which leads to internal condensation and eventually causes damp. Fitting a cap or vent to your chimney pot is the best way to ensure that hot air inside the chimney is able to easily escape while preventing moisture and rain from getting in from the outside.

4.     Hygroscopic Salts:

Finally, if this is the reason behind the damp problems on your chimney breast, burning a different material wherever possible is an easy and effective solution. However, if this is not possible, you can treat the walls of your chimney breast and stack with a salt-inhibitor and damp proofing.

If you’ve noticed damp patches on your chimney breast, it’s likely to be caused by one of these common issues.

 

How to damp proof a house

How to damp proof a house

How to Damp Proof an Older House

Due to the wet climate that we get in the UK, damp is often a common issue faced by British homeowners. However, problems that are caused by excess moisture in the home can lead to some serious structural problems. Older homes are often at a higher risk of developing damp issues since they were not typically built with the same damp-proofing measures as the newer homes are today. If you are looking at purchasing or already own an older property, it’s important to be prepared for the possibility of dealing with damp issues.

Damp Proofing an Older Home – Common Causes of Damp:

Many of the damp problems found in older UK homes are due to condensation and rain penetration. However, there are various problems that often lead to damp in older properties and understanding the potential cause of the problem is the first step towards successfully damp-proofing your home. Some of the most common reasons for damp are:

Leaking Gutters:

Penetrating damp occurs when water makes its way from the exterior and into the interior walls of the home. One of the biggest causes for this is problems with the gutters, which can often be seen in older homes. If your older home still has the same gutters that were installed decades ago, chances are that they are no longer effective for the amount of rainfall that we are getting today. Gutters are designed to direct rainwater away, rather than towards your home – but if they’re not working effectively or have sustained damage, the water will be directed towards and often into your home instead.

Bridged or Broken Damp Proof Course:

The damp proof course is designed to prevent water from entering your foundations. However, when the damp proof course is no longer working effectively, or has been bridged, which occurs when structures provide a ‘bridge’ that the moisture can get over or around, this can lead to rising damp in the home. Rising damp is often the easiest to spot since it occurs on the lower level of the property just above the skirting boards. However, it is often one of the trickiest to fix, and it’s worth having a damp proofing specialist come and inspect your damp proof course to determine the cause of the problem.

Plumbing Leaks:

Leaks in the plumbing can also lead to damp problems in the home. If you’ve noticed localised patches of damp that tend to be quite close to bathroom features or water-based appliances in your home, there’s a high chance that a leak could be behind the issue. Since internal leaks are not always obvious, a leak detection service could be a useful way to find out more about the pipes that are affected, giving you the opportunity to deal with the issue before it gets any worse. Pipe insulation is one of the best ways to prevent damp that is caused by plumbing leaks since it will keep the pipes at a warmer temperature and reduce the risk of them freezing and cracking in colder weather.

Damp Proofing Old Houses – Dealing With Condensation:

Ventilation in older houses is not often the best, and as a result, a lot of damp can occur due to condensation. Condensation occurs when the warm air that we generate from everyday living activities comes into contact with the cooler surfaces of the walls and ceilings. Here it condensates to moisture, which can create damp patches on the walls. Using a dehumidifier, extractor fans, opening windows or installing a ventilation system is key to avoiding this issue.

Damp Proofing in a Terraced House – Solving the Issue:

Since many older houses in the UK are terraced houses, damp issues can often be prevalent in this type of property. The first step to dealing with the issue is to determine the type of damp that you are dealing with in your terraced home. Penetrating damp can often be resolved by paying more attention to home maintenance, particularly when it comes to any cracks or gaps from the exterior to the interior of your home. Replacing any broken gutters may also be necessary to prevent penetrating damp. On the other hand, a rising damp issue in your home will require you to have the damp proof course professionally checked. A specialist will be able to help you determine if the damp proof course will need to be completely replaced or whether it can be repaired, for example, by removing something that has caused it to become bridged. If condensation is the main cause of damp issues in your home, a dehumidifier or improving your ventilation system can help.

What is the Damp Proofing House Cost?

How much you can expect to pay for damp proofing your home will depend on a number of factors including the type of damp that you are dealing with or at the most risk of, where the damp has occurred, and how much damage the damp has caused in your home so far. Penetrating damp is often cheaper to deal with compared to rising damp, while condensation damp could be very cheap to deal with since it can often be prevented by simply improving the ventilation in your home.

Damp Proofing Old Houses – Should I Get a Damp Inspection?

If you are dealing with damp issues in your home, the smell is often one of the first things that you’ll notice. If you notice a musty and distinctive smell, chances are that there’s a damp issue somewhere in your property. Most types of damp are also usually easy to identify with a visual inspection of the area since they will show up as moist patches on the wall and can often lead to mould, which shows up as dark stains. Many damp patches will look yellow or brown, and any wallpaper or paint in the area might be cracked or crinkled. While it’s possible to identify damp on your own, it’s worth working with a damp specialist in an older home since they can help to figure out the root cause of the damp, which may not always be obvious. In addition, they can help you determine any other areas of the home that might be at higher risk of damp in the future, allowing you to carry out preventative work before it becomes a problem.

How to Damp Proof a Stone House:

Many old buildings in the UK have stone walls, which can sometimes be harder to damp proof compared to more modern brick cavity walls. However, there are several things that you can do to damp proof a stone wall in your home, including chemical damp proofing treatments that will be applied by a professional. Bear in mind that penetrating damp can be one of the main issues that a stone wall will have, so it’s important to take the time to inspect the wall for anywhere that moisture could be getting through from the outside, and make sure that your gutters are in good repair and working effectively.

Damp Proofing Internal Walls:

Once you have dealt with the root cause of the damp in your home, you will then be able to deal with the effects of the damp inside. While it can be tempting to simply paint or wallpaper over damp and try and forget it was ever there, the truth is that if the root cause has not been dealt with, most damp problems will continue returning, costing you a lot of money and using up a lot of your time. When you’re sure that the issue causing the damp has been dealt with, you can treat the walls using damp undercoats and other treatments to harden the wall and restore its condition after suffering from damp issues. Depending on the extent of the damage, it might be necessary to strip wallpaper that has been affected and even replaster the walls. In rooms that are likely to be at a higher risk of damp such as the kitchen or bedroom, using a moisture-resistant paint for decorating can be helpful.

Damp-Related Health Issues in Older Homes:

Living in an older home can often mean that you are at a higher risk of health problems that are a direct result of damp. Not only can damp issues smell and look bad, but they can also affect your health in a number of ways, particularly when it comes to respiratory complaints. Damp is linked to several respiratory conditions including asthma and will often worsen the condition in people who already have this health problem. People who are exposed to damp in their homes regularly also have a higher risk of developing certain allergies and respiratory infections, and it can have a negative effect on your immune system. This is just one of the reasons why it’s important to spot and treat damp in the early stages and damp proof your older home to prevent further problems in the future.

Older homes are often at the highest risk of developing damp issues, but the good news is that damp proofing your older home is certainly possible with several options to consider.

Chemical damp proof treatment

Chemical damp proof treatment

How Effective are Chemical Damp Proof Treatments?

Damp is a common issue in UK homes due to the amount of wet weather that we get throughout the year. This is especially true if you live in an older home where the risk of damp is even higher due to the lack of damp-proofing treatments compared to newer homes in the country today. There are several different types of damp that can impact your home including penetrating damp, which involves moisture from the outside making its way to the inside walls of your home, rising damp, which occurs when the damp proof course is not working effectively and water reaches the foundations, and condensation damp, which is caused by a build-up of warm air inside the home that settles and condensates on the cold wall surfaces. If you want to treat or prevent rising damp inside your home, you may be considering the option of a chemical damp proof course. But how effective is chemical damp proofing, and is it a good solution for your home?

What is the Damp Proof Course?

A damp proof course is an important feature for any property. The purpose of the damp proof course is to provide a waterproof feature just about the outside ground level of your property. The aim of this is to prevent moisture from rising from the ground and into your property. It’s normally placed at around 150mm above the outside ground level, which is typically at the mortar joint above the second course of bricks.

Placing a damp proof course in new properties was first made mandatory in London in the 1870s before it quickly became a regulation for all new build properties in the country. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the most common materials used for a damp proof course were typically less porous building materials like slate. Later on, other materials such as bitumen would be used. More recently, new build properties in the UK tend to be installed with a plastic damp proof course, which is usually made of low-density polyethylene. The most recent type of damp proof course to enter the market is a chemical damp proof course, which is not designed to be used during the construction period but is rather one of the best ways to replace or repair an old damp proof course that is no longer working effectively.

Is Chemical Damp Proof Treatment a Good Idea?

If you need to replace or add a new damp proof course to an existing home, a chemical damp proofing treatment can be an ideal option since it is often much easier to install compared to alternatives. This is because the chemical damp proof course is simply injected into the mortar through drilled holes, allowing you to avoid the major structural work to the property that will often be a part of replacing the original damp proof course.

Does It Work?

When installed correctly, chemical damp proof courses can be a very effective option. The damp proof course will be injected into the mortar bed at 100-150mm intervals. The chemical damp proofing treatment is made from silicone, which creates a completely waterproof barrier by filling the pours in the mortar. Once complete, it should create and provide an effective damp proof course that can be expected to last around two decades. In fact, most companies and professionals that install this type of damp proof course will usually offer a guarantee of twenty years since they are confident that the damp proof course will not fail before the end of this period.

When to Use a Damp Proof Chemical Treatment?

A chemical damp proof course will often be installed after rising damp has been discovered in a property. Rising damp is often a sign of a damp proof course that has failed or has been bridged. While the cause of the bridge can be removed and will usually prevent further damp if there are no other issues, a damp proof course that consistently becomes bridged, or if the damp problem persists after the bridge has been removed, this will usually require a damp proof course replacement.

Rising damp is a problem that is usually visible near the ground level of the property, above the skirting boards up to around 1.2m up the wall. At this point, the rising damp will usually stop since the gravity will stop it from climbing up the wall any further. Rising damp often appears like tide marks on the wall, and there may be a white residue present on the internal walls due to hygroscopic salts that have been drawn from the ground and the brickwork.

If you have noticed these issues in your home, there’s a high chance that you could be dealing with a rising damp problem. However, it’s also worth noting that rising damp is often one of the most commonly misdiagnosed types of damp, so it’s worth having your property checked by a damp specialist before taking action to make sure that you have ruled out any other potential causes.

Common Misdiagnoses:

The most common misdiagnoses is usually for penetrating damp or cavity bridging. You will need to have a damp inspection carried out on your property to rule out penetrating damp as a cause. The main aim of this is to try and identify the potential causes for the damp that is appearing internally in your home. It’s also a good idea to examine the outside wall adjacent to the inside damp to look for any obvious defects or damage to the exterior walls. This could include damage, wear, or tear to the bricks and the mortar. You should also look for any signs of damage to the existing render which will be applied to the outside of the property. Look around and above the area to see if there are any defects in the wall that could be allowing water to enter and move down the internal cavity wall. If this is the case, it could then be bridging across and into the property at the areas where the damp is present. If you can rule out these issues, it’s likely that your damp proof course has failed and is in need of replacement.

Does a Chemical DPC Work for Penetrating Damp?

If you have ruled out rising damp and found external defects in the wall, you’ll still need to make sure that the problem is dealt with in order to prevent penetrating damp issues. However, a chemical damp proof course will not be effective in preventing penetrating damp in your home. This is because penetrating damp is more likely to occur above the damp proof course. If it occurs below the damp proof course, it’s likely to be due to a problem with the damp proof course that allows the damp to rise. In this case, you may benefit from replacing your DPC with a chemical alternative while still repairing the external defects that have led to penetrating damp. But for the most part, a chemical damp proof course is designed to deal with rising damp – you will need to consider other solutions if rising damp is not the issue in your home.

Can You Install a Chemical Damp Proof Course Yourself?

You might be wondering if it’s worth having your chemical damp proofing course installed by a professional or whether you can opt for DIY. The truth is that both options can work very well, since the process is actually quite simple, involving drilling holes and injecting the chemical formula into the mortar. You can get DIY kits that come with complete instructions making them a relatively straightforward option to use for people who enjoy DIY.

However, if you feel less confident doing the job yourself or don’t have the tools that will be required to do it effectively, you may want to consider hiring a professional. It’s worth getting quotes from several different local companies and comparing the price, along with comparing the price of doing it yourself. In the case where the overall cost is not very different from getting a DIY kit and the necessary tools to do the job, you might find that you are better off hiring a professional to do the work for you since you can be sure of a quality job. Another benefit of working with a professional when having a chemical damp proof course installed is that most professional companies will guarantee the work, so you can rely on them to come out and fix it if you have an issue. Many will guarantee the job for up to two decades, giving you plenty of time with complete peace of mind. Both hiring a professional and going the DIY route are viable options to consider, and will ultimately depend on your situation, budget, and your level of DIY experience.

Chemical damp proofing is an ideal option to consider if you need to repair or replace your home’s damp proof course. If you are experiencing rising damp, chemical damp proofing is simple to install and involves less hassle compared to alternative methods.

Damp and timber report

How Useful is a Damp and Timber Report?

If you own an older property, the words ‘damp and timber decay’ probably send shudders down your spine. Discovering damp issues in your property or finding out that the woodwork has been seriously damaged by rot or an insect infestation is never good news for any homeowner. There are several options that you might consider to try and restore your home; however, it’s worth thinking twice before turning to the many heavy-duty insecticides, preservatives, or chemical treatments that are available on the market since they do not often come cheap and might not always give you the result that you want. Before spending your money on trying to repair the problem, it’s worth investing in a damp and timber survey to find out exactly why these problems are occurring and put together the best plan of action for dealing with them and preventing them from reoccurring in the future. Ultimately, this could be your best bet at saving money while making sure that your home gets put back to great condition.

What Problems Will a Damp and Timber Survey Find?

A damp and timber survey will look for a range of problems caused by excess moisture or insect infestations in your home. Some of the main issues that it will look for include:

Damp

Damp occurs when moisture infiltrates the walls or ceilings in your home, which can lead to unsightly discoloured patches and, when left unchecked, can cause mould and serious damage to the affected area. Damp may not always be immediately obvious, so a survey can be helpful to make sure that you are made aware of any potential damp issues as early as possible so that you can have them repaired.

Wet Rot

Wet rot is a problem that occurs when damp becomes embedded in timber and woodwork in your home. It can occur in floorboards, joists, and other wooden structures in the property and will only be worsened by poor ventilation. It is most often a localised issue that can be repaired by reducing the levels of moisture. Thankfully, wet rot is perhaps one of the easiest problems to fix since you can dry the wood out with proper ventilation and apply a treatment designed to harden the timber before filling and sanding if needed.

Dry Rot

Dry rot is a more serious problem with the timber in your home that is caused by the serpula lacrymans fungus. It can lead to timber decay and cause serious structural issues in your home which is why this is an issue that is best dealt with as quickly as possible. Since it is not always immediately obvious, a damp and timber survey can help you find any dry rot problems as early as possible before they get even worse and more costly to repair. It happens when the fungus spores settle on the woodwork and drain the moisture from it, which eventually leads to wood that is dry and crumbling. If you have noticed a square-shaped pattern of cracks on wood and timber in your home, this is a huge early tell-tale sign of dry rot.

Insect Infestations

Woodworms, wood beetles, and other insects can often become a problem for the timber in your home, making their home in the woodwork of your property where they will feed off of it and cause havoc. A damp and timber report should also bring up any information about an insect infestation in the woodwork of your home which can help you detect and deal with the problem as early as possible.

When Should You Get a Damp and Timber Survey?

A damp and timber report is a survey that is carried out on your home to check for damp issues and any problems with the timber. The survey will ensure that you are able to get all the information that you need about the structure of your property or a property that you are considering purchasing. It will confirm or deny that the building structure is free from excessive moisture, wood-boring insects or destructive fungi that will lead to wood rot by attacking the timber and woodwork from within.

During the survey, the surveyor will establish whether the property has an existing damp proof course and if so, the type of damp proof course. If there is a damp proof course present, they will inspect it to ensure that it is fault-free and working effectively. They will look for any potential risk factors for a bridged damp proof course in the future such as high ground levels that could lead to bridging and cause damp and decay in the adjacent ground floor walls and timber. They will check the ground floor for any signs of damp or rot including on and underneath the floorboards, timber structures, inside the loft or attic space, and around wooden window frames.

Once the survey has been completed, the surveyor will provide you with a full written report and a sketch plan if needed to outline any areas where problems with damp, rot, infestations, or the damp proof course have been detected. They will also be able to answer any further questions that you might have about their findings along with providing advice and recommendations for future necessary repairs that you will need to make.

There are several reasons why you may be considering having a damp and timber survey carried out. If you live in a home that is often suffering from reoccurring damp problems or own a home that has woodwork issues, this survey can help you get a clearer idea of what is actually going wrong and help you make a more informed decision regarding what to do next.

Is It Worth Getting a Timber Report When Buying a New Home?

If you are planning to purchase a new home, the last thing that you want is to make a massive investment in the property only to discover issues with damp or timber rot. When buying a new home, it is recommended to always have a survey carried out, even if no issues or defects are immediately obvious. Damp and timber rot can be quite deceptive and may not always be obvious to the untrained eye. Wet or dry rot on the floorboards, for example, may not be noticeable at all when you are viewing the home if they are covered by carpets or laminate flooring, and the sellers may not even be aware of this problem within their home.

It’s best to start by having a homebuyer’s survey carried out if you are thinking of purchasing a new property and want to make sure that you are fully informed of any problems with damp or timber decay. A homebuyer’s report is the most common survey option to choose and this will look for any signs of damp, dry rot, wet rot and insect infestations in the home. It is conducted by a chartered surveyor who will be highly trained in detecting these issues and can provide you with advice on the next steps to take. If the surveyor finds serious issues with damp or timber decay within a property, they may recommend that a further damp and timber survey is carried out in order to provide you with further information. However, this may not always be recommended by the surveyor and ultimately it is down to you if you want to have one carried out. If a homebuyer’s report or structural survey has indicated that the property has issues with damp and timber decay, you may decide to invest in a further damp and timber survey to be carried out in order to provide you with more peace of mind and help you determine what to do regarding the property.

How Much Does the Survey and Report Cost?

The cost of having a damp and timber survey carried out on your property or a property that you are planning to purchase in the future can vary based on several factors. The size of the house might impact the cost of the survey since larger houses will typically take longer to inspect. The surveyor may also take the type of issues that are found in the property and the severity of these issues into account when providing you with a final price for the survey. The type of building that is to be surveyed, particularly if it is an unusually constructed building or a listed building, might also impact the price of the survey and report. However, in most cases, the cost of the survey will be significantly less than the average amount that homeowners who do not have a survey carried out when buying a new home will pay in repair costs after getting the keys.

Damp and problems with the timber can lead to serious issues in a property. A damp and timber report is always worth the investment to find out more about exactly what’s happening in your current or potential home, helping you save money on repair costs and get straight to the root of the problem.

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Independent damp specialist

Why Hiring a Damp Specialist is a Smart Investment

If you live in the UK, you know that it’s not exactly the driest country in the world. We get quite a lot of wet weather, even during the summer months, so it’s no surprise to most to hear that the average UK home will typically suffer from damp problems at some point. Issues with damp and mould can be quite common in British properties due to the high levels of rain that we experience throughout the year. Damp can develop for many reasons on your internal walls due to damaged damp-proof courses, condensation, faulty drains and guttering, and more. Whether you own a UK home or are considering buying a new property, there are many reasons why you might consider working with a damp proof specialist.

Independent damp specialist

Why Hire an Independent Damp Surveyor?

Damp can be the result of several issues at home, from condensation from general living activities, to serious damage to the damp-proof course, gutters, or plumbing system. Damp is often the result of issues in the home that will need to be repaired and dealt with as quickly as possible by a damp proof specialist in order to ensure that the problems do not worsen over time and become even more difficult and expensive to repair. If it is left unchecked, damp is a problem that will certainly not go away on its own – in fact, quite the opposite, since it will spread and worsen, leading to more serious issues in the home like mould, which could eventually damage the structure of the property if left for long enough.

Reasons You Might Need a Damp Specialist

There are several reasons why you may need a damp proof specialist to inspect your current property or a property that you are considering purchasing in the future. Some of the main reasons to work with a damp proof specialist include:

Checking the Damp Proof Course

The damp proof course is a waterproof layer that is designed to block moisture from getting through to your walls. Damp proof course problems and faults are some of the biggest causes of rising damp in the home and can lead to serious issues if left unattended. If your damp proof course is not present, or it is no longer working correctly, it will be ineffective in preventing moisture reaching the walls which can quickly lead to rising damp, which appears at the bottom of the walls on the ground floor. Damp that is present at the bottoms of the walls just above your skirting boards is often the biggest sign of an issue with the damp proof course.

Older Homes

If you live in or are considering purchasing an older home, it’s important to be aware that the risk of damp in a property will usually be higher when it is older. Since older properties were built in a way that allowed the materials to breathe, this can often increase the risk of damp as the airflow can also allow moisture from the outside into the home. On the other hand, more modern houses tend to have newer and more effective damp-proofing systems, making the risk of damp lower.

Condensation

Condensation is one of the biggest causes of damp on the internal walls of a property. It occurs when warm air comes into contact with the colder surface, which causes the moisture to evaporate from the air. A damp proof specialist can help with removing and treating any damp issues that have been caused by condensation in the home and advising you on the best methods of preventing the problem in future.

What is Included in a Damp Survey?

A damp survey will look for three main types of damp that are commonly found in homes, which are rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation damp. Understanding these different types of damp and how they differ can help you get a better idea of which one is affecting your property and how to deal with it. The survey will not only determine which type of damp is impacting your home, but also provide you with further information on the severity of the problem and its root cause.

Rising damp is damp that is typically the result of a failure in or a lack of a damp proof course at the property. This type of damp only affects homes that are on the ground floor and looks like damp that is rising up the wall from above the skirting boards. Typically, drainage around the property will need to be improved in order to repair this issue, and a new damp proof course may need to be fitted.

On the other hand, penetrating damp is damp that occurs when water penetrates through the external walls from the outside, where it settles deep into the brickwork. This type of damp will often occur where the external walls are not protected from moisture or if there are cracks and gaps in the wall that allow the moisture through. Most of the time, keeping up with good maintenance of the external walls is required to avoid penetrating damp problems.

Finally, another type of damp that can also lead to problems is condensation damp. This type of damp is different in that it usually comes from moisture that is produced inside the home. From breathing to cooking and showering, there are many daily activities that we all have to do that can produce moisture and warm air, which condensates when it reaches the colder surfaces of the internal walls where it can lead to damp. Good ventilation to remove moisture from the air is essential to preventing this type of damp in your home.

What Can a Damp Expert Find?

A damp expert can be a good investment to make in your home or your potential new property since they can uncover many issues that you may not have realised were present. A damp expert can find various different types of damp in the property even if they are not yet bad enough for you to notice when looking around. Working with a damp expert can also help you find out more about what is causing the damp in your home, providing the information that you need to have the issue repaired as quickly as possible in order to avoid extra costs in the future.

How Can Damp Detectives Help Me Improve My Home?

Working with an independent damp specialist can help you improve your home and avoid issues with damp and mould. There are many ways that a damp expert can help you improve your home, including: providing you with more information about what is causing damp in the home or issues that are likely to lead to damp in the future; and helping you put plans into place to improve the condition of your home, prevent future damp issues, and create a more pleasant living environment.

Could Working with an Independent Damp Specialist Help Me Save Money?

Working with a damp expert can help you save money by making you aware of any hidden damp problems in the home that you were not aware of, which would only worsen over time otherwise. Understanding where the damp problems are in your home and what is causing them as early as possible gives you the chance to determine which repairs need to be made as a matter of priority in order to repair the issue, and what to do to prevent it returning in the future – which could potentially save you thousands in future repair costs.

Do I Need a Damp Inspection When Buying a New Home?

While it’s not required to have a damp inspection when purchasing a new property, it can be a wise idea. Damp is typically an issue that will be searched for and reported on during a home buyer’s survey, and in some cases, the surveyor might recommend that you have an additional damp survey carried out by an independent damp specialist, if the results show that damp is a problem for your property. Having this carried out can have many benefits including helping you save money on repair costs in the future, negotiating a lower price for the property, or even making sure that you are actually investing in the right house for you.

How to Find the Right Damp Specialist Near Me

You can find a good local damp specialist by getting recommendations from property experts such as chartered surveyors, estate agents, conveyancing solicitors or mortgage lenders. You may also want to ask your friends and family for recommendations of damp specialists that they have used in the past and have had a good experience with. Before choosing which specialist to work with, it’s a good idea to spend some time conducting research into their expertise and experience, and get several quotes before you make a final decision.

Damp in the home can be caused by many issues and is not always immediately obvious. A damp specialist can survey your home to find any hidden damp problems to help you prevent them getting worse in the future.

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How to treat wet rot in timber

How to Treat Wet Rot in Timber

Wet rot occurs when timber within a property becomes damp and moist, and can have a range of effects on the building from manageable to major loss of the structural integrity of the home. When caught early on, wet rot can be easier to repair than you might realise. However, if it is left unchecked for a longer period of time, wet rot can cause irreversible damage to the timber in your home and might require that the timber is completely replaced in order to ensure the property’s structural integrity. If you think that you may be dealing with wet rot in your house, it is important for the issue to be inspected and that repair work is carried out as soon as possible in order to ensure that the issue does not get any worse. Any property can suffer from wet rot regardless of whether it is an older property or a new build, and wet rot that is left to get worse over time can often lead to more serious problems such as mould or dry rot.

How to treat wet rot in timber

What is Wet Rot in Timber?

Wet rot is a fungus that attacks unprotected timber in a property after it has become moist or wet. Wherever there are suitable environmental conditions for wet rot, the rot can develop over time which can sometimes result in the breakdown of the structural integrity of the timber that has been affected. The timber decaying fungi can thrive in a range of environments that lead to damp timber such as leaks in the internal plumbing or penetrating damp problems that affect the timber. However, since there are several different species of wet rot, it can often become a problem to the homeowner who may be trying to determine the type of wet rot problem that is occurring in their property.

Wet rot will usually thrive in timber that has a moisture content somewhere between 25-50%. While wet rot can occur from a range of different causes, the most likely causes include rising damp; defective seals on bathroom fixtures such as baths and showers; defective plumbing in sinks and water-based appliances like dishwashers and washing machines; and defective roof coverings, masonry, and rainwater drainage systems like guttering. Wet rot can occur in any area of the property where damp is present and where the moisture has come into contact with the timber for a prolonged period of time. To ensure that the timbers are treated and repaired, or that any new timber that is installed after wet rot is maintained in a dry condition, it’s important to ensure that the root source of the moisture is identified and rectified.

Moisture is the main cause of all rot problems in timber. It is important to keep your property well-maintained and ensure that it is sealed from water and wind in order to reduce the risk of decay and rot developing in the timber. Bear in mind that your property can be affected by wet rot at any level. Some common external defects that can lead to wet rot occurring in your home include:

  • Defects in the masonry pointing or render
  • Defects in the gutters or downpipes
  • Problems in the roof coverings or flashings
  • Blocked or missing air bricks
  • Raised path levels that can lead to a bridge of the damp proof course in your home and cause rising damp
  • Drains that have become damaged or blocked due to debris

Wet rot that occurs in the upper floors and roof of your home is less common compared to wet rot in ground floor timber, due to the fact that ground floor woodwork is more likely to be in closer contact with damp soil areas and has the risk of rising damp. In addition, ground floor woodwork is less likely to be seen compared to upper floor timber. Some of the most common reasons for damp and water ingress in the upper floors of a property include:

  • Slipped roof tiles which can allow water ingress and provide suitable conditions for both wet and dry rot to thrive if not dealt with quickly
  • Wet stains or algae growth below the gutters, which can signify a leak
  • Defective flashing around the chimney, which can result in water being able to enter your property over the long term, which may not appear as water staining on the ceilings or chimney breast for some time
  • Overflow pipes protruding out of the walls in upstairs bathroom floors or central heating systems. It’s important to keep these in good condition and ensure that they are not dripping

Identifying Wet Rot

Wet rot has a specific life cycle. At the beginning, it will develop strands that feed off the woodwork causing the timber to shrink. It will then create a fruiting body which releases spores into the air. The timber will begin to change colour as a result of the presence of wet rot. Typically, the affected timber will appear darker, although it may appear lighter in some cases due to the environmental factors. Timber that has been affected by wet rot will most commonly appear spongy and softer to the touch.

Wet rot timber decay is usually localised to the specific area that has been impacted by the leak or water ingress. In most cases, clear signs of a wet rot problem will be seen on construction timber throughout the property like floorboards, skirting boards and windowsills since the paint will flake and appear damaged.

Another tell-tale sign that you are dealing with wet rot in the timber in your home is a musty smell that will be very obvious around the affected timber. However, one of the biggest issues when it comes to finding and identifying wet rot is that it will often affect timber in your property that is not always visible, such as behind the walls or underneath the flooring.

Is it Wet Rot or Dry Rot?

Understanding the main differences between the two types of timber rot will help you determine the cause of the problem in your home and find the best course of future treatment. While both wet rot and dry rot are caused by excess moisture in the wood, the fungus that affects the wood is different and dry rot is more susceptible to spreading. In fact, once dry rot has taken hold in your home, it’s often much harder to stop the spread compared to wet rot.

Wet Rot Signs

  • Wood that feels spongy and weaker than it should
  • Localised rot in an area that has been affected by a leak or water ingress
  • Wood shrinkage and cracking in the event of advanced decay

Dry Rot Signs

  • Obvious square-shaped cracks that appear along and across the wood
  • Fungus that appears similar to white cotton wool when young and a greyish colour when older
  • Red spore dust caused by the dry rot fruiting bodies
  • Wood that is affected far from the source of damp or water ingress

How to Treat Wet Rot in Timber?

Treating a wet rot issue will be important as soon as possible after suspecting that your property may be suffering from this issue. The sooner you can identify and treat a wet rot issue, the easier it will be to rectify the problem. You should also determine the source of the excess moisture in the wood such as a leak or a damp problem to ensure that this is also repaired to prevent the wet rot from reoccurring.

If you have a rot problem with the timber in your home, it’s a good idea to arrange a damp and timber survey to help you find out more about the root of the problem and identify any other issues with damp and timber decay that might have affected your home. The survey will provide you with all the information that you need on the impact of the moisture content in your home and point you in the right direction when it comes to repairing the problem.

If wet rot is caught in its early stages, you can usually easily treat it by applying a wet rot hardening solution to the wood, which you can get from any good hardware store for a nominal price. The solution is usually brushed onto the wood and left to dry where it will penetrate into the wood and harden it. It is best to do this after allowing the affected wood to air dry for some time to reduce the moisture. You can do this by leaving the room well-ventilated and uncovering any wood that might normally be underneath floor coverings, for example. Once the wet rot hardening treatment has been left to dry, you can then fill and sand the wood if necessary. Be sure that you have dealt with the underlying issue causing the wet rot in the first place, since further leaks or water ingress will only cause the problem to reoccur.

Wet rot is a problem that can impact your home when there is moisture present from damp or a leak. While it can easily be treated when caught early, wet rot that is left to develop over time can cause structural issues in your home.

How to treat dry rot in timber

How to treat dry rot in timber

What Causes Dry Rot in Timber?

Timber rot is an issue that no homeowner will want to deal with, especially when it comes to dry rot. Dry rot is often the hardest issue to deal with when it comes to timber problems and decay since once a dry rot outbreak has begun eating away at the wood, it can be difficult to stop the spread. To make sure that the dry rot problem is completely removed from the home, it is often necessary to get expert knowledge and specialist treatment. In order to resolve a problem with dry rot, it is usually necessary to get a professional in to help you identify the causes of the dry rot and come up with the most appropriate treatments available and how to prevent future outbreaks of dry rot. Wood, which is the food source, along with moisture, both need to be present in a building in order for dry rot to occur.

How to treat dry rot in timber

What is Wet Rot and Dry Rot in Timber?

Wet rot and dry rot are both types of timber decay that can occur in a property and will need to be treated quickly in order to ensure that no further damage occurs. Dry rot is often more problematic and harder to deal with compared to wet rot, since it is harder to get it under control and prevent the spread of the rot which is caused by fungus that attach themselves to and feed on the wood. On the other hand, wet rot is most commonly caused by moisture that has gotten to the timber and in many cases can be reversed with the appropriate steps.

Drying out the wood with appropriate ventilation and keeping the room warm can reverse the effects of wet rot, and the wood can be treated with a hardening product that can restore the wood. However, as wet rot might occur behind walls or beneath the flooring, it has the potential to cause significant damage to the structure of the home since it may not always be caught early enough to treat.

What is Dry Rot in Timber?

Dry rot is caused by a fungus that can cause significant damage to the timber in your home once it enters the property. As with most issues that will affect the structural integrity of the property, early detection and prevention of dry rot is key to repairing the problem and reducing the risk of spreading.

Despite being named dry rot, this problem means that the affected area needs to first be moist in order for the fungus to become established. It was named dry rot in order to make it easier to differentiate between other types of rot that occur in wet wood such as timber that is newly felled. Fungal spores that usually appear as an orange dust will thrive in wood that has a moisture level of around 28-30%. In the right conditions, the fungus will germinate and produce hyphae, which are strands that eventually develop into a mycelium, or fungal body. Once the fungus has established itself in the wood, it only requires a moisture content of over 20% to survive and develop more hyphae that can travel over stone and brick to find more wood and spread throughout the home.

What Causes Dry Rot in Timber?

It is the colonisation of fungus in the wood that causes dry rot or brown rot decay. The Serpula lacrymans fungus is the most common cause of dry rot in UK homes. The decay occurs when the fungus feeds on the timber, taking cellulose, hemicellulose, and water from the wood which leaves a brittle and dry structure. The decay will often cause cracks in the wood that appear in a fine pattern of squares, leaving it a darker or browner colour and making it crumbly. Eventually, if left unchecked, dry rot will cause the wood to crumble into dust which could lead to parts of your home collapsing completely. However, dry rot does not affect any masonry since it does not feed on it but only travels through it to find more timber to feed on. It is important to note that dry rot could be present in the walls of your home for months or even years before you will notice the fungus appearing on the wall surfaces.

Dry rot can occur when the timber in your home has become dampened for any reason. There are two main reasons why this can occur, including moisture that has entered the timber in your home as the result of a leak or damp problem, or when your home is old and does not have timber in the structure that meets modern building standards. Today’s kiln-dried timber has an average moisture content of twenty percent and is compulsory for internal building and construction. In addition, older homes might have clay roof tiles that do not meet the current water permeability building regulation standards and therefore may be less effective at preventing water from outside the home from entering the timber.

Bear in mind that even if a leak or damp problem has since been solved, dry rot that colonised while your timber was damp might still be present. Any damp problem that can affect your house can pose a risk factor for dry rot including penetrating and rising damp issues. If you have dry rot but haven’t noticed a damp problem, this means that there is a damp problem somewhere in your home even if it has not been noticed yet.

How to Treat Dry Rot in Timber

To treat dry rot in timber, it’s important to make sure that any damp issues that have led to it in your home are first solved. Any dry rot treatments that you use will quickly become ineffective if the timber is able to get damp again since this will dilute the treatment you have applied and make it possible for the fungus to colonise again.

There are several things that you can do to treat and repair timber that has been affected by dry rot. If you have dry rot present in your property, use sensor sticks that are specially designed to find the source of the problem and understand how far the rot has spread in your home. If you are certain that the rot has only affected exposed woodwork in your home such as exposed joists or skirtings, you will need to ensure that the affected timber is treated in addition to any masonry that it may be in contact with. If the structure of the timber has been subject to severe damage by the rot, you will usually need to have it replaced, which you can do yourself or with the help of a building professional.

Once you have replaced the timber, bear in mind that the surrounding masonry and timber may have been entered by fungal strands, so it’s a good idea to treat these too even if there are no obvious signs of dry rot. Fungal strands that are small and have not yet had the chance to colonise can often be invisible to the naked eye.

Any visible signs of dry rot in the walls, or if sensor sticks indicate that there is dry rot present within the wall, will require you to strip the plaster off the wall and treat it before replastering.

Dry rot can pass through stone and brick in order to reach other timber structures in your home. Boron powder dissolved in water is the best product to use in order to treat and kill any fungus that is present in masonry in your home. You can brush the solution onto the affected area or spray it on depending on the size of the area and how you prefer to apply it.

How to Fix Dry Rot in Timber

There are a number of products available to fix dry rot in timber. These can be used in cases where the damage is not so severe that the timber will need to be removed and replaced in order to solve the problem. You can get products that are designed to coat the surface of the timber and products that will penetrate into the timber itself. Boron gel is a common solution for fixing dry rot in timber, and comes in different concentrations for whether you are looking to prevent or treat dry rot. It can easily be brushed onto the timber surface.

Boron rods are another option to consider. These are made from highly concentrated borate and inserted into the timber through holes that you will need to drill. You can also insert boron paste into holes that you drill into the timber. Borocol, which is a mixture of boron and glycol, can be used to treat timber that has been affected by dry rot, mould, and even insect infestations at the same time. If you are not sure how to treat dry rot effectively on your own, it’s always best to call an experienced professional.

When it takes hold, dry rot can be a serious problem in your home that can lead to severe problems with the timber and structure of the property.

FAQ:

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How to Fix Rising Damp

No homeowner wants to deal with damp problems in their property, when water affects the walls and leads to wet patches that can ultimately cause mould and further problems like wet rot to the timber and structural issues. Rising damp is one of the most serious damp problems to occur in a home since it is often an indication of a problem with the damp proof course, which is a waterproof layer spanning the width and length of the internal walls to prevent water from getting inside and causing damp in your home.

What is Rising Damp?

Rising damp is a type of damp that occurs when water rises up the walls from the ground below. This is usually caused by an issue with the damp proof course. It can often occur in older homes where a damp proof course is not present, but might become a problem if your damp proof course is faulty or has not been correctly installed. Rising damp occurs due to capillary action, which is where water is sucked upwards through a small opening such as tiny holes in the bricks or stone of the walls.

What Does Rising Damp Look Like?

One tell-tale sign of rising damp is brown or yellowing patches on the ground floor walls, usually above the skirting boards. In some cases, the damp might also affect your skirting board woodwork and these might have signs of damp or rot. While rising damp will only usually rise up to a certain height, some wall coverings like certain paints or vinyl wallpaper can lead to salt deposits from the brick appearing higher up on the walls.

What Does Rising Damp Look Like on Internal Walls?

If you have noticed damp on your internal walls, it’s important to determine if you are actually dealing with rising damp or if another type of damp, like penetrating damp or condensation damp, could be to blame. One of the main signs that it is rising damp that you are dealing with is that the damp will not usually go any higher than 1.2 metres up the wall. It will also only occur on the ground floor, so if you have noticed damp around the skirting boards on the top floors of your property, this is usually down to another issue. If you are not sure if you are dealing with rising damp or another type of damp, a professional can help you determine the cause.

What Causes Rising Damp?

Rising damp is usually caused by an issue with your damp proof course. If you live in a home where there is no damp-proof course present, rising damp is likely to become a problem for you. You can easily check if there is a damp proof course installed on your property; it should be visible on the exterior walls at around six inches from the ground level. However, even if there is a damp proof course present, this does not always mean that it is functioning correctly. A damp-proof course that has become faulty due to wear and tear over time, or was not correctly installed, can lead to rising damp problems.

What Causes Rising Damp in Internal Walls?

A bridging or breach of the damp proof course is one of the most common reasons why rising damp might occur on an internal wall of your home. In this instance, the damp proof course is installed and functioning correctly; however, something has been put in place that has caused the moisture to be able to get over the damp proof course and into the walls of your home. Something attached to your walls like an area of ground next to the home that’s higher up than the damp proof course or a structure that has been installed at a higher level will provide a bridge for the moisture to get over the damp proof course and enter your home. This can also be caused by debris that might be blocking the cavity wall and as a result, giving the moisture a bridge to reach your property on the inside.

How to Treat Rising Damp

Treating rising damp will always involve finding the root of the problem with the damp proof course and rectifying it before you carry out repairs on any damage that has occurred as a result. Although it might be tempting to simply get a damp-proof undercoat and some new paint to paint over the damp so it isn’t noticeable, this should be the last step in the process. Doing the opposite will only mean that you have to repeat the process in the future when the damp problems ultimately return. Rising damp is not an issue that you can expect to go away on its own, which is why it is important to have a professional come and carry out an inspection on your home and your damp proof course to determine which treatment will be best. In some cases, it is simply a matter of removing the blockage or structure that has caused your damp proof course to become bridged, which will remove the access to the moisture.

How to Treat Rising Damp in an Old House

In an older house, rising damp might often be the result of a damp proof course that is not present, or a faulty damp proof course that has deteriorated over time due to age. If there is no damp-proof course present in your older home, you will need to have one installed in order to prevent further damp issues. While it is harder to install a damp proof course in an existing property compared to when buying a new one, the right tradesperson can ensure that a fully-functional damp proof course is installed in your home. In existing properties, this is often done by injecting water-repellent chemicals into the brick.

How to Get Rid of Rising Damp When the Damp Proof Course is Bridged

If bridging of the damp proof course is the reason why you are dealing with rising damp in your home, the good news is that this is often one of the easiest problems to rectify. It will usually involve identifying and removing anything that could have caused the damp proof course to become bridged, such as areas of higher ground or structures that have been installed outside of the home, and removing them or lowering them. Adjusting the structure to ensure that it is no higher than the damp proof course will usually solve the problem.

How to Fix Rising Damp with a New Damp Proof Course

In some cases, a new damp proof course may need to be installed in order to stop and prevent the rising damp from reoccurring in the future. This should always be carried out by a trained professional, since damp proof course errors in installation could lead to further issues in the future. A new damp proof course might be needed in many situations, including if there is no damp-proof course present in your property or if the existing damp proof course is no longer functioning correctly due to age, wear and tear. You may need to have a new damp proof course installed higher in the walls if the damp is due to a bridging of the damp proof course that has been caused by a structure that you cannot remove. If your neighbour’s home has a damp proof course that has been installed higher than yours, this can also lead to rising damp problems in your home and you may need to have a new damp proof course installed higher up to match in order to prevent the problem from continuing.

How to Stop Rising Damp

Stopping rising damp will almost always involve repairing any problems with the damp proof course. When the damp proof course is faulty, bridged or not present, it will continue to allow moisture to enter the walls of your home where it will lead to rising damp, no matter how many damp proofing measures you might take inside. Since the water is often originating at ground level, damp-proofing the sides of the exterior or interior walls is unlikely to solve the problem over the long-term and may only become more expensive for you since this is a job that you will likely need to repeat again in the future as your home experiences ongoing damp problems.

The best way to stop rising damp is to get in touch with a professional who can help you determine the root cause of the issue and the best course of action available for rectifying it. Along with treating the root cause and helping you fix any associated damp damage, a professional can provide you with further advice for damp proof course and property maintenance in the future to ensure that the problem does not return.

Rising damp is most usually caused by a problem with your damp proof course, which is in place to prevent moisture from reaching the internal walls from ground level.

Rising damp

Rising damp

What is Rising Damp?

Nobody likes to know that there are damp issues in their home, and rising damp can often be one of the most problematic. Rising damp is caused by moisture that is present in your walls as a result of water collecting in the ground underneath or next to the walls, where it will rise up through the structure of the wall. It can occur in almost any wall including walls that are made from bricks, stone, or blocks. Capillary action, where the water is sucked through a small opening through tiny holes in the bricks or stone, leads to the water travelling upwards through the wall. The water will usually stop rising at a height where the gravity will counteract this force and stop it. Rising damp will usually only occur on the ground floor of a property and tends to only reach a maximum height of 1.2m. However, the effects of the damp, like salt deposits on the wall, can be seen higher, especially on walls that are covered in non-breathable coverings like certain paints or vinyl wallpaper.

The Signs of Rising Damp

A ‘tide line’ of brown or yellow staining or brown plaster that occurs in the lower area of the room above the skirting boards is a typical sign that you are dealing with rising damp rather than another damp problem in your home. You may also notice that the skirting boards are damp or rotting, and that the damp is affecting your flooring or floorboards. White, fluffy deposits in the plaster on the walls is another common issue, which is caused by salts that the damp has washed out of the bricks and into the plaster. You may also notice black spots caused by mould that appear on the affected area of the wall.

Why You Should Never Ignore Rising Damp Signs?

Rising damp in the home is often an indication of a bigger issue with the damp-proof course, which is a waterproof layer designed to stop this problem from occurring. Rising damp can often mean that there is water which is being drained towards, rather than away from your home where it might not only be affecting the walls but also the foundations and ultimately the structure of your home. Along with being unsightly, another reason why rising damp should never be ignored is that it can also be harmful for your health, particularly if the damp leads to mould problems in the future. The spores can lead to respiratory problems, especially in people living in the home who already suffer from issues like asthma or allergies.

What are the Main Rising Damp Causes?

Rising damp problems will most usually occur as a result of having no damp proof course installed at the home, or where the damp proof course has become faulty due to inadequate installation or age. A damp-proof course is a waterproof layer that is installed in the wall or both walls if you have a cavity wall in your home, which is located around six inches from the outside ground on the exterior walls and under the raised timber or concrete floor on the internal walls. The layer is designed to repel water and prevent damp from occurring in the walls in your home.

In some cases, you can still experience rising damp even if the damp proof course is not damaged and is present. In this case, the damp-proof course might be breached, which means that there is something attached to your walls that has allowed the water to get around the damp proof course and into the walls. This might occur if there is an area of ground located next to the external wall that is higher than the damp proof course or an outside structure that has been installed above it. Rising damp can also be caused by debris that has reached above the level of the damp proof course providing a bridge for the moisture to go over it.

How Can You Be Sure It’s Rising Damp on the Internal Wall?

If you cannot find any problems or breaches of your damp proof course, remember that it might not be rising damp that you are experiencing in your home. One sign that it might not be rising damp that you are dealing with is if the damp reaches heights of more than 1.2m in the wall. In this case, your home might be dealing with other damp issues like penetrating dampness or even condensation damp instead. A damp proofing professional can help you determine which type of damp you are dealing with at home.

How to Find Out What’s Causing Rising Damp

A damp-proof specialist can come to inspect your home and determine the cause of the rising damp, and whether or not it actually is rising damp that you are experiencing. They will first inspect the damp proof course to ensure that it is present and to check for any signs of failure. They will also look for anything that could have potentially bridged or breached the damp proof course to allow the moisture to get around or over it. You can often check that a damp proof course is present by yourself since this will usually be visible outside your property as a line that should be located around six inches above the ground. Bear in mind that even if you have a fully functional damp proof course, your damp problems could be coming in from a neighbouring property. This happens if they do not have a damp proof course or have had a damp proof course installed higher up than yours, which will allow the moisture to travel around your home’s damp proof course.

What Rising Damp Treatment is Available?

As with all damp problems in your home, it’s important to ensure that you don’t deal with the effects of rising damp in the property before you have tackled the root cause. You should first identify the cause of the rising damp before dealing with it and then carrying out any necessary repair work on the effects of the issue.

You should avoid trying to carry out a quick job to get rid of the appearance of damp in your home, such as repointing or painting over the damp. This is because if the root cause of the rising damp has not been dealt with, it is only going to get worse and reappear over time, which will be more expensive in the long-term and mean that you will have to do the job all over again in the future. There are several ways to treat rising damp in your home depending on what the issue is that has led to it.

If the damp has been caused by a blocked cavity wall, you will need to unblock the cavity to get rid of the problem. In a case where your damp proof course has been bridged by high outside ground or similar, you will need to adjust whatever is causing the damp proof course to be bridged to ensure that it does not reach any higher than the damp proof course. You can sometimes do this by digging a trench that is around six inches deep by your house to make sure that your damp proof course is buried in the ground. If you decide to take this route, ensure that water is not able to pool in the trench that you have created since this can lead to further damp problems. If there is no way of removing the object that has breached your damp proof course or the damp proof course is faulty or not present, you may need to install a new one completely. A new damp proof course can be installed above the structure that is breaching it if you cannot remove the structure itself.

How the Damp Proof Course Works

A damp-proof course is a waterproof barrier that will span the length and width of your wall to stop water from the ground rising up through the walls. It should be installed at least six inches above ground level according to building regulations and standards. Damp proof courses are available in a range of different types from plastic sheet materials to chemical treatments.

The damp proof course is most commonly installed when the house is built, since it is harder to fit in a house that has been completed – although stainless steel sheets can be vibrated into the walls through saw cut slots by a professional. Some other damp proof course options include:

  • Pore blocking salt mortar: A cement-based mortar which is injected into stone walls
  • Water repelling chemicals: A range of gels, pastes or creams that will be injected into any type of wall
  • Osmotic water repellence: This is achieved through embedded wires in the wall

Rising damp can become a serious problem at home. It is mostly an indication of something wrong with the damp proof course, and should always be inspected and treated by a professional as early as possible.

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