Lasting protection against damage caused by moisture ingress

Damp is a major enemy to the integrity of a property or just about any structure, and if left untreated major damage can result.

Sound damp proofing at the point of construction of a building or extension, or remedial damp proofing when moisture issues are detected in an existing structure, is vitally important.

The different kinds of damp

There are basically three kinds of damp that need protecting against or treating if problems occur:

Penetrating damp – where moisture gets into a property through a vulnerability such as a leaking roof, pipe or crack in the brickwork. Penetrating damp usually shows as a stain mark perhaps in a ceiling, on a wall surface or maybe a floor.

Condensation – where air is warmed to such an extent that it can’t ‘hold’ moisture. It shows as moisture on cooler surfaces such as walls or windows and is caused through poor ventilation. This very common in bathrooms and bedrooms.

Rising damp – where moisture rises from the ground and seeps into vertical surfaces such as walls. It usually shows as a tide mark not usually more than a meter from the floor.

Combating and preventing damp

These problems can occur for many different reasons and it’s essential to identify the cause before carrying out any treatment. The treatment needed if a damp-proof course is no longer able to do its job of acting as a barrier to moisture rising from the ground would be very different to damp being caused by leaking underfloor pipe for example.

If you’re building or having a structure such as an extension built, then the builders should include damp proofing measures as part of the construction process; good ventilation, protection against the ravages of weather, and adequate damp course provision should always be a given.  Builders can call on the services of damp proofing and waterproofing specialists in this field as getting this right can be complex.

If you notice damp issues in your existing property then you should seek the services of a local specialist waterproofing services company such as Essex based Ward Damp Proofing.

Before any meaningful work can be undertaken, a proper diagnosis of what’s causing damp should be carried out. Your damp proofing professionals will conduct a damp proofing survey to ascertain where damp is coming from, what type it is, and then formulate a plan to combat it.

Remedial action

The damp proofing steps taken will depend on the type of damp discovered:

Penetrative – finding the source of the water ingress is obviously key; it may not be near the ‘evidence’ such as a stain in the ceiling or wall.

Sometimes water may travel away from the area of the property it entered – for example, it may run down roof joists before emerging in a ceiling maybe some way from the point of entry.

Once the entry point is found, then it’s a case of repairing the damage whether loose roof tiles, damaged brickwork or similar.

Condensation – it’s likely to be a result of poor ventilation; it’s not uncommon for condensation issues to strike when insulation has been added, or inadvertent blocking of ventilation has taken place.

For example, replacing doors and windows may well reduce draughts and heat loss, but they may also prevent warm air from escaping.

The remedy is to improve ventilation in affected areas; sometimes an extractor fan or two is enough to combat the problem. Professional damp proofers can likely ascertain where your problems lie and suggest a solution.

Rising damp – there are various damp proofing measures and naturally much will depend on your circumstances if rising damp is diagnosed.

For example, if damp is detected in a basement or cellar space then a tanking system or cavity drainage system may be suggested. This is effectively a waterproof lining to interior walls with possibly the installation of sump and pumps.

For rising damp then one or both of the following may be installed:

A horizontal damp proof course to act as a barrier to rising moisture from the ground, and maybe a vertical damp proof course to protect walls abutted by other walls not protected (a neighbouring property for example).

It’s obviously quite a challenge to install physical barrier damp proof courses to structures already built, so a less invasive option is installing a chemical damp proof course.

In general terms the technique consists of injecting a silicone-based liquid into the wall at the appropriate height that acts as a water repelling layer. This is a highly specialised task and best left to damp proofing experts with a demonstrable track record.

Act now if damp is suspected

Any trace of damp – even the tiniest evidence of condensation or small stain in the ceiling or wall – should be investigated quickly by experienced waterproofing professionals. Left unchecked, damp can cause major problems down the line which will get more and more costly to repair.


Ensuring your property stays dry with effective damp proofing whether as a preventative measure or if damp is found such as condensation, penetrative or rising damp.


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