Have you noticed a musty smell in your house? Is your wallpaper starting to bubble or peel? Are you living in a property that’s older than you? Then you may need to check your damp proofing.
Damp, of any sort, is one of the most frequent problems encountered by homeowners in the UK. And as every type of damp problem is different, not always easy to identify, and each type requires specific treatments.
A Damp Proof Course (DPC) or damp proofing will rectify rising damp or penetrating damp issues. But it is important to firstly establish the root cause of the problem before any treatment is carried out.
Which is why we would always recommend finding a damp proofing expert to assess the problem, agree the most appropriate treatment, and advise you how to maintain your property to avoid further issues.
What is Damp Proofing?
Damp proofing, simply put, treats, or prevents moisture and damp developing as a result of water seeping into your property. This could be from the ground upwards, roof downwards, through the walls, or through weakened door or window frames.
As damp develops, it causes damage to the paintwork and/or wallpaper, but over time more importantly the floors, walls, and fundamental structure of the property.
What are the most common types of damp?
Condensation – This the most common type of damp and is caused by moist warm air meeting colder surfaces. So, you tend to notice droplets of water or moisture settling on windows, mirrors, or walls. It is more common in the winter, but if your property is particularly damp, you could see signs of condensation at any time.
Poor ventilation adds to the damp, but once it is well established, even opening windows does not solve the problem.
You might not think too much about it at first, but the effects can worsen, and you will soon start to see black mould appearing.
If you see any signs of this, don’t leave it too late before seeking advice from an expert.
Penetrating damp – This kind of damp is caused by rain or moisture coming through the walls, from weak window and door surrounds, or through the roof.
You’ll often see this as patches with brown or yellow staining around the edge, bubbling and blistering paintwork, or rotting skirting boards and wooden door or window frames.
Although not as harmful for health, it will still affect ceilings or walls, wallpaper will bubble and over time a musty smell also spreads.
Rising damp – Caused by water entering your property from the ground, rising up the walls or across the floors, rising damp is often seen in older houses where the damp proof course was never installed, or has become damaged over time. If the damp proofing is defective or non-existent, water will gradually seep up into the home and cause serious damage.
Standing water outside your property from heavy rain or poor drainage are also prime causes of rising damp.
If you see signs of rising damp, it is likely to have been developing for some time. The longer you leave it without treatment, the more difficult and expensive it will be to put right.
How do I know if I have damp in my home?
Evidence of rising damp appears in various ways, but here are a few things to look for:
- Damaged or warped skirting boards or flooring.
- A musty smell developing, which will not go away even with open windows, air fresheners, or room sprays.
- Black patches of mould and condensation on windows and window frames.
- Yellow or brown staining in patches on your walls, or peeling plaster, paintwork, and wallpaper.
- Wet patches or a white powdery substance on the walls.
How do I know if I already have damp proof membrane in place?
When you look at the outside walls of your house, you should see a layer of what looks like black plastic or polythene a few bricks up from ground level.
This is a damp proofing membrane. It is laid below the level of internal walls and floors, to prevent damp and moisture rising from the ground.
Building regulations require damp proofing is installed in all new build properties during construction, at 150mm from ground level.
But older properties don’t always have damp proofing, or they do have a DPC, often made from slate or bitumen, which has become worn and ineffective over the years. Many older properties also have basements or cellars, which are below any damp proofing which may have been installed.
We are also asked to inspect and treat houses which have been renovated or extended without considering the impact on the damp proofing. If the pathways, patio, or the extension is higher than the original damp proof course, the property is unlikely to be protected from rising damp.
This is a sure sign that you will face problems in future, not only for your home but also your health.
Chest infections and other respiratory conditions, such as Asthma, can significantly worsen over time if damp of any kind is present within your home. So, it is essential that you arrange a thorough inspection if you notice any signs of damp.
Total Trades Damp Proofing services
We are a family run business who take pride in putting our customer first. Operating in and around Doncaster and South Yorkshire, we will gladly come out to assess your home if you are concerned you may have damp issues.
Or we can incorporate our damp proofing services into your wider building, renovation or extension plans.
When it comes to building services, including damp proofing, we are the only company you will need.
Don’t hesitate to contact us to arrange for a home visit and quotation or for some friendly advice.