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Damp proofing - guidance for homeowners

Damp proofing is a term often used to describe the measures of protection against damp within the structure, masonry or fabric of a building. It is widely used to describe the control of many forms of dampness and moisture which may be causing an issue for homeowners within their property. 

What exactly does ‘damp proofing’ refer to? 

When the reference ‘damp proofing’ is used in the context of a property of building, it typically refers to two different types of damp: 

It has also been known to sometimes describe waterproofing below ground, such as basement waterproofing (or tanking).

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What is rising damp

  • Process of moisture being drawn up through the brickwork or masonary from the ground by what is known as capillary action. (similar to how a tree would soak up water & nutrients from the ground)
  • A form of damp known since at least Roman times 
  • Most buildings in the UK will have some form of damp control barrier or material at the base of their property to prevent rising damp
  • First indications of rising damp issues include decayed skirting boards, crumbling or salt stained plaster, discolouration and staining, decayed timber floors or/and peeling paint and wallpaper

Learn more about the issue, how you can spot it and how you can resolve it by pressing the button below

Rising damp explained >>

What is penetrating damp (or rainwater penetration)?

  • A term given to rainwater that passes through the walls or roof of a building
  • Older buildings with solid walls can be more susceptible 
  • Early signs include visible staining on plaster, dampness on walls, fungal growth & damaged timber

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The importance of correct diagnosis of the damp issue

Where damp is suspected, it is important the issue is correctly investigated and the source(s) of the dampness issue established prior to any consideration of damp control or treatment measures. The simple reason being different damp problems in different types of properties often require different solutions. Improper diagnosis of a damp issue may lead to unnecessary spending and unfortunately, costly repairs and redecoration.. 

In addition, misdiagnosis of a damp problem is not uncommon. Rising damp in particular has been particularly prone to this accusation. Often the symptoms of one particular damp issue can be taken for another type of damp issue.

Professional damp specialists you can talk to

At the PCA, we pride ourselves on raising and maintaining the standards of the industry. Using a Property Care Association (PCA) approved damp control specialist helps to remove the stress and strain of inviting a contractor into your home by ensuring that every organisation that carries our logo can be trusted to resolve damp issues efficiently and effectively.

In addition to this, customers using PCA approved damp related contractors benefit from the peace of mind of knowing that our members can offer an exclusive ‘PCA Promise’ guarantee meaning that should that company go out of business before the work is completed, then another PCA contractor will complete the work to the original specification at no extra cost to the customer.

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More Homeowner Help & Guidance

For help, tips, advice and guidance on a variety of property related issues, why not visit our main Homeowners section

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Professional Damp Guidance

For professional tradesmen or contractors looking to find out more technical detail about damp control, visit our professional guidance section.

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