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A Basic Guide to Dealing with Dampness

Not all water damage comes from acute flooding. Sometimes, water that is able to penetrate buildings in small amounts is able to do just as much damage as torrential floods, especially if the problem is left unaddressed over the course of years, or even decades. That's where the help of a damp proofing specialist can come in handy.

Signs of Trouble to Come

There are a few fairly straightforward ways to tell if a room or an entire home is suffering from excessive dampness. Walls that feel wet and cold are almost certainly being exposed to excessive moisture, as are those that are showing visible signs of mould or water staining. Not all signs of moisture damage are readily apparent to the naked eye, though, which is why just about every damp proofing company worth its weight offers home survey services intended to identify moisture problems and determine their root causes.

What Causes Dampness?

There are three main causes of excessive moisture. These are penetrating damp, condensation, and rising damp. The steps that must be taken to fix the problem will vary depending on the root cause of the moisture, so it's essential to hire a damp proofing specialist to evaluate the situation and determine the source of the moisture.

Penetrating damp is the most well-known form of moisture damage, coming from burst pipes, leaky roofs, or burst drainpipes. Dampness caused by excessive condensation is often caused by lack of adequate ventilation, and most frequently rears its ugly head in the form of mould in rooms that are prone to moisture accumulation such as kitchens and bathrooms. Rising damp can be caused by a variety of different problems, including faulty damp proofing in walls and pooling water at the base of walls.

Solving the Problem

As noted above, finding the right solution depends largely upon a contractor's ability to determine the root cause of the moisture damage. Penetrating damp can usually be remediated through fixing its root cause unless this cause is related to external groundwater, in which case the home's basement may also need to be sealed against water penetration. Dampness that is caused by condensation can be ameliorated by adding ventilation and performing basic remodeling work such as re-plastering in the event that water damage has already occurred.

Most contractors agree that rising damp is the most difficult form of moisture damage to tackle, as it usually involves installing or repairing the damp proof course in the home's external walls. This may involve the installation of a layer of plastic or slate between the home's bricks near ground level, or it may require the injection of certain specialized chemicals just above the ground level.