Damp is a common issue that many homeowners face, whether they live in a suburban flat or a seaside bungalow. It can affect properties of every age, new or old, although some buildings are more susceptible damp based on age and location. For those who live in properties more likely to be affected by damp, DIY damp proofing is an attractive prospect.
Should your property fall victim to damp, be it penetrating, rising or condensation, it can wreak havoc with the structural integrity of your home, not to mention the health risks of breathing in mould particles, and the aesthetic impact of wet walls.
With this in mind, damp proofing is essential, but whether you employ professionals or choose to do it yourself is something many people debate. DIY damp proofing can be a good idea, but it largely depends on the circumstances at hand. If you’re considering it, here are some things to keep in mind.
First of all, you need to think about the type of damp you’re looking to protect your home from. Some are easier to combat than others, and the different types range in severity. For example, condensation is the most common form of damp people face, and it can largely be managed without the need for professionals. Things like improving ventilation and considering the layout of your rooms can be enough to manage condensation – provided it’s in its early stages.
On the other hand, rising damp is a more severe type of damp that isn’t easily managed through DIY methods. Rising damp occurs when ground water surrounding your property rises up, usually because of a breached or defective DPC (damp proof course). This is best left to the professionals because it’s more arduous than simply opening a window or pulling a sofa away from a radiator.
In conclusion, the type of damp you’re looking to protect your property from will dictate whether or not you can make it a DIY job. There are, of course, actions you can take to stop different types of damp from attacking your home, but there will be certain steps that are more suited to damp proof specialists, such as Garratt’s Damp & Timber.
If you’re looking for steps you can take yourself to damp proof your home, here are some of the more viable options that can make a difference.
Many people choose damp proof paint as a first port of call to damp proof their property. It works by letting moisture exit the wall, but the water reactive element within it does not allow water to creep in. Damp proof paint can be used as a primer or as a top layer of paint. It’s typically used in basements and cellars, but it is possible for you to use it throughout your house should you so wish.
Damp proof paint can and does work, but only if there is no existing damp issue. If you have rising damp or penetrating damp and your walls are already damaged by it, it’s not enough to simply paint over the problem – it won’t solve it. In a similar manner, if you intend on using damp proof paint in your cellar, you need to make sure it’s tanked first. Basement tanking involves implementing a system to keep ground water from penetrating the cellar walls. This is something damp proof paint can’t do.
Overall, damp proof paint can work, but you need to make sure you don’t have any signs of damp first.
One of the best ways you can protect your property from damp is to improve ventilation. This means making a conscious effort to open windows, especially in rooms of high humidity like the kitchen, bathroom, and utility room. This will allow moisture in the air to escape and new air to circulate around the room, improving the air quality and reducing the smell associated with stale air. Even in winter, it’s important to open windows as often as possible, even it’s just for 15 minutes every day.
Another way you can improve ventilation is to ensure you have extractor fans in the bathroom and kitchen. They will work to reduce excess moisture in the air as a result of cooking and showering. In small rooms like airing cupboards that may not have windows, you could find that electronic dehumidifiers work well.
Finally, make sure you pull bulky items away from the radiator as they can stop the air from circulating away from the radiator, meaning moisture caused by heat gets trapped, resulting in condensation and wet walls.
DIY damp proofing internal walls and improving ventilation is always a good idea, but there are instances when professional help will be required.
Many people experience damp because their damp proof course (DPC) has failed. This can be for a multitude of reasons, but it’s usually because the property is older and the DPC it was built with (if at all) does not meet modern standards and has failed over time.
There are two types of DPC, including an injection cream. This can be installed at a later date to when the property was built and is something many professional companies use to repair a broken DPC, but this doesn’t mean it’s suitable for every property, nor does it mean it can easily be done yourself.
If your property is suffering from rising damp or penetrating damp that isn’t the result of a blocked gutter, roof issue, or items butted against exterior walls above the DPC that have caused it to be bridged, it’s best to hire a damp proofing specialist.
This will ensure the issue is properly diagnosed and the root cause is correctly identified, reducing the risk of incorrect treatment resulting in more property damage. If the issue pertains to a damp proof injection, it’s best to get a professional to do it. This is because the type of cream and way it is applied is not as straightforward as you might initially think.
If you’re experience rising or penetrating damp, it’s always best to get in touch with a specialist first and foremost. Contact us to book a site survey if you’re located in London or our South East catchment area. Our team will visit your property and inspect the issue. They will then provide you with a no-obligation quote and advice on how you can solve the issue and what you can do moving forwards in terms of DIY damp proofing.