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What is a Damp Proof Course (DPC)?

If you are a regular reader at Garratt’s Damp, you’ll more than likely be familiar with the term “Damp Proof Course” (DPC) but you may not be aware of how important having a high-quality DPC is for your home. Should your Damp Proof Course be compromised or “bridged” – you’ll soon find you have damp problems in your home.

damp-proof-courseIf you’ve noticed rising damp in your London property this could be due to damage to your Damp Proof Course or your property may not have any DPC in the first place. Having this repaired or installed will help prevent rising damp problems, allowing your walls to stay clean and free of moisture.

What Exactly is a Damp Proof Course?

DPC or Damp Proof Course is the name given to the protective layer between your property and the external ground. The name applies to the application rather than the specific material used so your DPC may be different to other properties in the same area.

Most common is the physical and visible DPC, often a type of thin water-proof material such as lead-lined bitumen sheets, slate, plastic etc. When installed between the brickwork of a building near ground level, it can be known as a Damp Proof Membrane and prevents groundwater from being absorbed by capillary action from the ground.

An alternative to a physical barrier, are chemical types of DPC that are injected into brickwork – this could be the introduction of a silicone solution – for example, it can be injected near to ground level to provide a waterproof layer. This is the type of treatment your property may undergo if your damp proof membrane is damaged or missing.

Glossary of Terms

There are some terms you might hear from a damp proofing contractor that may leave you perplexed but here’s a short guide and explanation to make things clearer:

  • Bridging of the DPC – This occurs when dirt or substrate is piled against the external wall and above the Damp Proof Course, causing moisture to bypass the DPC entirely. It can also occur if structures are built in line with the DPC, allowing damp to bypass and rise above the membrane
  • Capillary Action – The movement of moisture from within the ground up into the brickwork (the cause of Rising Damp)
  • Rising Damp – The term given to damp that occurs from moisture rising upwards from the ground into your walls
  • Penetrating Damp – Moisture is absorbed into the exterior brickwork and seeps into the property, leaving interior brickwork and plaster damp
  • Condensation – Often misdiagnosed as other forms of damp, condensation is the presence of moisture on cool surfaces (windows, sinks, mirrors) in humid conditions (while boiling a kettle, running a bath, having a shower, etc.)

When it comes to repair work or damp proofing carried out in your home, it’s good to have an idea of the type of terms that may be used so you aren’t left confused from a survey or report.

If you are looking for rising damp quotes for your London property or need to speak to a friendly team of experts regarding damp proofing, get in contact with us on 0208 535 7536.

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