Damp Proofing

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Table of contents

    What is Damp Proofing?

    Damp proofing is a generic term for the processes and treatments used to fix or prevent damp problems in a property. 

    Most of the damp proofing work we undertake in Kent is focused on repairing existing buildings, whether they are listed or more modern structures, using the latest technology and industry-leading techniques to prevent further damage. 

    The cost of damp in a property can run to thousands of pounds, so acting quickly to identify and solve the issue is critical. It pays to be vigilant, and there are often cost-effective solutions you can implement. However, a professional assessment of the damage could save you long-term and avoid wasting money on the wrong treatment.

    Thankfully, Dean Webster, our lead surveyor and business owner, has many years of experience in this industry and can, with his team of well-qualified surveyors, identify and provide guaranteed treatment plans.

    The causes of damp

    There are three leading causes of damp: 

    1. condensation
    2. rising damp
    3. penetrating damp,

    Our damp proofing experts are specialists in all three, and will advise on the best course of action for each. 

    However, the various types of dampness present different symptoms due to the movement and direction of the water, and they are often easily confused. The damp treatment required is specific to each problem, so the correct identification is imperative before any work starts. 

    Our team will only start work on a damp proofing job with a survey to ensure we give you the best possible solution.

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    What are the signs of damp?

    When it comes to identifying damp in your property, there are a few telltale signs to look out for. Here are a few indicators you need to be aware of:

    1. Musty Smell: If there is a damp in a property, you will start to notice a musty, mouldy odour. This is a clear indicator that there mould growing as a result of excessive moisture. 
    2. Visible Mould Growth: Mould can grow in various different forms and colours, including black, green, yellow, white, forming on walls, ceilings, and around areas such as windowswhere there are high levels of moisture. 
    3. Damp patches: Again, these are likely to appear around windows or doors or in your walls, ceilings, or floors and will be consistently wet. They will look discoloured or darker than the surrounding area. 
    4. Peeling, bubbling or flaking paint and wallpaper: Excessive moisture can cause wallpaper or paint to lose its adhesion, causing it to flake off the wall. The moisture can also cause the paper to bubble and eventually peel off the wall.
    5. Salt Stains: Excessive moisture can draw salts out of the building materials, causing them to appear as white powdery deposits on your wall.   
    6. Tide Marks and Staining: Damp from the ground can rise up the walls, leaving tide marks and unsightly stains on your decoration. 
    7. Cold Walls: Walls that feel damp or cold to the touch can be a surefire sign of penetrating damp, as water enters your property from the outside. 
    8. Condensation on windows: The regular occurrence of condensation on the inside of your windows or doors is a sign of high humidity within the property, which can lead to damp problems.
    9. Timber Decay: If the timber on your property is spongy or starting to crumble, you likely have an issue with fungal growth that is rotting it.
    Damp Proofing

    Problems caused by damp

    The problems that can result from dampness are considerable, and they fit into three key areas:

    Structural issues

    1. Wood rot, a major issue resulting from dampness, should be addressed. Moisture seeping into the wood can significantly compromise its structural integrity, potentially weakening the entire building. It's crucial to address this promptly.
    2. Mould: Persistent dampness provides the ideal breeding ground for mould growth, which will attack walls, ceilings, and floors.  
    3. Decay of building materials and decor: Dampness will impact most building materials, whether plaster, paint, or wallpaper, resulting in cracking, peeling, or disintegration. 
    4. Damaged Foundations: Ongoing exposure to damp can affect the foundations of the building and create longer-term structural issues.
    5. Increase costs: The maintenance cost of continually protecting against and repairing dampness can become prohibitive.
    Damp proofing

    Health-Related Problems

    1. Respiratory Issues: Damp environments can increase the effects of respiratory conditions. They are the perfect breeding ground for mould spores and dust mites, which can trigger allergies or bring on conditions such as asthma or bronchitis.
    2. Infections: Damp environments can lead to an increased risk of infection, especially for those with a weaker immune system.
    3. Skin Conditions: There is evidence that prolonged exposure to dampness can lead to skin irritations.

    Economic Problems

    1. Decreased Property Value: Dampness and mould in a property will make it less attractive to potential buyers and, in some cases, reduce its value.
    2. Increased Heating Costs: Heating a house with dampness is often more expensive. The challenge is to regulate the heat, and a poorly insulated property will often suffer from heat loss.
    3. Higher Insurance Premiums: An ongoing issue with dampness in a property can lead to difficulties securing insurance and, often, increased premiums.

    Damp Treatment

    The benefit of swift action in treating your damp problem will reduce the impact. However, before any works start, the problem must be correctly identified.

    Whether it is condensation, rising damp or penetrating damp, finding the source of the problem is imperative.

    Once confirmed, several treatments are available to our team, including a damp-proof course or the installation of a damp membrane.

    However, we are very clear if there is an easy solution and it involves action by the property owner, then we will advise on this. We would never suggest a course of action that was unnecessary.

    Damp Proofing Treatment - Rising Damp

    Rising damp, as the name suggests, rises through the brickwork from the ground.

    It is often the result of a faulty Damp Proof Course (DPC) or a change in ground conditions, e.g., a new flower bed above the level of the damp proof course.

    There are various treatments, including replacing the Damp Proof Course (DPC) including a damp proof membrane or re-configuring the garden, but our team will first undertake a full damp survey.

    Damp Proofing Treatment - Penetrating Damp

    Penetrating damp involves water entering the building from height, whether that is from the roof or down the sides of walls. You will often see a discolouration on the outside of the wall and the various signs of dampness mentioned above on the inside, including bubbling wallpaper or paint and tide marks down your wall.  

    Treatment is often about finding the source and cutting it off, which can be as simple as repairing a broken drainpipe or gutter. A damp survey will reveal the proper treatment. 

    Damp Proofing Treatment - Condensation

    Condensation is a real issue for properties with poor airflow. There are the usual issues around high-risk areas, such as the kitchen and the bathroom, which can often be solved by opening a window or using pan lids.

    However, if the problem persists, there is a broader issue with the airflow around the property, which needs more substantial work. The temperature levels in the property are often not balanced, and introducing extractor fans, amongst other solutions, might resolve the issue.

    Damp Proofing Treatment - Basements or Cellars

    Properties with habitable space below ground are always susceptible to problems with damp. The main issue with being below ground level is gravity, and any surface water will try to find its way in.

    We find this can be an issue with older properties as a Damp Proof Course (DPC) can erode over time, leaving the basement or cellar prone to dampness.

    South East Timber and Damp offer a combination of approaches to damp-proofing a basement or cellar, including tanking, waterproof membranes, and an advanced drainage system.

    Damp proof guarantee

    We are very proud of our 10-year damp proofing guarantee on our work. We don't expect any issues, but if there are, we will come back out and resolve them free of charge.

    We offer a 10-year guarantee on our work because we are confident in our service and know that anything longer is meaningless.

    As we mentioned, we don't expect issues as our team are experts, but we will resolve any that arise.

    Next steps in damp proofing

    At South East Timber and Damp, we pride ourselves on providing you with the right solution for you, not us. Getting professional help at the outset will ensure that you treat the right problem with the right solution.

    The first step would be a damp survey. Depending on your needs, we have three options. Once the survey results are known, we will advise on a course of action to resolve the problem.

    We will provide an end-to-end, professional damp proofing service if you choose to work with our team.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    South East Timber and Damp are members of the Property Care Association.

    PCA members are professional and trustworthy. They carry out thorough surveys, delivering peace of mind through detailed investigations and correct diagnosis.

    All members are trained, experienced, vetted and qualified surveyors and contractors.

    If works are required, members can complete highly specialised repairs and remedial treatments effectively, efficiently and safely, using skilled, experienced site operatives.

    Look out for the PCA logo before you select a contractor.

    In short – No! We value our experienced surveyors, Dean and Lee’s time, and can give you the best advice around. We charge a small fee to cover some of the costs as many times, some straightforward maintenance advice will remedy the issue without any work required by us.

    We charge a range of survey fees, from £95 to £295, to carry out a timber and damp inspection. Many clients have said that a thorough, honest investigation into their damp and timber problems has completely put their minds at rest and saved them money over the years.

    In general, if remedial works have been carried out, then  – YES.  However, check your written report to ascertain the length and type of guarantee and any exclusions or maintenance requirements.

    Our guarantees are up to 10 years long.

    We KNOW there are 20- and 30-year guarantees out there. However, our insurance company limits us to offering realistic length guarantees. Remember, a guarantee is worthless if the company has closed down!

    We do offer the ability to purchase a GPI insurance policy for a one-time fee to run alongside our guarantee. See our dedicated page on GUARANTEES to find out more.


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    Our mission is to give you the peace of mind you deserve when it comes to waterproofing your house or business. Commission a survey from our team to assess your situation professionally.