London's local Damp & Timber Preservation Expert

"treating your property right"

Damp Treatments

A porous material always contain a certain level of moisture. The level of moisture is dependant on the nature of the material and on the humidity of the surrounding air. The acceptable levels of moisture do little harm to the materials and such moisture is not normally regarded as a damp problem. 


When a building displays signs of damp that are perceptible to sight or touch such as discolouration, staining of materials, mould or other visible signs, it is a confirmation that there is damp present beyond the acceptable levels and further investigation should be carried out to determine the source.

CHEMICAL DAMP PROOFING


Rising damp is the result of the vertical rise of moisture through walls when there is no damp-proof course present or the old one has broken down. Over many years the rising water causes decorative spoiling and frequently floor and skirting timbers to rot. Furthermore, hygroscopic salts within the rising ground water also contaminate the wall/finishes. These alone can and do cause discolouration and persistent dampness due to their ability to absorb moisture from the airInitially we determine that the dampness is in fact due to rising damp and not some other source. Where appropriate we install a chemical damp-proof course in accordance with good practice as described in BS 6576:1985. We will also remove the old salt contaminated plasterwork and replace with a salt retardant mix thereby ensuring a dry, non-spoiling decorative surface. However, where historic buildings are concerned other approaches may be necessary in order to ensure sympathy with the existing materials and structure.


WATERPROOF TANKING


Many older properties have cellars/basements which could easily be converted to habitable or other useful accommodation. Such structures below ground level are usually damp and are unsuitable for such use in their current state. If you can keep water out and provide a dry, sound environment then the room becomes perfectly usable and a beneficial addition to the property in both value and space.


First we need to know the precise use to which the room will be put. We can then design a system to meet that requirement. This may be one of the 'cavity drain membrane' systems which will not only provide dry surfaces and environment, it also adds to the insulation of the room. Alternatively, the room may be more suited to one of the cementitious tanking systems to keep out water and provide dry surfaces. Full consideration is given to guidance, design and good practice as described in BS 8102. In either case a dry habitable/usable room will be the result.


CONDENSATION


Condensation is the result of warm moisture laden air coming into contact with cold surfaces. Where severe, this results in water runs, unsightly black mould growth and if timber is involved it can also cause fungal decay. Condensation is almost always a cold season problem, the 'season' usually being between October and April. Unfortunately, condensation is often misdiagnosed as rising damp. The origin of the water is inevitably 'life-style', that is our daily moisture production from cooking, washing, even breathing and sweating. Sometimes the structure of the property may make it more vulnerable to long term condensation problems; even modernisation such as the introduction of double glazing and insulation can tip the balance in favour of condensation to other parts of the property.


Initially we ensure that the dampness problem is due to condensation and not some other source. We primarily offer advice on controlling water production and especially ventilation and heating, the primary measures to control condensation; this is the most cost effective initial approach. Should the problem be more severe or persistent then we can evaluate the introduction of active control measures such as forced ventilation, insulation, etc.
Should severe mould growth persist (it shouldn't if the condensation and maintenance of high humidity are alleviated) then we may have to consider the use of 'anti-mould' measures, for example the use of specialist finishes. However, above all the initial procedures must be first implemented to save unnecessary costs to the client.


Please contact us for more information or advice regarding available damp treatments.