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The three main types of damp that can occur in a property are condensation, penetrating and rising damp. For every type of damp, there are preventative measures that you can take to lessen the possibility of problems happening in the first place. There are also a range of solutions and different treatments that can be used to deal with each type of damp.
Sometimes there will be cases where only one solution is really appropriate. However, on many occasions there will be more than one way to address the issue. Similarly, if you want to fix damp problems yourself, you will find that for most damp problems there is often a DIY option. So here is our guide to DIY damp proofing.
As you will see, when we get into the details, there will be some DIY damp proofing solutions that virtually anybody will be able to do themselves. You don’t need to be a hardcore DIY enthusiast to be able to fix many damp problems that you come across in the home. Having said that, there will be some situations and some DIY damp proofing options where you will need to be a fairly confident DIY-er. But, as with anything, if you feel you have the necessary skills to do it, there’s nothing to stop you.
Finally, there will always be some cases where, regardless of your DIY confidence or ability, it is probably wiser and more sensible to call in the professionals.
So, let’s have a look at your DIY damp proofing options. Firstly, by looking at the main types of damp.
DIY Damp Proofing for Condensation Damp
Condensation damp is probably the most common damp problem – and usually the easiest to fix.
The key to solving condensation problems is to improve the ventilation around the home and to reduce the amount of natural moisture within it. This can often be achieved by, simply modifying behaviours and habits around the home, such as trying to avoid drying wet clothes on radiators or making sure you open windows for longer, this can be enough to ensure condensation doesn’t reappear.
The damage caused by condensation can usually be addressed with a DIY solution as well. A common course of action will be to use damp proof paint. This specially formulated paint covers over damp and black mould patches and stains (the common signs of condensation) and then offers further protection to stop it returning. Damp proof paint is essentially applied in the same way as a conventional matt or emulsion and you can use brushes and rollers in the usual way. It is sometimes a bit more difficult to obtain an even coating on a wall, but with a bit of patience, and if you make sure you follow the application instructions carefully, then there shouldn’t be a problem.
Another simple damp proofing solution for condensation damp is to buy a dehumidifier to solve the problem, other DIY damp proofing solutions for condensation damp would be installing (or repairing) a kitchen or bathroom fan, or installing air vents or roof ventilation tiles. Most of these jobs should be relatively easy for a DIY enthusiast.
With bathroom fans and the like, although most homes already have them fitted they sometimes stop working. Sometimes parts will need replacing and occasionally it might be more appropriate to install a completely new fan. Fans are connected to electricity and in this instance you will probably want to engage the services of a qualified electrician.
DIY Damp Proofing For Penetrating Damp
Penetrating damp is typically caused as a result of some sort of building defect in a property. Before dealing with the damage caused by the penetrating damp, the defect itself will first need to be fixed. Many of the common issues can easily be addressed through DIY, such as installing a weatherboard above an external door or sealing a window.
Obviously, there are some defects that are probably best left to the professionals. Guttering and tiling generally requires ladders and scaffolding, and for issues that require you to get on the roof, such as flashing (dealing with problems around a chimney), it’s usually just simpler to pay the experts to do the work.
Even a relatively easy job such as pointing is a task that can look a lot easier than it actually is and poorly executed re-pointing can end up being a complete waste of time. However if you do want to do it yourself here is a good tutorial:
If you’re penetrating damp problems are being caused by a cavity issue, DIY damp proofing solutions are also possible. Installing a cavity tray and/or clearing out debris from blocked cavities sounds a bit daunting, because it often requires removal of bricks. However, if you consider yourself quite good at DIY, there is nothing really here that should hold too much fear for you. Check out this guide to remove bricks:
And if you feel that you are up to the challenge, take a look at:
Another common way of finishing off the treatment of penetrating damp is again to apply damp proof paint, and as we said earlier, this is definitely an easy DIY damp proofing solution.
DIY Damp Proofing For Rising damp
The third and final type of damp, is rising damp. This is the one that people often fear the most, but it is actually quite rare, condensation damp and penetrating damp are much more common.
It is usually a good idea to have an an independent damp expert diagnose suspected rising damp and advise about the extent of the issue, however it certainly isn’t always the case that it needs to be dealt with and treated by professionals and there are a number of DIY damp proofing solutions which you can often choose to deal with rising damp.
If tanking is recommended, then this may be a solution that is best performed by professional damp specialists. However, inserting a new damp proof course (DPC) can often be done by using an injectable DPC and can be done as a DIY project.
There are many DIY injectable damp proof course kits available and although there is a fairly wide selection of different products to choose from, the kits are all the similar in that everything you need is included in them.
Again, what it really boils down to is your own confidence level. A damp proof course that is not injected correctly or an installation that hasn’t followed the instructions to the letter is likely to be ineffective and ultimately useless. However, if you are confident in your own ability to carry out such work successfully, then a DIY damp proof course kit is an attractive option and can be an excellent (much cheaper) solution.
Similarly, the remedial work that is usually carried out on internal walls following the insertion of a new DPC is relatively straightforward DIY work, such as re plastering and redecoration. Even the installation of a damp proof membrane (DPM), of the plastic sheet mesh variety, can be considered a DIY damp proofing solution. Once again, there are a good range of damp proof membrane kits available that can do the job.
We’ve said it before but it’s worth ending on the same point again. For a confident and proficient DIY enthusiast there are a number of DIY damp proofing solutions that are open to you for dealing with condensation, penetrating and rising damp. Yes, there will always be certain situations where professional help should be used and what you should always if you are unsure is to use an independent damp specialist to advise you about what the best course of action for the damp problem is. Then you can weigh up the pros and cons and come to a decision about whether DIY is an option for you.