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In many cases, damp in your property can be an issue that requires the help of a professional. However, there are some methods of damp proofing that can be achieved by any competent DIY’er.
This is obviously an advantage, because it means that you do not have the extra cost of paying for a professional.
In this article we will be looking at 6 common damp proofing methods that can be done without having to hire a damp proofing company.
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Method of damp proofing #1 – Patching pointing
Penetrating damp is extremely common. It occurs when water penetrates your property from the outside. This usually happens via a defect in the outer surface of the building.
One of the most common defects to cause penetrating damp, is damaged pointing.
At some point every property will need repointing. This is because the mortar is more fragile than the bricks it surrounds, meaning it erodes over time. With that said, good pointing should last 50-60 years.
Patching up small areas of pointing can be an excellent way to stop penetrating damp. It is relatively easy to do, and you only need a handful of basic tools and materials to do the job. You can see everything you will need below.
- Masonry chisels
- Lump hammer
- Builders trowel
- Pointing trowel
To repoint an area, you will first need to remove the existing pointing. This can be done with your lump hammer and chisel.
The first job is to remove a decent amount of the old pointing. This is so the fresh mortar has a nice deep bed to sit into. It is recommended that the depth is twice as deep as the width of the mortar joint.
Next you will need to clean away dust and debris and spray down the joint with fresh water. The goal here is to get the area completely clean and ready for the new pointing.
Next you need to mix your new mortar and start to apply it. You can see a good video on this process of adding new pointing below.
Damp proofing method#2 – Internal damp proof paint
The first thing to point out here, is that damp proof paint does not fix every damp related issue.
Many people will use a damp proof paint in the wrong situations. Then they will complain when it does not solve the problem.
Damp proof paint is mainly designed to tackle surface moisture. This makes it an excellent solution for areas that suffer with internal damp issues, from things like condensation. It will not be affective against structural defects.
Damp proof paints contain water reactive agents which stop surface damp from occurring. This means that moisture will not be able to penetrate the surface. As a result, damp and mould will not form.
It can also be a good preventative measure after larger issues have been fixed. For example, if you have had issues with rising damp or penetrating damp that have been recently repaired.
Once bigger issues have been fixed, there may still be moisture and salts in the wall. This should be dried as thoroughly as possible, but a coat of damp proof paint can add additional protection from moisture and salts resurfacing.
You can read more about the best internal damp proof paints by clicking here
Method of damp proofing #3 – Reducing condensation
This is the easiest damp proofing method on the list, and it does not really require any work. Instead it is a group of actions you can take.
Condensation is a result of excess moisture being present in the air. As this meets cold surfaces in your home, it condenses and turns back to liquid water. This results in surface moisture, also known as condensation damp.
In method number 2 we mentioned damp proof paint, this is one way to help with condensation. However, it is more of a preventative measure. It does not solve the root cause of condensation.
To stop condensation, you need to take steps to reduce moisture in the air. Below are 5 things you should do, to reduce moisture in the air and stop condensation:
- Regularly open windows and doors to allow good air circulation.
- Maintain a decent temperature with your central heating.
- Try to avoid drying clothes inside. If you need to do this, make sure you open windows to allow moist air to escape. Consider isolating this activity to one room and make sure the air circulation and temperature help to dry the clothes and remove the excess moisture.
- Use a dehumidifier. This is a simple, hassle free solution to removing moisture from the air. A good dehumidifier will draw moisture from the air and collect it in an internal reservoir.
- Open windows when cooking or bathing. Both activities cause lots of excess moisture. Opening a window will allow this moisture to escape and will stop condensation from forming.
All of these are easy to implement around your home and do not require any specialist knowledge.
One other option you might consider in damper rooms, such as your bathroom or kitchen, is an extractor fan. In most cases this will require an electrician. However, it is a small job. A fan can be fitted in a few hours. So, you will just end up paying the cost of the fan, plus a few hours labour.
Method of damp proofing #4 – Applying tanking slurry
Tanking slurry is a waterproof barrier, it can be applied to walls and floors to create a completely waterproof finish.
A popular place to use tanking slurry might be a basement, garage or shed. However, it can be used on any surface that is suffering from penetrating moisture.
Mixing and applying tanking slurry is very simple. It comes as a powder; you just need to add water to achieve a smooth lump free slurry. This can be done by hand, but an easier and more affective way involves using a drill and a whisk.
Once you have mixed your slurry it can be applied to a clean surface such as a wall, or floor with a brush. Depending on the surface you could choose to use a soft sweeping brush on the floor. Or a masonry brush to apply over walls.
Slurry generally needs two coats, and you will usually need to wait 1-2 hours for your first coat to dry.
You can learn more about tanking slurry by reading our full tanking slurry case study here
Damp proofing method #5 – Re-sealing around doors and windows
Over time it is common for the sealant around windows and doors to deteriorate. This can lead to moisture finding its way into your property, resulting in damp around windows and doors.
Like all the other methods of damp proofing on this list, sealing around windows is quite simple. In most cases this is something that can be done as a DIY project.
You will simply need to remove the old existing sealant and replace with new silicone. New sealant can be bought in a variety of colours, so it should be easy to find one that matches the rest of your property.
Once you have removed the old silicone, the new sealant can be applied with a mastic gun and smoothed around with your finger or a finishing tool.
Below is a good DIY video that demonstrates the process, of applying the silicone
Method of damp proofing #5 – Injecting a chemical DPC
Rising damp is one of the more serious damp issues you will get in a property. In the past, the only solution to this problem, would be to install a brand new damp proof course. This is a big job that involves removing brickwork to insert a new DPC.
As this job involves work to the structure of your property, it is a specialist job and should never be attempted by an amateur. It is also time consuming when performed by a professional, so it tends to be an expensive job.
The good news is there is another solution. Not only is it far cheaper, but it also requires very little technical knowledge.
The process involves injecting a chemical DPC. This is a cream that is injected in the mortar, at roughly 150mm above ground level. Once the cream is injected it fills the pours in the mortar and surrounding brickwork to form a waterproof barrier.
Application of a chemical DPC is quite simple. Holes need drilling in the mortar at intervals of approximately 150mm. Following this, the cream is injected using a mastic gun. There are plenty of kits available online and they all come with easy to follow instructions.
You can learn more about the best chemical DPC kits by clicking here
According to government statistics, at least 4% of UK homes suffer with some form of damp. The solutions mentioned in this article, address some of the most common you might come across.
These are all relatively easy methods of damp proofing and they cover a good variety of damp issues. They can all be done with a basic level of DIY knowledge and a simple selection of tools and materials.
Any of these will be quite easy to achieve on a small scale. With that said, for some jobs like pointing, you may not want to take on your whole house. Small areas will be easy to make repairs. However, repointing an entire house is no small task.
If in doubt it is always advised to get a few quotes from local professionals. In some cases, you might be able to get a good price that makes more sense than doing the work yourself.