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Bedroom damp caused by poor air circulation

Left untreated, damp can be bad for both your health (the mould and spores can aggravate respiratory problems such as asthma) and the health of your property: If any form of damp is left unchecked it can cause a number of potentially serious issues, including damage to decorated surfaces, or timber decay and even wet rot, which can lead to structural deterioration, and may necessitate major repair costs. More »

Penetrating damp in brickwork can cause major wall instabilities

Whether it’s damp proofing walls to prevent penetrating damp, treating rising damp, or dealing with condensation problems, damp proofing costs needn’t be prohibitive, though selecting the appropriate treatment will depend on the results of the damp survey. More »

Deep wall damp can be almost hidden behind plastering and wall paper

Penetrating damp: Once the source of the water ingress has been identified and repaired, treatments such as silicone water repellents, bitumen coatings, or a waterproof membrane can be applied to guard against future damp problems. More »

Brickwork affected by damp can cause serious problems for your home

Rising damp: Specialist creams are injected into the brickwork to form a waterproof barrier at the base of the wall; this will prevent water rising and penetrating into the building. Once the brickwork has dried out, the interior walls are re-plastered with plaster containing a waterproof additive. More »

 

Waterproofing

A film ‘tanking’ at the box office usually means it hasn’t earned its money back, but conversely, tanking a cellar or a basement (the process of lining the room with specialist materials to make it waterproof) can actually provide a good financial return, as the extra usable space this creates can significantly increase the value of a property. Waterproofing and converting a cellar or a basement is a specialist task, so employing a reputable, professional company is recommended to ensure the room – as well as the investment – is water-tight.

Why is waterproofing a cellar or basement necessary?

Most cellars or basements are liable to damp. This is because they typically sit beneath the water table, meaning the pressure of the water in the ground (known as hydrostatic pressure) can lead to water ingress in through the walls and up through the floor. This can make them uninhabitable, and even susceptible to flooding.

How does tanking work?

Waterproofing a basement or cellar is generally achieved using one of two methods.

In the first, a barrier product (perhaps a multi-coat render, cement-based or epoxy coating, slurry,  bituminous paint, or waterproof sheeting) is applied to the walls and floor to seal them, thus turning the basement or cellar into a waterproof ‘tank’ (although with the water on the outside). This method of waterproofing can be applied either internally or externally, but must be completely defect-free if it is to work, and the corresponding rise in hydrostatic pressure behind the barrier it creates may cause problems in the substrate, and can even lead to cracking in or detachment of (and the subsequent failure of) the waterproofing itself. Additionally, any structural movement can have disastrous consequences.

Alternatively, a waterproof membrane can be attached to both the floor and the inside of the basement wall. This method still allows water to penetrate the wall, though the membrane stops any penetration into the basement itself. Instead, the water flows downwards through the air-gap between the membrane and the wall into a specially-constructed perimeter channel, and is then directed towards either a suitable drainage point or a sump pump, which pumps the water away from the building. This system is easier to install, maintain, and repair if necessary, and eliminates the build-up of hydrostatic pressure created by traditional waterproofing methods, as the water is channelled and managed rather than simply allowed to build up behind the wall. Directing the water away can also lower the water table, and the air-gap between the membrane and the wall allows the structure to move, breathe, and (to some extent) dry out.

Following installation, the membrane can either be plastered directly, or the wall dry-lined, the floor tiled, and the basement or cellar subsequently decorated to provide a dry, usable, habitable space.