Damp treatment is one of the most commonly used terms for the various techniques used to deal with damp conditions in the home. It covers a wide range of options, from simple coatings and treatments, through to the installation of bespoke timber seals and roof systems. A damp building environment can be both hazardous and dangerous and can exacerbate existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma. However, it is rarely a serious problem and simply needs to be dealt with. Damp proofing is an integral part of tackling damp problems.
There are a number of different approaches to damp treatment. The most popular is simply to deal with the water inside the walls and floors by either sealing them or applying a topical solution. This could be achieved by using a damp proofing compound, a rubberized paint or a high quality waterproof plaster. Some internal walls might also benefit from an application of paint or a suitable stain removing agent, such as urethane.
If the problem is due to condensation, then the most common solution is the application of a vapor barrier or moisture barrier. A moisture barrier acts much like a sponge and acts like a giant cushion between the wall and the surrounding air. The moisture that forms on the wall is quickly absorbed by the damp proofing membrane. Another method of dealing with rising damp is called hygienic treatment. This involves cleaning the walls to remove any food, grease or other materials that could harbour bacteria and which could promote mould.
A serious damp condition may actually be a form of condensation and requires a different approach. In this case, it is necessary to conduct an inspection of the building. If you find that the cause is an amplifier, or in some cases a damp pipe, then it is necessary to investigate properly with an expert before recommending any action. If your suspicion is wrong and condensation has caused the real problem, then it will often be necessary to replace the pipe or amplifier. The situation will become more serious if the original installation was not correctly done by trained civil engineers or qualified damp inspection technicians.
So if I am dealing with rising damp, what should I do? Well, there are many factors that could contribute to damp issues and some of them may be fairly obvious. For example, old plaster, which has loosened and lost its glue, can create pockets around windows and doors. If there are cracks or holes, then the problem is likely to be with the wall or ceiling and cannot simply be repaired. Other contributing factors to rising damp could include wood rot and warping. If you have an issue with wet ceilings or walls, then it is important to repair the damaged area as soon as possible as this can result in serious damage to the rest of the building.
A serious damp issue may also be a sign of other underlying issues. Some examples include: poor ventilation, plumbing issues, poor interior finishes and poor plumbing fittings. A major issue with identifying rising damp is that it is easy to misdiagnose. In the interests of avoiding costly mistakes, it is important to get a professional damp survey performed by trained, damp inspection technicians, and to then get a qualified damp inspection engineer (especially someone who is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) to carry out an investigation and report back to you, hopefully offering a thorough and definitive analysis of the damp problem.