Concrete has been used in construction since Roman times, so presumably, they must have had similar problems with damp on concrete floors to today’s property owners.

Traditionally, the treatment for damp on concrete floors was to replace the whole floor. Fortunately, there are now easier and cheaper solutions.

All new properties have waterproofing solutions included in their designs and there are ever-improving treatments for the occasions there are issues. This should mean it becomes a more rare problem for property owners to deal with.

In this post, we will look at how to recognise if you have a damp problem on concrete floors and what can be done to resolve it.

Risk Factors and Signs of Damp on Concrete Floors

History: Damp-proof coursing did not become mandatory in new buildings until the Public Health Act of 1875. In the rush to meet the new legal requirements, the standard of the damp-proof coursing was initially poor, and so properties built around that time may still not have adequate protection. If you have an old property, you should check to see if any protection has been fitted retrospectively.

Evidence of water ingress: Water ingress includes signs of rising damp, evidence of water on the floor, and mould on the floor or walls, especially in basements or cellars.

Recent building work: Building work can damage existing damp-proofing systems.

Landscaping: any large-scale landscaping such as the removal of large trees which would have previously absorbed some of the water in the ground can increase the water content in the soil.

Flood risk: If the property is on a flood plain or where the water table levels are high, there is an increased risk of water rising above the protective layer of any existing waterproofing measures.

How Do Concrete Floors Get Damp?

Damp on concrete floors is most commonly seen at ground or below-ground levels. This has also made it traditionally more difficult to prevent and treat.

Concrete is a porous material and water travels through it in a capillary system in much the same way that water is absorbed from the ground by plants. This is important, as it is how water enters properties causing the problems of penetrating damp and rising damp.

How Is Damp on Concrete Floors Treated?

The treatment will depend on where the damage is, what the primary cause is, and how far it has spread.

An assessment should also check if there is any potential risk of future damage, such as dry or wet rot. A specialist damp-proofing and timber treatment company such as Danford Brewer and Ives Ltd can help advise you.

As with most property problems, the earlier it is assessed and treated, the cheaper and fewer indirect side effects there will be.

Treating Damp on Concrete Floors Above Ground Level

This is usually the easiest and cheapest damp concrete floor problem to resolve. As with any water ingress, it is important to find where the water is coming from and fix the problem. For example, this might mean fixing a leaking pipe. It is then normally just a case of taking any necessary steps to let the floor dry out.

Treating Damp on Concrete Floors at Ground Level

These problems are more complicated to resolve as the problem usually starts below ground with the moisture rising to the surface of the concrete and surrounding walls, hence the term, rising damp.

There are two main remedies:

  • Damp-proof coating: This is a liquid floor coating which is applied directly onto the concrete floor to seal it and prevent water from seeping in. It is usually an epoxy resin coating, as this is more hardwearing, but where there is going to be a floor covering on top of the concrete then a latex-based coating can be used. There are different products for different floor uses. To use these the floor must be clean, free from dust, and dry.
  • Damp-proof membrane: A damp-proof membrane has the advantage of being able to be applied to a damp concrete floor and walls. Like the liquid coating above, it provides a barrier to water entering the property. The membrane is a tough structural material and is often used as part of basement waterproofing solutions too. The process usually involves removing any existing floor coverings and skirting boards, laying a waterproof cavity membrane, which is normally up to 5mm thick, and then laying a floating floor on top, before refitting the skirting boards.

Basements and Cellars

Due to basements and cellars being below ground level, they are at increased risk of water ingress. This means that it is usually not just the floors that need protecting, but the walls as well.

There are different treatment and prevention options, and a waterproofing design specialist will advise you on what is best for your property.

The main types of waterproofing for new and existing basements and cellars are:

  • Tanking with slurry
  • Tanking with membranes
  • Type C waterproofing

Tanking with Slurry

This is a chemical coating that is applied to the internal masonry to provide a waterproof layer. This coating covers the walls as well as the floor.

Tanking with Membranes

In this treatment, waterproof membranes are attached to the floor and walls of basements and cellars to prevent water ingress.

The same membranes for ground-level work can be used here.

Type C Waterproofing

This system is rapidly becoming the most common remedy, as it is cheaper and quicker to install. It is also suitable for most basements and cellars.

The process protects the cellar or basement by providing a cavity drainage system to divert the water away from the property before it reaches the internal walls and floors.  Sump pumps are usually required to achieve this.

Damp on concrete floors will lead to serious problems associated with water ingress. If the problem is assessed early by specialists such as us at Danford Brewer and Ives Ltd, the appropriate treatments can be carried out with less expense and worry to the property owner.

To find out more about preventing damp on concrete floors or receive a quote for your project, contact Danford Brewer and Ives today by calling us directly at 01765 804050 to discuss your damp problem.