types of damp

Which Kind of Damp is Affecting my Home?

Which Kind of Damp is Affecting my Home?

Damp in homes is a common problem that most of us come across at one time or another. Although, it may not seem like a big problem at first, damp in its various forms can wreak havoc if you do not take proactive measures.

Damp can lead to problems that can jeopardize the structural integrity of your home, and it can cause serious health problems. Most of us are aware that there are many types of damp. However, differentiating between them can be often tricky. The initial step of treating or preventing damp is to identify the kind of damp that is affecting your home.

Condensation, rising damp and penetrating damp are the three main types of damp in residential properties, and each requires different treatment. Let’s discuss each type in more detail:

Condensation

Condensation is the most common type of damp found in homes, and it occurs when hot air with high humidity levels cools down on the walls and other surfaces of the house. You can easily find condensation in rooms during winters like the kitchen and bathroom where the air has a lot of moisture and walls are generally cooler than the inside of the house.

The common symptoms of condensation are visible water droplets on windows, door glass, and walls. Also, an unpleasant moldy smell and dark mold can grow on the glass, especially on windows.

Poor ventilation and high humidity levels are significant condensation causes in homes. To solve this issue, you must install artificial systems to increase ventilation and decrease the moisture in the air. If condensation is left untreated, it can result in the growth of mold that destroys paint, plaster and wooden structures.

Penetrating Damp

Penetrative damp may become evident during and after heavy rainfall because it occurs due to moisture penetrating the walls through cracks or leaks in the wall, roof, faulty plumbing or guttering.

The signs of penetrating damp include dark patches on walls and roof that darken after rain or water exposure. These dark patches can expand horizontally.

Damp is common in older buildings as the modern style of wall insulation prevents moisture from getting insignificantly. However, if you have leaking pipes in sinks, then a newly built home can face this problem too.

Rising Damp

As the name suggests, rising damp rises from the ground and spreads up to the walls because it is caused by moisture that moves up from the floor through the walls. Rising damp occurs when the ground outside your home has poor drainage or retains too much moisture.

You can identify rising damp by the dark, wet marks that rise up the wall, damaging wall paint and leaving white powdery salt-like substance from the water. Rising damp starts from the ground and thus damages floors.

Modern building regulations require buildings to install damp proof course and damp proof membranes into the wall and floors, preventing damp significantly. The damp proof course is a plastic or bitumen felt strip that is built into the walls, whereas damp proof membrane is laid underneath the floor and is made out of waterproof material.


Basement-Conversion-Before

Professional Advice for Dealing with Damp

Professional Help & Advice for Dealing with Damp Problems

Damp is a common problem that should be identified and treated as soon as it gets a foothold in your house. Shockingly, damp problems can cause serious structural and health issues if left untreated. Fortunately, damp can be treated with a few simple steps that we will reveal in this guide.
One of the damp proofing and treatment specialists at Danford Brewer & Ives has shared his professional guidance for people dealing with the issue of damp in their homes. He holds years of experience in offering damp surveys and damp treatments to both commercial and residential properties. His vast experience has allowed him to gain professional insight into how people at home with little or no knowledge can treat various types of damp.

Expert Recommended Treatment for Condensation

Condensation is the most common form of damp and can also be the easiest to resolve. Condensation is caused when everyday actions such as cooking, bathing, washing and drying clothes create moisture in the air. The most common rooms for condensation to form in are the kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms.
The wet air will then target areas of cold surfaces such as windows and external walls. You can identify these areas by looking for blackish mouldy spots, water droplets on the walls and window glass, small puddles of water on windowsills and peeling paint.
There are many small and simple ways in which you can reduce condensation in your property, for example:

  • Ensure that each room has sufficient ventilation, such as opening windows and using extractor fans.
  • Ensure that the property is moderately heated. Without heat, the wall surfaces will become colder and attract further condensation.
  • Make sure that there is sufficient insulation within your loft space. Condensation will form on ceilings where cold spots are created through insufficient insulation.
  • Dry clothes outside. If you dry clothes indoors on radiators, then this will add moisture into the air. Also, if you use a tumble drier ensure it is either vented or a condenser tumble drier.
  • Keep all airbricks clear to allow air to flow around the property.
  • Keep furniture slightly away from the walls to allow air to pass around it.

If the above suggestions do not help improve the condensation issues you are experiencing, then other steps can be taken. Contacting a damp specialist means you will be offered the correct specialist solution to deal with the problem effectively, whether it is a Positive Pressure Unit, heat recovery humidity-controlled extractor fan, additional air vents, improved insulation, heating, or most likely a combination of these to find the correct balance.

Expert’s Recommendation for Damp Penetration

Penetrating damp is caused by water penetration in the walls. The most common reason behind this type of damp is structural issues.
It is vital that the cause of water penetration is dealt with before anything else is treated. Experts suggest checking for the following:

  • High external levels, built up paths or flowerbeds
  • Blocked & overflowing gutters
  • Broken, leaking downpipes
  • Running overflows from cisterns and tanks
  • Porous masonry (under-fired bricks, porous stone, porous mortar)
  • Cracks
  • Defective render & pointing
  • Unfilled joints and perpends
  • Defective seals around doors and windows
  • Holes in walls – e.g. where cables or pipes protrude

If you see blotchy patches with crumbling paint and plaster inside your property that is wet with mould and mildew growth, then, unfortunately, you are dealing with penetrating damp.
Ensuring that your property, especially older properties, is kept well maintained will help prevent penetrating water.
Treatment of penetrating damp can require stripping material back to the bricks, but it only happens in severe cases. Materials that are severely damaged must be removed and replaced. Do not merely paint over damp because it will not solve the problem from spreading further.

Experts’ Recommendation for Rising Damp Treatment

Rising damp is the common term for the slow upward movement of groundwater in the lower sections of walls. Rising damp can be a sign that your walls were not adequately protected from the moisture in the ground outside. It could be that poor drainage is a contributory factor, so it’s certainly worth checking for standing water in crawlspaces and basements. Rising damp has to be corrected as soon as possible because it can lead to severe damage to your house.
Signs of rising damp can include:

  • Tide marks/staining
  • Salting – white powdery substance
  • Peeling paint/wallpaper
  • Skirting boards becoming rotten
  • Plaster blowing/crumbling

To check and treat rising damp, it is essential that you enlist the help of a qualified reputable damp proofing and damp treatment company that can identify the cause of rising damp. These companies can come up with the most effective solution.
No one property is the same which is why Danford Brewer and Ives carry out a thorough damp survey on each property to identify the what the root cause of the damp is and provide a suitable treatment to fix the problem.  If you have a damp issue and would like a professional damp proofing company to take a look then contact DBI today and book a site survey with one of our certified damp surveyors.


rising damp treatments

The Top 4 Rising Damp Treatments

Water ingress is an inevitability. And for property owners it’s also an ongoing struggle, akin to a magician’s plate-spinning routine: just when one problem is fixed, one of the other structural weaknesses will start to teeter.

Whether you live in a farmhouse or a block of flats, the potential for damp looms large. For the latter (save for the upstairs neighbour leaving their bath taps running) condensation, and rainwater would be the main worries. For the homeowner, it’s all of the above - the full-house, as it were.

In this blog, we shall concentrate on the full house. What is rising damp exactly? It’s the common term given to the upward movement of groundwater in the lower sections of walls.

The process is known as capillary action (think of ink rising up blotting paper) and is characterised by a "tide mark" on affected walls.
The tide mark is caused by salts contained in the groundwater. When the water evaporates, the salts will crystallise, causing plaster to deteriorate.

With water continually creeping upwards, the situation will perpetuate and worsen.  Depending on the circumstances, wallpaper might peel; wood will become damp and rot. Moreover, a damp wall will lose more heat than it would otherwise.

It’s perfectly possible that the property already has damp proofing. For example, older houses tend to deploy a layer of slate between the brickwork, while modern houses include damp-proofing in the form of a synthetic damp proof course (DPC), about 15 cm above ground level.

Both serve as a barrier through which water cannot pass. Well, that’s the theory! The reality, however, is that a damp-proof course can be broken or incomplete, which allows moisture to find a way in. This is known as ‘bridging’.

All of this is, of course, the result of our inclement climate. But there are other factors that may hasten the moisture’s collection and progress. Poor drainage, for example, (check crawlspaces and/or the basement for standing water) or that the ground level next to an external wall might have been raised over time. Air bricks might now be blocked, and the ground level might now stand above the original damp-proof course.

So how is rising damp treated? It depends on the severity, and each case is unique. Leading examples of the rising damp treatments which Danford Brewer & Ives offer are:

  • The removal of surrounding soil or bridging material to a minimum of 150mm below the existing damp-proof course;
  • Injecting a chemical damp proof course or in some instances an electro-osmotic system;
  • Replacing any damp or rotten flooring;
  • Removing and replacing any plasterwork, skirting boards, radiators etc. if necessary.

A note of caution: we cannot stress highly enough the competence and experience of the person(s) investigating the problem. Misdiagnoses can and do happen; if the wrong form of treatment is administered, the chances are that it will have a little overall effect.

For example, salts left by rising water might cause plaster to yield; however, the heat from a fire can also cause salts in masonry to crystallise. As such, any damp proof course work in that particular area would be completely unnecessary.

At DB&I, we insist that our surveyors have the industry-standard Certificated Surveyor in Remedial Treatments (CSRT) qualification. (From 1st January 2018, this has been re-named Certificated Surveyor of Timber & Dampness in Buildings (CSTDB), yet it continues to be recognised as a professional qualification for surveyors in the property preservation industry.)

If you have any queries – whether it’s about treating rising damp, damp proofing or any of the other building services Danford Brewer & Ives offers, such as timber treatment, basement conversions, extensions or building maintenance – then please contact us. As ever, we’d be delighted to hear from you.


Basement-stairs

Damp Proofing Specialists Invest In New Technology

Damp Proofing Specialists DBI Invest in New Technology

At Danford Brewer & Ives we are striving to stay up-to-date with technology in the workplace. As within any business, we rely more and more on technology for daily tasks. The damp proofing industry needs to bring itself up-to-speed with technology not only to keep up-to-date but also to attract younger people into the sector. Younger people, whether they are in primary school or high school leavers, are becoming more and more technology-dependent, with most aspects of their lives involving technology at some point. Going into schools, speaking to younger people, informing them of the different roles that are involved in the construction industry, and showing them what technology is involved, will all help to inspire the next generation to join this industry.
So, what ways are we at Danford Brewer & Ives introducing new technology?

Our App

We have introduced a new app into our business which has been researched, developed and written uniquely for us. Working alongside development company Genesis Business Systems, and after 2 years of hard work and investment with the help of CITB, we now have an app which has updated all our systems and is a step towards updating the construction industry. It is also helping us to help the environment, hugely reducing the amount of paper used throughout the company!
Instead of using paper forms for surveys or job details, all our surveyors and site operatives now have tablets with digital forms and the ability to draw and take photos.
The app has allowed us to take enquiries in a more detailed form, ensuring the damp surveyor is provided with more information prior to the survey being carried out. We can record findings more clearly and pass it to the office quicker, allowing customers to receive reports usually within 24-48 hours of the damp survey been carried out. Information passed onto our onsite operatives is also clearer and allows them to complete forms quicker and easier.
Although this app has been designed for us, it can be adapted and rolled out to other businesses in the construction industry.

New website

At the beginning of 2018, our website had a complete make-over! Re-designed to make it easier for customers to view, faster loading speeds, and a live chat section, we hope that our new website provides the information our customers require clearly.

Phone system

Last year we had a new telephone system installed, which has increased the number of our lines, allowed clearer calls and smoother call transfers, with all our regional phone numbers now come in through the new system. We have also updated our on-hold music, which has been composed especially for us by Ryan Blockley!
As well as helping us update our systems, the main aim of using this new technology is to provide a better service for our customers! Happy customers and referrals are what every business desires. We at Danford Brewer & Ives strive to provide the best possible service we can to ensure customers are satisfied and happy.
With the help of new technology, training our staff and updating our methods and systems, we continue to improve. We want more comments like these -
 ‘I have always found the staff at Danford Brewer & Ives to be polite, professional, friendly and extremely helpful.  The surveys are carried out promptly and professionally followed by excellent written reports and I would have no hesitation in recommending their services to others.’
Estate Agents - Richmond
Thanks, can I say that your guy was first class and made every effort to keep the dust down to a minimum.’
I.G – Harrogate
‘very pleased with the efficiency with which the two chaps worked yesterday. Thank you to them as well!’
P.A – Keighley
If you are


damp proofing

How much does damp proofing cost?

Cost of damp proofing

It’s easy to jump to the worst possible conclusion when spotting, say, tell-tale bubbles and/or peeling wallpaper, or perhaps a dank and ugly patch of mould: that your property is as damp as a ducks’ nest, that the situation is catastrophic and that remedying the problem will come at the expense of that trip of a lifetime you’ve been hankering after.
The good news, though, is that it’s rare indeed that damp is as bad as it initially seems. Of course, the wallpaper will have to be stripped and the wall most likely re-plastered. But in most cases, the masonry itself will be retrievable. It simply needs to dry out.

Three main factors are responsible for damp: condensation, rainwater and rising damp, and it’s the latter phenomenon that we’re concerned with here.
So what is it? Rising damp is the common term used for the upward movement of groundwater in the lower sections of walls by a process called capillary action. It’s characterised by a "tide mark" on affected walls, caused by salts contained in the groundwater.
When the water evaporates, the salts crystallise and can cause plaster to deteriorate. And with water continually wending its way up, the situation will perpetuate. (A side-effect of rising damp, incidentally, is that a damp wall will lose more heat.)
So how to tackle the problem? It’s most likely the case that the property already has damp proofing older houses use, for example, a layer of slate between the brickwork, while well-built modern houses include damp proofing in the form of a synthetic damp-proof course (DPC), about 15 cm above ground level, to act as a barrier through which water – in theory - cannot pass.
However, the damp-proof course can be broken or incomplete, allowing moisture to find a way in – or rather up: ‘bridging’ as it is known.
Poor drainage can also be a factor, so it’s certainly worth checking for standing water in crawlspaces and/or the basement. Another factor, meanwhile, might be any raising of the ground level next to an external wall. If air bricks are now blocked, or ground-level stands above the original damp-proof course, then moisture can find a way up.
It stands to reason that the more damp-proof course there is, the less chance there is of rising damp developing. But just a few millimetres of ‘bridging’ is sufficient to cause it.
And how is rising damp treated? That depends on its severity and each case is unique. Examples of the treatments Danford Brewer & Ives offer are:

  • Removing the surrounding soil or bridging material to be a minimum of 150mm below the existing damp-proof course
  • Injecting a chemical damp-proof course
  • Replacing any damp or rotten flooring
  • Removing and replacing any plasterwork, skirting boards, radiators etc. if necessary

One important thing to stress, though, is the competence and experience of the person(s) investigating the problem: misdiagnosis can happen – and since the wrong form of treatment could then be prescribed, the overall cost will eventually be higher.
An example: we mentioned earlier how salts form causing plaster and wallpaper to peel. This might be a feature of rising damp but other phenomena (such as heat from a fire) can also cause salts in masonry to crystallise – resulting, perhaps, in damp-proof course work that is completely unnecessary.
And the cost? A good rough guide is £60 per linear metre +vat. Therefore, an average-sized living room of 4 metres by 4 metres would cost around £270 + vat per wall. But, as mentioned, each case is unique. What we can say with a measure of confidence, though, is that most jobs will take us a couple of days.
If you have any queries – whether it’s about damp proofing or any of the other building services Danford Brewer & Ives offers, such as timber treatment, basement conversions, extensions or building maintenance – then please contact us. As ever, we’d be delighted to hear from you.