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DAMP PROOFING SPECIALIST in Ipswich & colchester
Expert Damp Proofing services in
ipswich, suffolk, & colchester, essex
Damp Proofing Specialists are a Damp Company in Ipswich Suffolk *** offering Damp Surveys & Expert Damp Treatments for Rising Damp & Timber Infestations***
We offer services for Damp Proofing & Timber Treatments in Ipswich, Suffolk and surrounding areas. We are damp experts with many years of experience in providing treatment for rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation.
Damp can occur for a number of reasons such as poor ventilation, poor maintenance and a faulty damp proof course (DPC).
Having damp problems in the past was largely due to poor maintenance of the property which has led to leaks. More recently it has been down to poorly developed building work by builders which has not allowed the moisture to escape.
Damp, mould and condensation
There are different types of dampness that may affect your home. Damp Proofing Specialists has some information on this page to help you identify the type of dampness that you may be affected by. Condensation can be the biggest cause of damp in homes.
This information and advice is provided to help you identify the various types of dampness and reduce condensation as well as treating the mould growth often associated with it.
Types of dampness
There are four main types of dampness that could affect your home. It is important to understand the difference between them so the problem can be treated.
Rising damp is caused by water rising from the ground into the home. The water gets through or around a defective damp proof course (DPC) or passes through the natural brickwork if the property was built without a DPC. A DPC is a horizontal layer of waterproof material put in the walls of a building just above ground level. It stops moisture rising through the walls. Rising damp will only affect basements and ground floor rooms. It will normally rise no more than 1 metre above ground level and usually leaves a ‘tide mark’ low down on the wall. You may also notice white salts on the affected areas.
It is worth checking that materials, such as soil or building materials, are not left against the outside of walls as this may allow the dampness to bypass (bridge) the DPC and cause dampness in an otherwise sound wall. Ideally the DPC will be a minimum of 6 inches (150mm) above ground level.
If the DPC has been bypassed it is a simple measure to remove the materials as this will allow the walls to dry out, otherwise the services of a reputable damp proofing specialist should be employed. Tenants should ask their landlord to investigate further.
Mould will rarely be seen where there is rising damp (and then only in the early stages). This is because rising dampness carries with it salts that prevent the growth of mould.
This type of damp will only be found on external walls or, in the case of roof leaks, on ceilings. It only appears because of a defect in the structure of the home, such as missing pointing to the brickwork, missing roof tiles, loose flashing or leaking gutters. These defects then allow water to pass from the outside to the inner surfaces.
Mould may be seen on areas of penetrating dampness. Mould could however be absent as the dampness contains salts picked up when passing through the wall, which may prevent the growth of mould.
Leaks from water and waste pipes, especially in bathrooms and kitchens, are relatively common. They can affect both external and internal walls and ceilings. The affected area looks and feels damp to the touch and stays damp whatever the weather conditions outside. In cases when leaks are not attended to, rot may become established in wooden joists and floor boards leading to a risk of collapse in severe cases.
Mould may be seen with this type of dampness and even fungi are not uncommon if the defects are not addressed.
Condensation and mould growth
This is by far the most common cause of dampness. Condensation is caused by water vapour or moisture in the air, inside the dwelling, coming into contact with a colder surface, such as a window or wall. The drop in temperature causes water to form on the surface. This water may then soak into the wallpaper, paintwork or plasterwork. Mould spores are invisible to the naked eye but are in the air all around us all of the time and will quickly grow on surfaces where condensation has formed into a visible covering.
Condensation mainly occurs during the colder months, whether it is rainy or dry outside. It is usually found in the corners of rooms, north facing walls and on or near windows. It is also found in areas of little air circulation such as behind wardrobes and beds, especially when they are pushed up against external walls.
Mould is almost always seen with this type of dampness and is normally the first symptom to cause concern.
Condensation and mould growth are often due to habits and lifestyles that can be simply reduced or remedied by the householder. Cooking, washing, drying clothes indoors, even breathing, all produce water vapour that can only be seen when tiny drops of water (condensation) appear on colder surfaces such as walls, windows, ceilings or mirrors and often unseen on clothing, shoes and furniture.
The amount of condensation in a home depends upon a number of things, most importantly:
- how much water vapour is produced by the actions of its residents
- how cold or warm the property is
- how much air circulation (ventilation) there is
- how well the property has been insulated
Simply turning up the heating will not sort out the problem, this may only temporarily reduce condensation. All factors may need to be looked at to reduce the problem. The first sign of a problem is often water vapour condensing on windows and other cold surfaces, which then takes a long time to disappear. This allows the surfaces to become damp resulting in mould growing on these damp areas.
Mould spores are invisible to the human eye and are always present in the atmosphere both inside and outside of homes. They only become noticeable when they land on a surface upon which they can grow and then multiply.
Steps to take to reduce condensation and mould growth
Following these steps can help to reduce the amount of condensation and mould growth in your home.
Produce less moisture
Ordinary daily activities produce a lot of moisture, to reduce this:
- dry clothes outdoors if possible. Avoid drying clothes indoors or, if you have to, dry them on a clothes airer in the bathroom with the door closed and either an extractor fan on or with a window open
- ventilate tumble driers to the outside (never into the home)
- cover pans when cooking and turn down to a simmer when they boil.
- do not use paraffin or liquid petroleum (bottled) gas heaters as they produce large amounts of water vapour
- run cold water in to a bath before the hot
Remove excess moisture
- wipe the windows and window sills of your home every morning if water has formed
- open windows and turn extractor fans on before running baths and using showers. Ideally extractor fans will be linked to a humidistat that will automatically operate when moisture in the air is high or to the light switch with an overrun when the light is switched off
- open curtains to allow for better ventilation and for natural light and heat to enter
- clear window sills of clutter that will restrict opening the windows
- leave space between the back of furniture and cold walls. Only place furniture against internal walls if possible
- ventilate cupboards and wardrobes and avoid overfilling them as this prevents air circulating
- do not completely block chimneys and flues, fit with an air vent to provide constant ventilation
Heat your home adequately.
In cold weather, the best way to keep rooms warm and avoid condensation is to keep low background heat on all day rather than short bursts of high heat when you are in the house. Do not be tempted to turn off the radiators in unused rooms as this could give rise to dampness and mould growth that you will be unaware of. Good heating controls on your radiators, room thermostats and a timer will help control the heating throughout your house and manage costs.
- insulate and draught-proof. This will help keep your home warm and save money on your heating bills. Insulate the loft up to a depth of 270 mm
- consider secondary or double glazing
- consider cavity wall insulation
- draught-proof windows and external doors. When draught proofing do not block permanent ventilators or rooms requiring ventilation.
Dealing with mould
Mould can grow on walls, ceilings, furnishings and even on clothes and toys, which can be depressing and a risk to health.
To kill and remove the mould:
- carefully remove mould with a damp cloth and throw away after. Do not brush mould as this releases spores into the air
- wipe down affected areas using a fungicidal wash or diluted bleach, following manufacturer’s instructions
- after treatment, redecorate using a fungicidal paint or wall paper paste. Do not paint over using an ordinary paint
- dry clean or wash clothes affected by mould and shampoo carpets.
- dealing with condensation is not always easy. Only carrying out one or two of the above steps may not solve your problem. You need to do as many as possible every day, so that they become part of your habits and lifestyle.
Warmth versus ventilation
Striking the right balance between warmth and ventilation is important and can be very effective. By opening windows or ventilating your home it may appear that you are losing some heat, but what you are actually doing is allowing warm moisture-laden air to escape and allowing dry air to enter your home.
Many people who have double-glazing installed experience problems with condensation and mould growth that they never had with their old draughty window frames. This is because all the natural draughts around the poorly fitted windows have been sealed. However, by using trickle vents or opening windows slightly, then the necessary ventilation level can be achieved.
Ventilation needs to be provided for an appropriate period of time depending on how much water that you produce in the home and on weather conditions. On a warm dry day ventilation should be done to the maximum, on a cold wet day ventilation may not be of any help except in a bathroom or kitchen where most water is produced. It should not be necessary to leave all windows open all day.
Some of the common signs of damp inside a house include:
- A damp and musty smell
- The appearance of mould or mildew on walls, floors or ceilings
- Walls, floors or ceilings that feel cold or damp
- Dark or discoloured patches on walls or plaster
- Lifting or peeling wallpaper
- Excessive condensation on windows
How to Treat a Damp Basement
You should always make sure to treat damp as soon as you can spot it. Here are some top tips to help you address any small-scale damp issues and protect your basement from damp in the future.
- First, start with diagnosing the cause of the damp. If you can, find out what is causing the humidity and moisture as this will help you to fix it faster
- Make sure your basement is free of leakages. Fix any leakage or pipe breakage and insulate your pipes to stop condensation drips from cold pipes
- Proper ventilation is the key to a dry basement. Make sure you have plenty of efficient vents in and try to keep the humidity to a minimum
- Run a dehumidifier in your basement to control the moisture levels in the air
Despite this, sometimes you need to enlist the help of an expert to employ professional damp proofing techniques and dry out your soggy basement. For instance, basement tanking is a trusted option. It can help to prevent penetrating damp in your basement and will address any existing damp issues that your basement is suffering from.
Please get in touch with us for more information about our damp proofing services and basement tanking in Ipswich, Suffolk, Colchester, Norwich, Norfolk.
DAMP PROOFING SPECIALSITS
Damp Proofing Specialists Offer:
• Damp Proofing Services
• Timber Treatment
• Condensation Control
• Rising Damp Treatment
• Penetrating Damp Treatment
What is damp?
Damp is a common problem, that properties across the UK will suffer from at some stage. If untreated, damp can be extremely damaging to the structure and fabric of your home.
If you are unsure what causes structural dampness, it is the presence of unwanted moisture in the structure of a building. Dampness is caused by either the result of penetration from outside or damp created within the property.
Why does damp occur?
A high proportion of damp problems in buildings is caused by penetrating damp and rising damp. In most cases, dampness is caused by defects or damage to a building like defective roof coverings, render or rainwater gutters and downpipes.
Where can dampness be found?
Dampness can be found anywhere in a building and can affect all types of properties, old and new. It is important that when dampness is suspected you get an accurate diagnosis to determine the type of damp and the cause of the problem.
How can I identify dampness?
At Damp Proofing Specialists, we use a wide range of instruments and techniques in conjunction with our experience to investigate and identify the presence of excessive moisture in buildings. It is important that a professional surveyor assesses your property to determine what is causing the damp.
Is my property damp proof?
It is vital that your property has a damp proofed structure that will protect the building from problems such as penetrating damp, rising damp and below ground damp.
A Damp Proofing system is a moisture control barrier that can be applied to walls, floors and the structure to prevent moisture from passing into the interior living spaces. Damp issues in buildings is extremely common in the UK and damp remedial treatment is one of the most common property care repairs.
What is damp proofing membrane?
The ground below your floor should have a damp-proof membrane to stop damp coming from the ground and a damp-proof membrane can be applied to the internal side of an external wall to stop damp getting to your plaster and decoration. These membranes are also used on wall areas that are below ground level that can be affected by penetrating damp from the ground.
Why remove plaster during damp proofing?
Plaster must be removed during the damp proofing process as rising damp coming from the ground not only brings moisture but also brings hygroscopic salts, nitrates, and chlorides.
Hygroscopic salts attract moisture from the atmosphere. These salts will contaminate the plaster inside the property and even after a remedial DPC has been inserted the salt contaminated plaster can still become damp. It is vital that contaminated plaster is stripped and replaced during the treatment.
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