Technician carrying out damp proofing course to exterior wall

Damp Proofing

What is Damp Proofing?

Damp Proofing is a general term used to describe methods and treatments of controlling moisture that has built up within walls and floors into the interior of the property.

It is important to have damp proofing specialists to tackle your damp problem, from the failure of a damp proof course (DPC) to high levels of water ingress and every other type of dampness in between.

Damp can occur for a number of reasons but it is typically as a result of a failing damp proof course (DPC), poor ventilation or poor property maintenance.

Compared to modern buildings, older housing was not specifically designed to stop damp problems by preventing the excess build-up of moisture. The reason for this is that older properties were built entirely from permeable materials with no attempt at damp proofing, unlike the construction of modern buildings.

Historically, most dampness was caused by the lack of maintenance which then led to leaks. However, the most common causes of damp are usually developed by inappropriate building work that stopped moisture from escaping.


A Useful Fact About Damp

The average house in the United Kingdom is exposed to around an average of 28,000 gallons of rainwater hammering down on its exterior per year. So it’s not surprising that damp can become a major headache for any property owner.

Signs That I Need To Damp Proof My House

A common question that is asked by our customers is ‘how do I know if I need damp proofing carried out?’ There are a number of signs that can provide an indication that you have a damp problem, and these are the following:

  • Plaster will start to peel off the walls.
  • Damp and musty smells will be distinctive.
  • Black mould spots on the walls.
  • Tidemarks appear on the walls at about one metre in height.
  • The floors, walls and ceilings will feel cold and damp to the touch.

If you spot any of these signs, we recommend that you contact a damp proofing specialist so they can provide an inspection to check what damp treatment will be needed to rectify the problem.

Does My House Have Damp Proofing In Place?

You might want to check with a specialist to see if you have damp proofing already in place, but you may get an indication by checking the external wall of the property.

If you look at approximately 6 inches from the ground level you should see a plastic sheet or black line running horizontally across the brickwork, this is the physical damp proof course.

A damp proof membrane is used to prevent moisture from finding its way through into the property and is a lot more tricky to identify if there is one place. Damp proof membranes are a membrane material that is laid beneath the concrete floor.

It is one thing to have a damp proof course in place but in a number of cases we have come across the damp proof course is damaged. This can happen as a result of the damp proof course becoming bridged, damage occurring over time, or if it has not been installed correctly in the first place.

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The Different Types of Damp That Can Affect Your Property

There are 3 types of damp that can affect your property, and these are:

Rising damp on walls

Rising Damp

Rising damp is a form of dampness that is present in walls as a result of the water underground (or next to walls) rising through the fabric of the wall.

The biggest cause of rising damp is through the bridging of the damp proof course, or it has become damaged over a period of time. Click below to find out more about what rising damp is and how to treat it:

What is Rising Damp?
Penetrating damp on walls outside a home

Penetrating Damp

The main solution to protecting your property from penetrating damp is to first identify the source of the water ingress that is affecting the property and then control the water ingress.

Leaks from outside of the property are one of the main causes of penetrating damp, this then leads to damp patches on the walls.

Click below to learn more about what is penetrating damp is and what can be done to stop these issues from arising:

What is Penetrating Damp?
Condensation forming on a window


Condensation is by far the most common cause of dampness in buildings, accounting for the majority of damp problems reported. Normally, condensation can be stopped by making simple changes to your daily activities.

Prevention is the best cure to condensation through the use of extractor fans or positive pressure systems.

To find out more about the problems associated with condensation and the methods that can be used to treat the issue click the link below.

What is Condensation?

What Type Of Damp Proofing Solutions Can Be Carried Out?

It may come as no real surprise that dampness in properties is one of the most frequent problems encountered by property owners in the UK.

Spotting the right type of damp treatment to use can be difficult if the person is not fully qualified. Rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation can all look similar, but each will need different damp proofing techniques carried out.

The most recognisable type of damp proofing that is used for getting rid of damp is using a remedial damp proof course. This treatment is applied into the wall to prevent the process of the capillary action (often known as rising damp).

Installation of a Damp Proof Course

A damp proof course is a form of damp proofing treatment that is used to treat rising damp. There are different types of methods that can be used to repair a broken damp-proof course or the installation of a new one.

The most frequently used is the damp proof injection which is the process of holes being drilled into the wall and a cement-based mortar or damp proofing cream is then inserted into the holes.

A damp proof course is not only effective against rising damp but can also stop other damp problems from occurring as well. Rising damp is often misdiagnosed by people who are not fully qualified, so it is always best to contact an experienced damp proofing company that is a member of the Property Care Association which could potentially save you expensive unnecessary treatment.

Damp Proof Membrane Applied Onto Walls

A damp proof membrane is a form of damp treatment that can stop damp coming up from the ground but also is also applied on the internal wall to stop dampness from getting through the inner walls of the property.

Once the water ingress has been treated the membrane creates a cavity that will allow for the evaporation of moisture behind the walls. The use of membranes is often as part of the cavity drain system which prevents water from penetrating through the walls of the basement. Find out more about damp proof membranes by looking at our “how does a damp proof membrane work?” page.

Damp Proofing Process

For any property owner with a damp issue, it is essential that the correct and most efficient damp proofing method is carried out to ensure that the property is made dry and damp free again.

Our specialist surveyors can identify damp problems from both the interior and the exterior of the property. Our highly qualified surveyors and technicians will carry out the following process:

  1. The surveyor will diagnose what damp problem is affecting your home
  2. Assess what treatment will be needed to rectify the damp issue.
  3. A detailed report will be sent to the customer explaining if there are simple changes that can be made at home to reduce damp e.g. condensation or specialist treatment to stop the damp from occurring e.g. installation of a damp proof course.
  4. The qualified technician will remove any damaged plaster or affected timber.
  5. The necessary damp repairs will then be carried out.
  6. Prevention methods will be advised to the customer e.g. use of anti-condensation paint.
  7. Once all the treatment has been completed the property will be left clean and completely safe to use.

By failing to recognise the issue initially and leaving it unchecked further disturbances and problems may occur. Damp can spread and progress through your property, potentially leading to more serious problems such as dry rot and wet rot.

At Timberwise we want to help you identify the different types of damp that can occur within a property and explain what damp treatments are available for each of these problems.

You can contact our damp specialists on 0800 288 8660 or request a survey online where our specialist team will then contact you to arrange a convenient time to visit.

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Damp Proofing Walls

The most notable feature that dampness is affecting your property is from damp walls. Having damp present on walls can cause serious damage to the structural integrity of the property. Having damp affecting your property is the primary cause of wood rot decay. Other issues that can occur from damp walls are health problems such as asthma and other respiratory issues.

Having damp specialists inspect your property can ensure that your damp problem affecting your walls can be treated from a specific form of damp proofing e.g. a damp proof course.

The sooner the damp walls are treated that the less chance there will be for further serious wood-rotting issues to occur, and more expensive treatments needed.

Damp Proofing a Damp Basement or Cellar

If you have a basement or cellar at your property, then this area is potentially vulnerable to damp problems. Instead of damp proofing, it is known as waterproofing which will be needed to provide the basement with protection from dampness.

The reason it is known as waterproofing as opposed to damp proofing, is that there are different systems utilised for below ground to those used for damp treatment above ground.

There are 3 types of waterproofing systems used and these are known as tanking, structural integral protection and drained protection. All types of waterproofing help keep the basement or cellar dry and provide protection from water ingress penetrating the basement.

Are Damp Treatments Guaranteed?

All damp proofing treatments are guaranteed with a long term guarantee of 10 years so you can be rest assured that all damp proof courses will be installed effectively. If in the unlikely event that there is the recurrence of dampness on the walls, then our damp proofing surveyors will be on hand to get rid of the problem at no extra charge.

How Much Will Damp Proofing Cost?

The cost of damp proofing can vary depending on a number of factors:

  • The size of the property
  • The level of damaged caused by damp problems
  • The location of where the damp is affecting the property (e.g. the basement compared to the bedroom)
  • The type of damp problem

All these factors will be taken into consideration when a damp specialist is conducting a survey at the property. Spotting the signs of damp early on can reduce the cost of any work carried out.

Can I Carry Out Damp Proofing Myself?

If the dampness is a result of condensation, then in the majority of cases there are simple measures you can carry out by yourself to reduce the levels of condensation occurring in the property, for example, opening windows when cooking or bathing.

However, damp treatments such as damp proof membrane or a damp proof course will need to be installed by a fully qualified technician to carry out the works.

You can trust our professionals at Timberwise to carry out a high-quality service from the start of the process through to the works being carried out. Here are just a few reasons why you should choose Timberwise to carry out your damp proofing works:

  • Over 50 years’ experience in treating damp at properties across England and Wales
  • Long term guarantees on all of our work. Giving you peace of mind that work will be carried out to the highest of standards.
  • Our surveyors and technicians are fully qualified by the Property Care Association, so they have the expert knowledge to understand how to make sure the property is not only damp free, but also provide preventative methods so that it doesn’t occur again in the near future.

Get in Touch with Our Damp Proofing Specialists

It is vital to correctly identify the damp problem you have so that the correct damp proofing treatment can be put in place for your property. To correctly determine the form of damp treatment required, we would first recommend a damp survey from a fully qualified damp proofing company. Find out more about damp surveys by checking out our “what does a damp survey involve?” page.

Having a damp proofing specialist will be able to provide advice on the causes of the damp problem and how to stop it from causing serious issues such as wood rot.

Timberwise has over 5 decades of experience in identifying and providing solutions to damp using techniques such as a damp proof course. For peace of mind that your problem is rectified, call our experts today on 0800 288 8660 or click below to arrange a damp survey online.

For Your Local Damp Proofing Specialists click the following links:

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