Damp Proofing – Rising Damp
What is it and how can we help?
All masonry structures are in one way or another in contact with the ground below them. Therefore the moisture content of the substrate can rise by capillary action into porous materials such as stone, brick or mortar. The most common route for Rising Damp is through and via the mortar joints and in older properties generally built before 1890, lime mortar was in widespread use. The usage of cement has been slowly replacing lime in modern build but most pre 2nd World War buildings continued to use lime as a standard building medium. The lime acts as a method of damp extraction from a structure and the science and balance of older house construction allowed the moisture to evaporate naturally via the lime plaster to the inside of the walls.
However, when this construction of lime plaster and mortar is intererfered with by the use of modern decorations and building materials (and in particular buildings that have been repointed in cement) the build up of ground salts will slowly undermine the integrity of the internal plaster finishes and can give rise to the permanent presence of Rising Damp. The contaminated plaster acts as a type of blotting paper over the mortar joints and the absorbed moisture will spread to form the band of dampness and typical tide mark associated with Rising Damp. The Ground Salts (Nitrates and Chlorides) will crystallise and turn into a solution within the plaster to form a permanently hygroscopic surface to attract further moisture from within the structure and to attract any Condensation from within the living environment. Condensation is a by-product of modern living and life style and the occurrence of Condensation within homes is escalating almost daily. Therefore it is usual to recommend a Damp Proofing Replastering at the same time as overall Damp proofing Treatment.