Home Repair Tips & Tricks

How to Repair Damp Internal Walls

Damp internal walls should be immediately rectified once observed in the house. Immediate resolution can save your health and money, as letting a damp wall will cost you a significant amount for a new paint job. To treat damp walls, you must first find the underlying cause of the dampness and fix it. Once that is considered, look into the many damp proofing options available and choose the most suitable one for your living space. Here are the practical steps you can take to treat damp internal walls.

The Side Effects of Damp Internal Walls

A major issue many homes across the United Kingdom face is damp walls. It is an all too familiar sight when the damp atmosphere outside begins to show inside your house with unsightly water patches on walls. These patches are usually raised water stains and are accompanied by peeling and cracking paint. These patches are not only aesthetically bad for the house, but their consequent side effects also harm the residents’ health.  Damp walls lend to a decrease in the temperature inside the house as the dampness prevents heat insulation. The musty odour of the dampness is an assault on the senses, and the mould that can grow on these damp walls is a health hazard as the spores can cause damage to respiratory airways when inhaled.

Causes of Damp Walls

In order to fully resolve the damp issue in your house, you need to identify the cause and types of dampness affecting your property. These observations can help you choose the correct damp proofing option and avoid the recurrence of the issue. These are the most common types of damp affecting houses:

1) Rising Damp

Rising damp occurs when groundwater travels through walls due to capillary action. It is akin to the moisture being sucked through a network of tubes in the bricks of the wall where it settles. Rising damp affects ground floor walls and also predominantly affects the skirting. The tell-tale sign of rising damp is the presence of salts, as groundwater contains salt, which begins to show on the walls. The initial symptom of rising damp is deteriorating pain and plaster and wallpaper peeling.

Rising damp is a pretty severe issue as it causes the seeping of moisture into the internal structure of the walls. Treating it requires a damp-proof course that we will discuss further in our treatments section.

2) Condensation

Damp from condensation occurs due to excess water vapour in the house. The excess moisture within the house settles on walls and steams up windows. This usually happens when there is poor ventilation in a house which causes the stagnation of water vapour. The most common sign of damp occurring from condensation is black spot mould on the walls

3) Penetrating Damp

Penetrating damp occurs when moisture from the external façade of the walls seeps in due to building defects. These can include joints and masonry faults and blocked gutters and pipes. This can occur at any level of the house and can be easily observed.

Options for Damp Proofing Internal Walls

There are several options available on the market to fix internal damp walls. The key to choosing the right one is identifying the type of damp and then picking the treatment that will fully resolve it. For example, since rising damp affects the internal structure of walls, it cannot be treated with just damp-proof paint. It is, therefore, essential to do your research when choosing a damp proofing option that best fits your situation. These are the most commonly used treatments for damp walls:

1) Fix Your Damp Proof Course

Properties usually come with a damp-proof course, a barrier that obstructs groundwater from seeping into the wall. Rising damp occurs due to tears in the damp-proof course. You can DIY the fixing, but in case of significant damage to the damp-proof course, it is advisable to hire a professional to bolster your damp-proof course and eliminate rising damp.

2) Damp-Proof Membranes

This treatment best suits penetrating damp. After fixing the external problems causing the moisture to penetrate through the walls, the internal structure should be fitted with damp-proof membranes to avoid recurrence of penetrating damp. These membranes are made of flexible plastic that are impervious to any kind of moisture. They can be fitted into walls and floors to ensure that damp-proofing lasts for long.

3) Damp-Proof Paint

Damp-proof paints contain a water-reactive polymer that does not allow moisture to settle on its surface. This paint can provide the desired finish for your walls and help avoid any condensation damp and the mould that accompanies it.

Step-by-Step Guide

To sum it up follow these steps to treat a damp internal wall:

  • Identify the type and cause of the damp
  • Research the most suitable option for your damp wall
  • Carry out the treatment
  • Clean up and redecorate.

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