Expert damp treatment and damp proofing
Property dampness can cause musty odours, plaster damage, render damage, floorboard damage, condensation, mould growth and a number of other issues that can impact negatively on both the property structure itself and the inhabitants of the property. Mould growth that occurs when moisture is present can damage clothing, furniture and bedding. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that your property is kept relatively moisture free - and this is achieved by the use of heat and ventilation. Once dampness is established in a property, it must first be dried to reduce the moisture levels. Once dried, it can be permanently healed through heat and ventilation.
Dampness can generally be broken into three categories:
- Rising damp
- Overall damp
- Penetrative damp.
- Often both rising damp and overall damp can be found together in the crawl space and usually are treated at the same time. The treatment of rising damp - damp which rises from below - will involve adding ventilation ( both passive and forced ventilation into the subfloor) to eliminate the causes of rising damp and, at times, injecting a damp course into the mortar course of the brick wall. Rising damp is the end result of excessive moisture in the subfloor crawl space, which will 'wick' up the cavity wall's porous surface and manifest itself internally with plaster deterioration and externally as a salt line on the brickwork.
At its worst it can completely erode bricks and plaster and severely weaken any structure. Rising damp is commonly found in sold brick properties due to their well known propensity to accumulate moisture due to a lack of ventilation. Rising damp has traditionally been treated with a damp course treatment - namely the injection of a damp-proofing chemical barrier which separates the subfloor moisture from the living areas. The treatment of rising damp offered by Dampco involves the injection of a damp proofing solution into the mortar course and it offers a 15 year warranty. Used around Australia with absolute success in all manner of buildings, the treatment is, in many instances where access is limited, the main option for keeping sub floor moisture separated from the living area of the building.
- Overall dampness is treated by drying and then ventilating the affected area. This condition is typically found in sold brick buildings, where each room in the living area is mirrored by a cavity in the subfloor, often with little or no entry points between the different sub floor cavities. Air circulation is often very limited and this leads to a build up of overall damp throughout the subfloor. The treatment for this type of dampness is to increase ventilation, either through the use of added passive vents or mechanical ventilation - or both.
- Penetrative damp - damp which permeates a porous wall from the side or even above - is typically treated via drying and then applying a waterproof membrane or slurry to either or both the internal and external wall. Frequently occurring on basement walls, (typically found in split level homes where the external wall of the property is soil bound and the floor level is lower than the soil on the external wall), it is common to have moisture penetration into the living area and contamination and deterioration of both the external brick wall and the internal brick or plaster wall. Our wet basement solutions for Melbourne homes generally involves installing a waterproof membrane with a waterproof membrane and slurry which permeates into the mortar and brickwork and eradicates moisture penetration into the living area. Patios and balcony often can also leak moisture from one floor of an apartment building to another below. In this instance, the application of both a waterproof membrane and a polyurethane sealant for all joints where one surface meets another.
Whilst wet basement solutions and damp proofing will create a barrier on the wall to protect against subfloor moisture, it does NOT assist the rest of the floor to resist moisture. If the property has an overall dampness and moisture issue then drying and adding ventilation will, in most instances, still be required. The injection of a dampcourse coupled with drying and ventilating will offer the very best solution to damp and therefore rising damp problems.
The process of increasing ventilation of a subfloor is typically addressed via a ducted system which can involve from 1 to up to 4 fans mounted in the crawl space. Our company specialises in ducted systems which cycle fresh and stale air from the property. One fan will draw fresh air into the crawlspace whilst one or more fans will remove the moist, stale air from the crawl space. It is important to be aware that each subfloor cavity (solid brick houses have cavities in the subfloor which mirror each room in the habitable area) will require a ducted outlet to extract the moisture.
Fans installed on the external brick wall of a property, whilst cheaper, are not nearly as effective as ducted systems and should only be used when access to the subfloor in not possible.
If you would like to request a quote for either damp proofing or wet basement solutions for your Melbourne home then call us on 1300 382 826 or email us for more details or to arrange for a free inspection and report.