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How to repair a damp wall

by Patrick Blair on July 29, 2011

We come across damp walls and rising damp almost every week. Whether it’s part of a renovation project or re-decorating job, its a very common problem that we find. Damp walls can be tricky to fix if you don’t know what you’re looking for, and what tools and products you need to correct the problem so that it doesn’t re-occur.

Here’s a few steps you might like to follow if you’re looking to solve the issue of a damp wall in your property.

First things first, you need to identify the source of the damp. This can be trickier than it sounds and in a lot of cases the actual damp is coming from a not so obvious source. Offenders include condensation issues through to leaking pipes, overflows and damp outside walls.

You’ll find that some inside wall damp issues start from outside wall issues so take a thorough review of what might be happening. Take a look at other walls too, and see if the problem might be more widespread than you think. A good guide is to feel the wall. If it feels damp, cold or has any type of condensation, then this might suggest a damp issue.

damp meter to help how to fix damp wallsAlternatively you can use an electrical moisture meters (EMM) if the issue is a lot more serious. Surveyors use these regularly and they are great for measuring how quickly the damp is developing.

Once this has been established two phases of repair must be carried out.

The initial repair is focused on removing the original source of the moisture. Leaks in rainwater goods or plumbing must be mended, proper ventilation beneath floors and through rooms should be re-established, good drainage needs to be restored and usually, a new damp proof course (DPC) must be installed into the damaged area.

If condensation has caused the dampness alone, you can simply wash down the walls, allow them to dry naturally with ventilation and then coat with a layer of (ZOC) zinc oxychloride fungicidal paint which will inhibit the growth of mould, before applying your decorative finish. The period of time you should let the wall dry depends on how severe the damp is. Best advice is not to jump too soon, let it dry out completely before decorating.

If the source of your damp problem is from rising damp it is essential that plasterwork is removed, eliminating any permeated hygroscopic salts which would otherwise persist in absorbing atmospheric moisture, prolonging the problem.

To ensure all hygroscopic salts are removed from the walls and core brickwork, replaster using plaster mix which includes a fungicidal additive and a waterproof silicone-based element. Alternatively, you can apply a coating of plaster base (Platon) to the top of your existing plasterwork. New plasterwork and rendering will then bond to this layer.

Once the groundwork is complete, you’re able to redecorate the walls.

If you need some more help and advice, drop us a line and we’ll send one of our guys over to take a look for you.

Further information on damp

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

rachel carter April 14, 2012 at 3:07 pm

my property is a mid staggered terrace i have damp on the bedroom wall upstairs which appears to be where two properties join can you advise

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