Rising Damp: Treat It Right or Treat It Twice
Having to deal with rising damp is stressful for homeowners. Once they have found the problem, they have to search for a reputable surveyor and contractor to come and remedy the problem. They then have to deal with the expense and disruption of the actual rising damp treatment works being carried out before they can even think about redecorating and returning their property to normal.
Considering the above, it is vitally important for both the homeowner and the contractor carrying out the works that their treatment method fixes the problem permanently. A reoccurrence of the rising damp will mean further disruption and stress for the homeowner. It will also cause reputational damage for the contractor, as well as costing time and money to carry out further repairs.
What Causes Rising Damp Treatments to Fail?
The most common method for treating rising damp is to remove salt-contaminated plaster and then inject a silicone damp-proofing cream at regular intervals into holes drilled along a horizontal mortar course on the affected wall. On a successful treatment, the active silicone ingredient contained within the cream will spread through the mortar course and cure to form a waterproof barrier to damp. The wall is then replastered using a salt-resistant plaster or render.
The most common point of failure with this treatment method is the damp-proofing cream. If a damp-proofing cream with an insufficient amount of silicone active ingredient is used or an insufficient amount of cream has been injected, this waterproof barrier will not properly form and the damp will not be halted.
Not all damp-proofing creams were created equal. A good high-strength damp-proofing cream, such as Dryzone Damp-Proofing Cream, will contain at least 60% active ingredient and create a long-lasting barrier to rising damp. Some creams on the market, however, contain less than 15% active ingredient.
When those low-strength creams were tested in laboratory conditions against Dryzone Damp-Proofing Cream they were shown to not diffuse far enough and proved to be ineffective at combating rising damp, even though they had the same UK certification as the high-strength creams.
Do it Right
Even if the correct materials are used, the rising damp treatment can still fail due to operator error. Often, when a high-strength damp-proofing treatment has failed, it is because the installation operative has not fully filled the injection hole with cream. It can also be the case that a void or fissure in the injection hole has caused the cream to be directed away from the treatment location. In both cases, the waterproof barrier will not properly form due to an inadequate amount of active ingredient being delivered.
Making Matters Worse
Another variable that can further exacerbate a failed damp-proofing cream treatment is the choice of material used for replastering. The height of rising damp is determined by both the porosity of the building materials and the rate of evaporation. If a very dense and non-vapour permeable material, like sand and cement render, is used to replaster over a failed rising damp treatment then it can actually push the height of the damp higher than its original height, causing further damage.
To ensure this does not occur, it is highly recommended to use a breathable salt and damp-proof renovation plaster, such as Dryzone Damp-Resistant Plaster. This means that, if a failure of the damp-proofing cream was to occur, the rising damp would not rise any higher than it originally did.
Fix the Failure with Dryrod
The best way to avoid treatment failure is to use Dryrod Damp-Proofing Rods. These patented fibre rods are directly impregnated with the correct amount of active ingredient to treat rising damp. Just like damp-proofing creams, they are inserted into holes drilled along a horizontal mortar course.
As Dryrod Damp-Proofing Rods are directly impregnated with the active ingredient, they represent the best available performance in the remedial damp-proof course category. They also contain exactly the correct amount of active ingredient for their given length, ensuring the right amount of material is delivered and under-treatment is not a worry.
Second Time’s the Charm
When a rising damp treatment has failed, it is necessary to install a second damp-proof course treatment. If you are using damp-proofing creams, this treatment must take place on a separate mortar line to the original. Even though the first treatment was unsuccessful, the drill holes will have cured to stop the spread of the cream.
If, however, Dryrod Damp-Proofing Rods are used to carry out the retreatment, the original drill holes can be used. The unique chemical formulation of the active ingredient contained within the rods is able to diffuse throughout the previously treated mortar course.