Rising damp problem? All modern buildings today are fitted with a damp proof course beneath the concrete floor slab and between the bricks of the external walls to prevent ground water from rising up into the upper levels of buildings and causing damage to the substrate.
The only way to treat rising damp is to create a new damp-proofing course to prevent moisture movement through the structure. Historically, walls were cut into and masonry removed to install a new physical damp-proofing course along the masonry line.
DPC sheeting has been used in the building industry for over 50 years. If fitted properly the DPC sheeting will prove to be a long term barrier against rising damp.
It does happen that DPC sheeting is fitted incorrectly or is damaged during the construction stage allow moisture to enter. Another common problem is that contractors for some reason only fit DPC sheeting under the bricks thus leaving the floor slab totally unprotected.
When this happens damage to your wall to wall carpets/floor tiles can occur. This moisture travels literally until a suitable exit is found. This exit is normally an internal wall in the home/building.
Before DPC was used the common method of fitted a DPC was a product called malthoid. Malthoid is still found in many parts of South Africa, especially in the older homes built in the early 1960s.
The problem with Malthoid is that eventually becomes brittle and cracks allowing allowing moisture ingress. Once the moisture has found its weakest point it will eventually cause damaged to all walls in your property. Moisture always will find the weakest point to enter the brickwork, therefore it is important to really treat the whole area where the Malthoid has been fitted. The rise of water through concrete and brickwork is referred to as capillary action.
Rising damp that is left untreated will rise to between 1.2 and 1.3 meters. Any damp appearing above this height would be from another cause i.e., lateral damp, penetrating damp and descending damp etc.
Remember rising damp will be found in all boundary walls on your property. Municipal by–laws do not allow the fitting of DPC (reason being is that homes have 4 walls to bind the property and boundary walls don’t).
Face brick and unplastered walls are not as badly affected as plastered walls. The presence of efflorescence salts can normally be washed down with a high pressure cleaner on unplastered walls.
The only method to cure the problem on plastered walls is to tank the walls to between 1.3 and 1.5 meters above the ground level.
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