Damp Proofing

Damp is an extremely regular problem affecting homes in the UK. Here are some of the damp problems Richardson & Starling combat.

Rising Damp

Rising damp is pretty much what it says on the tin: it is moisture rising up brick or masonry walls from the ground. This might sound strange but your wall can act a bit like a sponge when pulling up the damp. If you are trying to identify if you have rising damp then you need to look out for a stain that looks a bit like a tidemark on the wall, usually lower down. If this is evident in your walls, then you possibly have a rising damp problem which needs taken care of. 

Rising damp can cause damage to your wall decoration, plastering, structural timbers and even furniture. It is potentially unhealthy but damp walls can occur in most types of building structure. 

Initially when buildings are constructed, a rising damp barrier is usually installed in the form of a damp proof course, this is an integral part of the construction. When this barrier becomes damaged or has not been installed correctly rising damp is often the result. Other factors such as condensation, leaking gutters or downpipes, soil retaining walls or leaking plumbing should be considered when making a diagnosis.
How Richardson & Starling Treat Rising Damp
When it comes to rising damp there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution – this is why we complete a detailed survey before we do anything to ensure that we know the cause of the damp before taking action. Then once we know what the damp problems are we will produce a detailed report and one of our skilled technicians will carry out the remedial work necessary to solve your rising damp problem. Depending on the property construction and site conditions, we’ll need to either repair the existing damp proof barrier or create an entirely new damp proofing system. What this generally involves is drilling holes into the base of the wall and injecting a damp proof solution. If the situation requires it, we have other damp proofing systems such as electro- osmosis and membrane systems.

Penetrating Damp

Penetrating damp is a very serious problem, it can get into your property via the roof, walls, the pointing or even the sub ground areas. If you notice any damp, strange watermarks, suspicious growths of mould or unusual smells, you may be looking at a penetrating damp problem. Any damage to timber or plaster can also be a sign. 

Water will always follow the path of least resistance and unfortunately this means that penetrating damp problems are caused primarily by issues with the external envelope of the building itself. This could be anything from porous masonry or render, damage to the roof or rainwater goods and defective window and door pointing.

Even changes near your house such as garden work can cause penetrating damp to start. If you think you may have penetrating damp, contact Richardson and Starling today to get a survey done.

Basement Damp

As time goes by, we all tend to need more space. Whether this is because of a growing family or just because you’ve acquired more possessions, extra space in your basement can be just the way forward: you won’t have to move but you will have plenty of extra space for living areas, bathrooms, offices and more. All this is achievable if you waterproof the basement – and it will add significant value to your property as well.

There are lots of different basement waterproofing systems which we can use to make your basement waterproof in order to avoid basement damp. It will be necessary to carry out a survey of your property to identify the best method to use. From this point we can decide upon the most effective basement waterproofing system for your property. We offer a 10 year guarantee on our basement waterproofing systems. 
Basement waterproofing

Condensation

Condensation is probably the most common causes of dampness within buildings. A report by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) estimated that one and a half million homes in the UK are badly affected by condensation. Condensation occurs when warm moist air is cooled and no longer has the capacity to hold so much water in vapour form. Typically, this can be seen to occur at cold surfaces such as windowpanes as mist or cold water pipes as droplets of water. 

A brief summary of the terminology 
The amount of water (or moisture), which can be held by air, (the humidity) depends on the air temperature. The warmer the air the more water (or moisture) it can hold. The temperature at which the air cannot hold any more moisture is described as the dew point. The dew point is the point at which condensation occurs (water or moisture that was in the air has condensed to liquid on a surface that was at or below dew point) As the air temperature increases the dew point temperature will be determined by the amount of moisture in the air and the air temperature. The relative humidity is the amount of moisture in the air relative to how much moisture the air can hold at that temperature. So, at any given air temperature, increasing the moisture in the air will increase the dew point temperature. As the humidity increases the relative humidity increases and the risk that relative humidity will reach the 100%. The Dew point temperature occurs when relative humidity reaches 100% (and vice-versa). The inter-related nature of temperature, humidity, relative humidity and dew point can be seen from examination of a “psychometric chart”.
Condensation on the window
Some points to consider
The amount of moisture within the air in a building varies continuously. Certain lifestyle activities generate moisture and these will increase the amount of moisture in the air. Examples of these are cooking, drying clothes, bathing and even breathing. Such activities need not always produce a condensation problem. The moisture can be dispersed out through an open window or extractor fan, or it may condense on a nearby windowpane and be easily wiped away. It is where the moist air goes and the temperature of the surfaces it goes to that will determine whether a condensation problem is produced. When the air is heated in a property the air is capable of holding the moisture as vapour to the extent that can be seen from the psychometric chart. Most properties are not heated to the same temperature in all areas all the time. For example, it is not unusual to heat a living room to a higher temperature than a bedroom. This means that the air in the living room can hold more water vapour than the air in the bedroom. Typically, moisture generated in the kitchen and bathroom might be allowed to escape into the whole house. This might typically result in some local visible condensation in the kitchen and bathroom, no signs of a problem in the living room, but some damp patches and mould on walls in the bedroom. Unless a survey is made of the varying temperatures and humidity levels within a property it can be difficult to predict whether the property is likely to be affected by a condensation problem. The factors that cause the problem, vary all the time. It is certainly true that the tendency in recent years to draught proof houses and insulate to conserve energy has reduced the amount of air (and therefore airborne moisture) escaping to the outside. This has had the effect of retaining the moist air and increasing the overall humidity levels. The reduction in ventilation and increase in humidity can also encourage mould growth. These are often the first visible sign that a problem is present. Relative humidity does not require to be as high as 100% for mould growth to occur. Mould growth can occur when the relative humidity is around 70%. This often happens in a part of a property that is less well heated and where the ventilation is reduced. For example: a cupboard or wardrobe on the external wall of a back bedroom. Although there may not be visible wetness due to condensation. The temperature in this location may not be as consistently high as that throughout the house, and as a result the relative humidity can be locally increased to above 70% at certain times of the day. That can be sufficient to support mould growth. It is fairly easy to spot a condensation problem when there is visible evidence of moisture on a window or cold water pipe. Mould growth can occur before the problem is visible in that way. The conditions, which produce condensation and related problems of mould growth depend also to a great extent on the temperature and humidity of the air outside the building. It is not uncommon therefore for a house to be affected by condensation or mould growth only at certain times of the year. In such cases it would be unlikely that altering the ventilation alone would be sufficient to reduce or eliminate the problem. A successful strategy for combating condensation will usually depend on a number of factors. Since these will be most likely to produce a successful result. 

FOUR ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS NEED TO BE CONSIDERED:
  • Reduce humidity
  • Improve air circulation
  • Improve insulation
  • Improve overall background heating. 
There are a number of ways of dealing with each factor and the most appropriate will depend on the individual property. It is generally true that more than one factor will require modification. It makes good sense to start with the simplest and least expensive option which typically might be the installation of extractor fans in kitchen and bathroom, the places where most of the airborne moisture is generated. A monitoring period should be allowed after each course of action is taken so that the contribution of each factor can be evaluated.

Plumbing Leaks

Looking after a property can be quite a tough task, not easily undertaken without the proper skills. The truth is that maintaining any building is a job for several trades, and this can lead to miscommunication – different contractors hired from different companies can misunderstand each other’s remit and this in turn leads to jobs done poorly. A plumbing leak is a common issue which can lead to deterioration of the property fabric. Richardson & Starling has the answer to this problem. 

Our team of property maintenance experts is drawn from every trade necessary for a comprehensive maintenance programme. This includes everything from plumbing and electrics through to painting and decorating. Maintenance can be carried out on a one off basis or as part of an ongoing maintenance contract. 

You can be assured that Richardson & Starling are committed to providing the highest level of professionalism, service response and quality workmanship to ensure that we meet the high standards set by us as your service provider. 
Plumbing leaks

Flooding

The first thing which separates flood, fire and storm damage from any other property repair problem is how suddenly it occurs and can be catastrophic to the property affected; you may suspect a dry rot problem or rising damp issue for a while but the kind of cataclysmic damage we are talking about when it comes to water damage comes along very abruptly and sometimes without warning. To make matters worse, it is normally pretty severe, which is why you need someone like Richardson & Starling to take care of your water damage repair quickly and effectively.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Damp Proofing

Your team take a real pride in their work. Thanks for a great job done.

Mrs McAllister
Ayr
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