Property Waterproofing

Richardson & Starling have been solving property damp issues above and below ground level since 1935. When it comes to damp or damp problems in your home it is important that the correct diagnosis is made by a qualified surveyor as the wrong diagnosis will lead to the wrong repair works being done. 75% of all property surveys we carry out in Scotland and the North of England are due to damp problems, in all types of properties, new and old, big and small, domestic and commercial.

Basement Waterproofing Systems 

When space is below ground level it can be susceptible to water damage simply due to gravity forcing water in the ground to flow into voids. When this water makes its way through the basement walls it carries other materials such as silt with it. When the air is cold and damp this can cause condensation and worse than this, mould. Basement waterproofing systems are a great way to protect your home against damage and high cost repairs. Once ready to sell it will also add significant value to your property.

At Richardson and Starling, we take a varied approach to keeping spaces below the external ground level dry. From traditional tanking through to modern water management techniques using cavity wall membrane, specialist drainage channels, waterproof flooring and removal of water using sumps and pumps; our CSSW (Certified Surveyor in Structural Waterproofing) qualified and experienced surveyors can create a waterproofing solution for any property. There are several ways our teams can do this, every property is different and during your property survey which is completed by a member of our team, we will talk you through the following options:
Cavity Wall Membrane
A cavity wall membrane or cavity drain waterproofing system is often referred to as ‘the professionals waterproofing system of choice’. It is used internationally and is highly maintainable. A cavity wall membrane is ideal for new builds or refurbished basements and cellars. They are fixed to earth retained walls so that any water penetration can be diverted to drains outside of the property. The waterproofing system is specified to the British Standard for below ground waterproofing BS:8102.

Sump and Pump Water Removal
A sump pump is a pump used to remove water that has collected in a sump basin which is situated in the basement of your home. They are often used in conjunction with cavity wall membranes to get rid of the water that the wall membrane has collected. A sump pump can even be used to extract rain water or ground water where a basement waterproofing system has not yet been used. Sump pumps are used where basement flooding happens regularly and is causing dampness. A sump pump sends any unwanted water to an external area which manages the water, such as an outside drain.
Basement waterproofing system
Cement Tanking 
Cement tanking is a basement waterproofing system which uses a type of liquid coating which is waterproof (also referred to as tanking slurry). This tanking slurry is used to coat the walls and floor of a basement. It is effective on the use of damp walls as it creates a watertight protection to the walls and avoids any further damp through the system. 

It should be noted that cement tanking and cavity wall membrane systems are very different in that tanking slurry holds back any water from entering the basement whereas cavity systems allow the water in and then evacuates it to an appropriate drain.

Internal and External Application
Our skilled surveyors will analyse the best option for you. Some cases require interior basement waterproofing and others require external basement waterproofing. Sometimes both methods must be utilised and is noted in the British standard BS 8102 as Type A or Type C waterproofing systems

The Benefits of Basement Waterproofing 

Basement after waterproofing
Increase Space and Value 
Apart from the obvious fact that a basement increases the space in your home, and waterproofing this area will make it liveable, Basement waterproofing also increases the value of your property for when you are ready to sell. If you have a basement or a cellar in your property which is currently not in use you are missing out on a huge amount of potential space in your home, almost an entire floor in some cases. Basements make fantastic game rooms, offices or just general living spaces. 

Save on Energy Costs
You may have not thought that basement waterproofing could save you money on your electricity bills but if you seal up the cracks in your basement it prevents any hot air from escaping or cold air from intruding. The upgrading of a basement area can include the introduction of insulation to the floor and walls improving the thermal efficiency of the property.
Avoid Health Risks
It is common knowledge that water and humidity can cause mould to grow, sometimes this mould can be toxic to you and your family’s health. You may think that this can take years to form but black mould can grow in as little as 48-72 hours. This mould could simply be avoided with an effective basement waterproofing system which improves the ambient temperatures of the air and surfaces. 

You are Protecting your Investment 
When most people buy their property they have worked extremely hard to save; put blood, sweat and tears into the renovation and they consider it to be one of their proudest achievements. There is no point in spending all that time and money achieving something to cut corners on the waterproofing. By using a basement waterproofing system, you are protecting your investment from water and damp affecting your property fabric and living environment. 

Penetrating Damp

One of the key factors which leads to defective property fabric is penetrating damp. Penetrating damp can be very serious and happens quite easily. The damp can get into your property via the roof, walls, below ground basements and soil retaining walls. 
Property Waterproofing
Signs of Penetrating Damp 
Penetrating damp can be identified in a variety of ways. It could be in the form of blotchy patches of damp on internal walls, if it looks like your plaster is deteriorating that could be penetrating damp or any damage to timber or skirting boards; if they are damp and deteriorating. A big sign of penetrating damp is strange growths of mould or an unusual damp smell with condensation occurring on the existing cold damp walls. Older buildings made of solid brick are more likely to suffer from penetrating damp however penetrating damp can pass through cavity brick walls that have been filled with cavity wall insulation.

Causes of Penetrating Damp 
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. Penetrating damp is often due to materials used in the construction of the building that have become porous and unfit for purpose. These materials tend to lose their ability to keep out rain with age – therefore older buildings are usually more likely to suffer from penetrating damp. Any damage to your brickwork or roof coverings and flashings can allow water to seep through, causing penetrating damp. General construction defects are also a major cause of penetrating damp; this could be anything from faulty drainpipes to poorly installed windows. Even changes near your house such as garden work can cause penetrating damp to start.

How to Treat Penetrating Damp 
The first stage in treating penetrating damp is that the property must be surveyed to firstly check where the damp is coming from and what is causing it. Richardson & Starling can identify whether penetrating damp is the problem you are having or whether it is something else. The key to treating penetrating damp is to remove the moisture at the source. Some causes of the damp problem will be easier to fix than others and it is important to let the professionals step in if your penetrating damp problem is advanced as misdiagnoses can be expensive. If you want to give it a go yourself there are a few simple steps that could fix the problem:
  • Repointing Doors and Windows – If the pointing around your doors or windows has deteriorated it is important to reseal these as they could be letting the moisture in. Silicone sealant is superior to that of its competitors
  • Repoint Bricks – The same applies to the pointing in your walls, if this has begun to crack or crumble then it is a good idea to go back over these to create a barrier to the moisture.
  • Water Repellent – sealing your walls with a couple of coats of a high-quality water sealer could do the trick. The way these work is they soak into the bricks for a few millimetres to create a water repellent coating. This not only stops rainwater getting through the wall but allows the wall to breath and dry.
  • Check the Cavity Walls – Sometimes there can be a blockage in the cavity wall which is creating the problem. This is a job for the professionals so if the above don’t do the trick or you can’t see what is causing the penetrating damp then give Richardson & Starling a call and we can have one of our surveyors come out to identify the problem.

Your tradesmen were polite, hardworking and left my home tidy.

Mr Pilmoor
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