Moisture, if not controlled in the beginning can do great harm to our properties and valuable belongings. As such, necessary steps must be initiated to kill it in the beginning itself. First of all we should recognize the symptoms of damp that rises upward in the brick walls or through fine minute openings in the masonry known as capillary action. Water can move up the wall up to more than 1.5 metres that results in damage of the walls’ plaster that absorbs the moisture. The dissolved salts in the ground water are left behind in the wall when the water evaporates. Categorised as sulphates, chlorides and nitrates; they draw the moisture extensively if we do not remove them fully.
Rising damp can be recognized as under –
a. Appearance of crystals or white powder on the wall surface.
b. Furniture and walls have mold, tidemarks, wet patches or stains.
c. Wall paper being lifted at certain points.
d. Paint not adhering to the walls.
e. Bubbles on the plaster.
f. Rusting iron fasteners or steel.
g. Rotting floorboards, skirting boards or window frames.
h. Bricks and stonework on the building backside have crumbling mortar in between.
Hazardous impacts – Excess of the rising damp results in great damages to the building structures including the staircases, their underneath supports that may fall down and cause great inconvenience & financial loss to the building owners. Additionally, rising damp is a solid reason for dangerous hazards to our health, i.e. allergy and respiratory diseases.
Identification of reasons & apt solutions – The direction of the rising damp must be examined. Faulty DPC at the ground level causes damp to rise continuously. There may be some trouble with the physical casing too. The exteriors of our properties must be examined to ensure that water is not carried to a level higher than the DPC and the surfaces should be in slopes. Water leakage on to the walls due to broken drainpipes, blocked guttering, flashing or roofing must be controlled. The sides of the building must be free from blockages. Any harm to the waterproof surface due to damaged brickwork etc should be checked properly. Condensation should be eliminated from the boilers, bathrooms and kitchens etc with proper ventilation. Grouting or waterproof sealant must be perfect between the shower bathtubs/shower trays or the walls. Joints of the pipe work should be examined carefully. Hygroscopic salts should be eliminated if the damp appears above the fireplace in the walls.
Removal of moisture through identification and elimination of its sources is a must to get rid of rising damp. Drainpipes and guttering should be fixed properly with good ventilation in the rooms and underneath the floors. Repairs if any must be carried out in an even manner otherwise the defects may lead to complex problems. Fresh damp proof may be fixed after removal of the defects and internal rotten woodwork, if any. Plaster may be cleaned and made dry if the damp exists due to condensation. Plaster-mix with silicone-based waterproofing and fungicidal addictive may be used for re-plastering to avoid expansion of rising dam. Plaster-mix containing a silicone-based waterproofing, fungicidal additive should be used during replastering.