What is Damp proofing? Methods and Advantages

Damp proofing

What is Damp proofing?

If you have seen multiple signs of mildew and rot on the walls of your home, then it is highly possible that you have missed your damp proof course appointment. But what is damp proofing, and what is this damp proof course that you need to take care of? Well, damp proofing is nothing but a process that helps prevent mold growth, which could lead to structural damage. It also helps in moisture control, especially where water accumulates, such as on walls and floors. To understand why this occurs, let us take a look at a few of the causes of dampness along with some of the dampness prevention methods in this article.

Causes of Dampness

Understanding why dampness occurs and what the causes of dampness are, is essential if you want to find an effective solution. Here are some of the major factors which contribute to the dampness in buildings:

Poor ventilation

Improper airflow is one of the major concerns due to which there is often dampness occurring in the rooms. A good ventilation system is hence essential to allow fresh air to continuously circulate and reduce any chances of dampness.

Leaking pipes

Leaky pipes which are attached to the walls tend to cause water seepage which also leads to dampness in floors and walls. Regular checking of these pipes and plumbing inspections along with proper maintenance is important when it comes to reducing the chances of dampness.

Inadequate waterproofing

Inadequate waterproofing is one of the main causes of dampness in buildings. This could lead to water penetration through not just walls but also floors, which could destroy the parts of your building.

Moisture from ground

Damping problems can also occur from groundwater seepage into your building’s strong foundation. The water tends to travel upwards due to the capillary action. This can cause accumulation of water in both floors and walls.

Poor drainage

Improper drainage systems also lead to water being collected around the building, which seeps easily into the building and causes dampness.

High humidity

Areas where humidity levels are quite high are more easily prone to dampness. Excess amounts of moisture could lead to air being condensed on surfaces which contributes highly to dampness.

Water leakage

Rainwater leakage is also one of the major causes of dampness in buildings. Due to poor concrete with high porosity, it is highly possible that it can absorb water and lead to water seeping through the structure.

Rising damp

Soil present near the foundation of your building also consists of a lot of water content. Some of the elements of bricks and concrete walls tend to be porous in nature which leads to rising dampness where water gets in through capillary action and you find dampness at various floor levels.

Penetrating damp

Water can also travel through the walls from outside. This can be mainly due to leaking roofs or guttering, or even a simple crack in the wall can help the penetration of water, leading to penetrating dampness.

Methods of Damp proofing

There are various dampness prevention methods that can be used to avoid dampness entering your buildings or rooms. The process involved with the same is called damp proofing. If you want to know what damp proofing is and how it is done here are a few methods through which they work.

Membrane damp proofing

Membrane damp proofing is one of the dampness prevention methods where the water-repellent material or the damp-proof membrane is used as a protection layer of proofing. This proofing method is applied between the structure that consists of dampness problems and the source from where the water enters. The damp proofing materials that are used in this method are bituminous felts, cement concrete, mastic asphalt, epoxy, and polymers.

The materials used tend to create a stud formation of the area to which it is applied which forms an air gap between the spaces they are put. This air gap helps evaporation of water by leaving the walls dry. This damp proofing can either be applied vertically or horizontally.

 Integral damp proofing

Well, what is internal damp proofing now? This type of damp proofing course consists of compounds for proofing which are mixed with concrete that increases the permeability. The proofing compounds are mostly available in powder and liquid form. The integral damping compounds are made mainly from lime, clay, or sand and have extraordinary properties that fill in the empty spaces that are present in concrete and make the structure more resistant to water.

The materials which are used mainly consist of calcium chloride, aluminum sulfate, and alkaline silicates which help in producing waterproof concrete and damp proofing to floors and walls. However, the amount of waterproofing compounds added depends on the requirements of the manufacturer.

Surface treatment

Surface treatment is quite essential to make the floors and walls less permeable to water content that easily seeps in through the pores. So, filling these pores through surface treatment prevents any sort of seepage. Various chemicals are used, such as stearates, calcium, and aluminium oleates. Varnishes, paint, bituminous solutions, and cement coating fall under this category of surface treatment, where surface control of moisture becomes essential.


Guniting is a damp proofing method where deposits of an impervious layer of cement mortar are layered over the area that needs to be waterproofed. The operation is carried out by a piece of equipment called a cement gun. The surface to be treated is initially cleaned of any dirt that is present. Cement and sand are then taken in proportion of about 1:3 or 1:4 and are then added to the machine with which the process is done. This mixture will then be shot on the surface with a pressure of about 2 to 3 kg per square cm by holding the cement gun at a distance of approx. 75 to 90 cm. Since the material applied is done under pressure, there is dense compaction, which makes the area waterproof.

Cavity Wall Construction

The method of cavity wall construction helps prevent the passage of water from the outer walls to the main internal walls. This is done by making a space between the two walls and filling it with an insulated material. The water outside will hence get stopped due to the insulating material and the internal structure remaining undamaged.

Pressure grouting

This is a damp proofing process that involves filling up gaps and cracks that mainly attract moisture inside the structure by using the grout with pressure. This pressure tends to set the grout better and fills in the gaps which allows moisture to travel into the structure.

What Is the Ideal Damp proof Course?

An ideal damp proof course should have multiple properties that will make it last longer and work better on a lot of surfaces. Here are a few of the properties that you might want to know about:

  • Should be durable
  • Must be completely water-resistant
  • Flexible enough to cover most surfaces without any breakage
  • Securely and easily, it can be attached to any surface
  • Dimensionally stable
  • Free from any salts such as sulfates, nitrates, and chlorides
  • It should be readily available and affordable
  • It must be strong enough to withstand large amounts of moisture and loads.

Advantages of Damp proofing:

Dampness usually leads to a lot of problems. However, when you opt to get a damp proofing course done, you get multiple advantages, some of which have been mentioned below.

 Prevent health issues

One of the most important advantages that damp proofing allows is that it prevents any health damage that could occur due to damp walls. Mildew and mold tend to form and thrive in damp conditions, which is the last thing you might want in your house. Mold typically appears in the form of some unsightly brown patches which consist of a dank smell. Some of the health issues attached to mold are headaches, coughing, and wheezing.

Avoid unpleasant smells

Untreated molds, when kept as it is for a long time, can produce certain unpleasant smells inside your house. You may get the smell inside the house however the source might be unknown. The smell of a damp source can be quite overwhelming as well and you do not want your guests to get uncomfortable due to it. A damp-proofing treatment treats such unpleasant smells and keeps mold away from walls and floors.

Prevent structural problems in your building

Damage to property is one of the most serious problems that damp conditions contribute to. Bad damp conditions can actually cause fundamental damage to the timber present in your property. It can also lead to fungus development on the wood present. This makes the wood feel mushy and eventually breaks it down into fibres such that they crumble away. Wallpapers, carpets, and even plasters are affected.

Preserves the property’s value

Unless you get a damp proofing course done professionally, there are high chances that damp conditions will remain prevalent in your household. It is hence recommended that instead of just painting over the damp areas, you need to treat it. Especially if you are going to sell the house you do not want future problems in the house, especially since people might also be investing in the house.

Reduced Maintenance Costs

Long-term savings is another one of the major advantages of getting damp proofing done. By preventing moisture-related damages, you can ensure that the maintenance costs are not that high, and it also means that you do not need to go back and again to the problem. It is a smart investment that benefits not just in terms of protection of your property but also in terms of reduction of maintenance costs.


Do 1internal walls need damp proofing?

If your property consists of damp patches in your inner walls then the best remedy would be damp proofing. It will ensure that no such problems ever occur again.

Can we apply damp proof on wet walls?

Damp proof can be applied easily onto walls that are damp; however, walls that are covered with high levels of water cannot be easily coated with a damp-proof membrane.

What is integral damp proofing?

Integral damp proofing is one of the damp proof courses that involves mixing components into the metal and concrete of the building. It helps in filling up any voids and making it damp-proof.

What are integral damp proofing materials?

The materials used in the integral damp proofing method are
Bituminous felts
Polythene or plastic sheets
Cement Concrete

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