When renovating, problems can sometimes be detected in the building that require addressing before the structural changes and beautification stage can begin. One good example of this is a damp house. This is a serious problem as damp houses cause building defects, are unhealthy and can be costly to repair if the issue is not addressed promptly. Types of dampness are – Condensation/Horizontal/Falling & most commonly Rising damp. Signs of dampness are surface stains, lifted surface finishes, efflorescence and fretting.
Award winning Architects and Designers Balance Architecture + Interior Design come across these tell-tale signs in some of the heritage houses they renovate or remodel. The most common reason for a building to develop problems with damp is that there are changes to the conditions at the base of a wall that puts pressure on the damp proof course. An example of this would be a mortar mix that does not have enough waterproof compound mixed into it. Rising damp is where accumulating water works its way up the wall using capillary like action. The damp- proof courses that are installed during building are intended to block this action. Minor movements can cause cracking to the damp proof course, allowing water ingress and thus rising damp.
In one renovation Balance Architecture + Interior Design began work upon they discovered there was no damp proof course when the brickwork was exposed after the skirting board was removed. The accompanying picture clearly illustrates this. To solve this problem holes were drilled into the mortar joint and a plastic syringe was installed. A product named ‘Silane-Siloane Based Impregnant’ was introduced into the syringes and left to drain slowly, saturating bricks and mortar joints. The product dries and solidifies creating an effective damp proof course.
For more information see SAA Masonry Code. AS3700. Balance Architecture + Interior Design call on damp proof experts Tech-Dry to help when faced with damp houses.