What is Dampproofing?

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  • Written By: M.R. Anglin
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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Dampproofing is a method of preventing moisture from entering buildings. Moisture creeping into a building’s wall can be the source for mold problems and can lead to the deterioration of property. In many instances, dampproofing is done by the insertion of a damp proof course (DPC) when the building is being constructed. It can also be done by the insertion of a chemical DPC in the form of a cream. This cream is generally used when repairs to the DPC have to be made.

One major source of dampness in a building is rising damp. Masonry is porous. This characteristic allows water to seep up from the ground and into the walls of a building where it can cause water damage. The water that seeps up can also carry various salts that are hydroscopic, meaning they attract water. This means that even when the moisture is not being pulled up from the ground anymore, the salt can still attract moisture from the air and into the walls, keeping the walls damp.

If this damp were allowed to stay in the walls of a home, mold and fungus could start to grow and can cause health issues. The moisture in the walls can also cause unsightly water stains. In addition, it can cause the timers to rot and deteriorate. Damp walls can also cause structural damage. Dampproofing is used as a preventative measure to rising damp as well as other causes of dampness.


Dampproof courses are often used in the process of dampproofing. A DPC is a substance that is inserted into the building materials when the building is being constructed. It is usually inserted horizontally or vertically and acts as a barrier so water cannot seep into the walls from the ground or from the air. A plastic DPC is often used, though some buildings use slate. If the DPC fails, it can cause a real problem in a property.

In instances where the DPC has failed, where there is no DPC, or in other cases where the DPC has failed, a chemical DPC can be used in dampproofing. One method of doing this is to drill a hole at regular distances in the masonry course and insert the cream. The cream will then form a barrier that can prevent rising damp. Though this technique can be done by a do-it-yourselfer, it may be wise to have a professional come out and look at the property. This is because rising damp is not the only reason for dampness in a property, and repairing the DPC may not solve the problem.


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