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Damp proofing is a general term use for a variety of treatments to prevent the rising damp in walls. Common in basements and older brickwork, damp get's trapped within your walls when moisture penetrates tiny cracks then moves through the pores of the masonry, damp will continue to rise until it reaches a height where gravity takes over and pulls it down again. There are many different ways of dealing with damp, most involve removing internal plasterwork to treat the affected area behind, so it is often a messy job.
Rising damp will occur in almost any structure not properly protected against it. The most common form of treatment involves the installation of a chemical Damp Proofing Cream which will usually mean hiring a professional damp proofing company who will perform the work using specialist injection equipment. They will then re-plaster your walls using a salt retardant additive.
The cost of having damp proofing treatment done varies greatly depending on the property and how many rooms are affected, how big the areas are, and whether or not the areas are on the ground floor or higher floors. If possible, whenever hiring a damp proofing specialist try and find someone you know who has had a damp-proofing treatment done and ask if they recommend the company they used. If you don't know anyone who has had damp proofing work done, then The British Wood Preserving and Damp-proofing Association can supply a list of contractors in your area who are part of the Government endorsed Trust-mark scheme.
Some damp proofing contractors today are using electro osmotic damp proofing, rather than the more tradition chemical methods. The electro osmotic damp proofing method uses small electrical charges to move the moisture within the wall harmlessly back into the ground. As long as the positive charge is maintained, the protected walls remain dry and free of damp. To achieve this professionals will run small titanium wires around your house, inserting sections into small holes drilled in the walls. The wires are connected to a computer system which monitors the wall at regular intervals and the costs of running it are extremely small, the cost in electricity is similar to the cost of running your doorbell.
If you have a problem with your guttering it can cause major damp problems to your home, when guttering becomes blocked the rain water builds up and overflows damaging bricks and mortar, eventually seeping through the bricks. Roofs also have to be well protected and waterproofed to avoid damp problems and you should inspect your roof twice a year, remembering to also check for loose tiles and the flashing around vents, skylights and chimneys, so water cannot get in and cause lots of damp problems.