Friday, 10 February 2017

H is for Hygroscopic Salts and Replastering a Damp Wall

The A-Z of Damp & Timber from Atlantis Damp Proofing and Timber Specialists Ltd – H is for Hygroscopic Salts

In this episode of The A-Z of Damp from Atlantis Damp & Timber Proofing Specialists Ltd, H is for…… Hygroscopic Salts and re plastering a damp wall.

What are Hygroscopic Salts?

When dampness has been rising from in the wall for some time, the soluble salts (mainly Chloride and Nitrates) become concentrated where the water evaporates from the wall. These deposits of salts are Hygroscopic. This means they attract the everyday moisture found in your home. This ‘dampness’ is not caused by water rising up the capillaries of the building materials. It is due to the dampness in the walls evaporating, and leaving the tell tale tide mark.

Why is marked plasterwork often the first sign something is wrong?

Wall plaster can act almost like blotting paper and can be highly susceptible to both internal and external sources of Damp or moisture. Wall plaster becomes contaminated with dampness from walls, floors and the atmosphere. the presence of a damp stain or salting on the surface of the plaster is a sure sign that something is going on that needs professional investigation.

There are many reasons for the appearance of damp such as rising damp, penetrating damp or condensation. The key to dealing with Damp Plaster is to identify the source of moisture and rectify it wherever possible. Once the source of moisture has been dealt with consideration may need to be given to the replacement of the wall plaster, either in a like material or by selection of an appropriate remedial system.

Can I install a DPC without re- plastering determines the success of Damp proofing?

We believe that the importance of the re-plastering works cannot be over-emphasised. The re plastering determines the success of damp proofing and it must be considered as important as the remedial damp proofing, indeed, if not more important. Once the source of the damp has effectively been removed, the hygroscopic salts remain in the wall and can continue to give the appearance of a damp wall. You may find that dampness will appear when the room is humid and disappear when the air is dry. These salts are efficient at absorbing water from the surrounding environment. As a result plasters and masonry may remain damp even though the source of moisture which caused the build up of the salt has been eliminated.

There are many different types of plaster available. The most commonly used remedial plasters are those incorporating a ‘salt retardant additive. It is vital that a special salt retardant additive is used to hold back any residual salts while still allowing the passage of water vapour. In certain circumstances it may be necessary to use specialist renovating plasters that are specifically manufactured for certain situations. Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists Ltd will ensure you are given the correct advice and solutions. All our work can be supported with an insurance backed guarantee, so when we leave so do your damp problems.


If you think you’ve spotted some signs of damp in your home, contact Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists Ltd to gain expert, honest advice.

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G is for… Garden in your Gutter

G is for….. Garden in your Gutter (causing internal damp)

In this episode of The A-Z of Damp from Atlantis Damp & Timber Proofing Specialists Ltd. G is for…… Gardens in your Gutter (causing internal damp). 

We recently visited a property in Northwich, Cheshire to survey for damp detected on walls internally. A young family had been quoted over £5,000.00 to remedy a reported rising damp problem in their home. They felt this quote was too high and as such were getting some comparisons. One of their friends recommended speaking to us to get a reliable, honest advice from a CSRT expert.

They were right to get a second opinion. There was no rising damp. Using a surface moisture meter, it was identified that there were no readings at skirting board height, or up to a meter high (which would be typical of rising damp). There were, however, high moisture readings. These were in the corners of the rooms at both the front and back elevations on the ground and first floor at ceiling height. An external inspection revealed that the gutters were severely blocked with debris. There was green staining and algae on the wall next to the downspout. This fault corresponded exactly to the dampness that was detected internally.

A blocked gutter can cause damage to your downspouts and water to build up and enter the property through what we term Penetrating Damp. If not repaired, it could also lead to roofing problems, which can, again lead to damp issues internally. As with any damp issue in your home, this could result in thousands of pounds worth of repairs as if you leave it unchecked. Wood rot in your structural timbers can occur.

Gutter and downspout blockages will always happen in your property, sometimes more regularly if your home is surrounded by trees. If you included clearing the gutters in your annual home maintenance plan it will never become a significant issue. As with all types of damp, if you can prevent penetrating damp through water penetration due to leaking gutters is so much more effective than treating it.

To do their job, your gutters and downspouts must be clear of leaves and debris. If they aren’t, drain outlets will dam up and rainwater will fill the gutters, overflow, and eventually pull the gutters loose. During a rainstorm, gutters route runoff from a very large surface—a home’s roof—to where it can drain away from the house. By doing so, they protect walls, windows, doors, and foundations from water damage and help prevent flooding in basements. If your gutters are blocked, they will fail to do the job that they were intended for – directing rain water away from your house and into your drains.

Depending on how hard the gutters are to reach, you can now contact a company to complete this task for you. If you prefer, and it is safe to do so, you can do it yourself. To clean out your gutters you will need: a trowel, ladder, buckets, garden hose, gutter cleaning attachment and gutter sealant. Next you could watch one of the many youtube videos (try on this subject that you could check out for more information on a DIY job.

What should you do next?

If you would like to have a chat with a family run business to get to the root cause of the dampness in your home, we feel confident that we can help you so simply contact us at Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists Ltd for our expert opinion to ensure accurate diagnosis and solutions to your property problem.

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