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There are various forms of damp within properties, which are sometimes incorrectly diagnosed by those looking to gain additional unnecessary expensive repairs, or just because a thorough survey was not undertaken in order to make the right diagnosis. Alpine Damp take their time to make the right diagnosis, utilising numerous survey methods for confirmation. On completion a detailed report will be provided, detailing exactly what has been undertaken as part of the investigation or survey, the results, and our unbiased recommendations for the rectification of the issue.
Detailed below are the various damp classifications:
Some will say that Rising Damp is not a true cause of damp, and others will use it as an easy answer when they cannot diagnose the issue correctly. The fact is that Rising damp does certainly exist, and it is caused by water rising through the Capillaries and Pores of the structure on both the internal and external walls.
The level of Rising Damp is determined by the following three elements, and is known to rise to a level of approximately 1m, although all situations vary. The elements are the material of the wall through which the water is to travel, the level of wetness within the ground below or adjacent to the wall, and the evaporation level within the wall.
As part of our thorough investigation, we will undertake a water pipe leakage survey, and prove if a water leak from a supply pipe or heating pipe could be the source of the damp, and therefore the cause of the problem. Dependant on pipe size and accessibility, we can and will also survey the drainage in order to confirm it as a possible source, or eliminate it from the investigation. Please note that many other Damp Surveyors will not do these surveys, and if Rising Damp is the cause, will diagnose it as ground water levels being the issue.
When moisture rises through the wall, it gets to a level where evaporation will occur. Over a period of time salts will be deposited at the highest point of evaporation. The salts originate from the ground, and when tested prove the case of Rising Damp. This is one of the methods that Alpine Damp will prove it to be Rising Damp or another issue.
In order to reduce the chance of rising damp in properties, Damp Proof Courses (DPC) were introduced in 1935, whereby materials such as Hessian covered in bitumen were used to block the transfer of water from the ground up through the wall structure. Unfortunately although initially such materials provided a positive DPC, over the years the materials deteriorated and broke down, thus allowing the penetration of water. In 1970 there was the introduction of plastic DPC’s which are more durable and flexible with moving structures, thus creating a longer lasting barrier.
Often incorrectly diagnosed as Rising Damp, Penetrating Damp is caused by water penetrating horizontally or from the “top down”. A common cause of Penetrating Damp is where rain and wind drive water horizontally into the building structure directly through porous brick work, or through the external covering such as render where defects or deterioration exist. The penetrated water is attracted by the salts in the structure and the internal warmth, thus drawing it into the property, which in turn causes internal damp.
Another common issue is where the water becomes trapped behind the rendered wall, and it has no escape, therefore leaving only one possibility for evaporation and drying, and that is to pass internally. This is a common issue with solid walls which have been covered with a non-breathable render, such as cement based, as opposed to Lime based materials.
Penetrating Damp can also enter the property via chimney stacks that have absorbed water, through Parapets, or through a leaking roof. The water will enter the property, and penetrate downwards into the rooms beneath.
On a lower level, Penetrating Damp can be caused by internal and external floor and ground levels being incorrect. For example where gardens and paths are raised without knowledge above a DPC, thus causing a bridging effect, and therefore allowing water to penetrate the property. This is another common misdiagnosis of Rising Damp, where a simple rectification will resolve the issue.
In an attempt to stop Penetrating Damp from entering the property, cavity walls were introduced in 1932. This provided two wall skins with a cavity air break of normally 50mm.
So long as the cavity remained free of debris or forms of bridging, the solution would remain successful. After 1982 almost all properties built were constructed using a cavity wall design.
As there are so many variants, and ways in which water can penetrate the structure and property, it is vital that a thorough investigation is undertaken in order to diagnose the actual issue, or in many cases issues. Alpine Damp will do exactly what is required to ascertain the true cause, and provide the minimal recommendations for a positive conclusion, without the need for unnecessary expensive works, including assessing the internal and external levels, surveying the structure for potential defects, and if authorised and necessary, examine the cavity by way of camera inspection.
Even the slightest water leak from an internal or external supply pipe or heating pipe can cause saturation, and in turn internal damp. Depending on the location of the leak, the damp would resemble either Rising Damp or Penetrating Damp. To an extent it is irrelevant which occurs, as it will be proved as a matter of course during the investigation, and the leak will be pinpointed.
Unlike most other Damp Surveyors, Alpine Damp carry Acoustic leak detection equipment on board including Digital Correlation and Ground Microphone equipment, along with Gas Insertion and Pipe Location equipment. Please check this when discussing the problem with other companies, as if they are not equipped, you will need to also pay for a Leak Detection survey to pinpoint the leak, whereas Alpine Damp will include it.
Similar to a supply pipe leak, a leak from a sewer or drain could also cause ground saturation, and over time cause internal damp. Alpine Damp are equipped to inspect small bore pipes up to 100mm in dia. In order to check for defects.