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Renovation

Dampness in structure—sources, effects and solutions

Simply put, damp is an excess of moisture that can’t escape from a structure.

Simply put, damp is an excess of moisture that can’t escape from a structure. But this simple definition hides the fact that dampness in a building structure is a silent and often undetected menace that can wreak havoc on your building or home, often capable of causing severe damage to your safety and health. That is why it is important to deal with damp through a methodical approach based on solving both the obvious and hidden causes. Once you have found the source of dampness, you can look at effective treatment and prevention involving a combination of good ventilation, quality waterproofing and good maintenance.

Common Causes of Dampness: 

  1. Roof leaks are a major source of water entering the structure, causing dampness. 
  2. Poor quality construction material often becomes a cause of dampness. 
  3. Cavities and holes kept for erection of scaffolding and later not filled properly with concrete can become a source of attracting and storing moisture.
  4. Poor or inadequate waterproofing measures in the foundation, water tank, external walls or bathrooms can be the worst source of moisture ingress.
  5. Defective window sills can allow stagnation of water, leading to damp patches. 
  6. Leaking and clogged pipes – soil, waste water, rain water, or water supply pipes can all allow water to enter the walls. 
  7. Presence of salt in the plaster or in the sand used for plaster may lead to dampness. 

Effects of Dampness: 

  1. Moisture trapped in a building will invariably lead to unhygienic conditions, leading to a serious threat to the health of people living there. 
  2. Dampness in a structure can lead to decay and disintegration of materials like bricks, stone, steel, timber, etc. through moss, fungus and corrosion. 
  3. Efflorescence is produced by the entrance of moisture in the brickwork which usually contains various soluble salts. These salts are dissolved by the water and seeping from the pores of the bricks, they crystallise and cause disintegration of bricks. 
  4. Moisture ingress can damage your furniture and other wooden fixtures. 
  5. Severe damp can damage to electrical installations and metal fixtures. 
  6. Blistering, flaking and bleaching of paint.
  7. Unchecked moisture can reduce the life of the structure. 

Dampness Remedies: 
Before selecting a method for a permanent remedy against dampness in walls, the cause of dampness should be investigated. Once the cause is established, correct remedial action can be taken.

Dampness due to leakage from the roof 
Terrace waterproofing is a very critical area as it is always exposed to harsh weather conditions, climatic changes and rains. Over time the deterioration of the terrace surface will increase leading to more damage. Dr. Fixit Newcoat, an acrylic brush applied waterproof coating for large terraces can be used without breaking existing brickbat coba, and bridge cracks upto 2 mm. It’s a tough and resilient waterproof coating with a life expectancy of over 5 years.

External Wall Waterproofing
External walls are built with masonry to fill the spaces in the RCC frame containing slabs, beams and columns. This lends itself to seepage of rain from the external walls to the interiors. Cracks in plasters lead to water seepage. Use a high performance waterproof coating that would prevent seepage of water from the external walls to the interiors of the building.   Dr. Fixit CrackX is a ready to use water based acrylic crack filler that seals the cracks up to 5 mm. If the cracks are more than 5 mm, use nonshrink crack filler Dr. Fixit CrackX Shrinkfree . Painting is possible after 24 hours. Unlike cement that permits seepage, Dr. Fixit CrackX is waterproof and is ideal for small cracks.

Internal Wall Repairs
Damp patches on the walls and ceilings are usually the first sign of water ingress. You need a specialised treatment to arrest this dampness permanently. Dr. Fixit Wonderproof system is a trusted waterproofing treatment for severe internal dampness. It is directly applied on the damp internal wall by brush and is very easy to use. This treated wall can be plastered with waterproof levelling plaster to remove the undulations and give a smooth finish.

Bathroom Waterproofing
Your bathroom has four critical areas which usually start leaking. Sunken portion or floor bed, Nahanitrap and drainage pipes, Sanitary fittings and Shower Splash zone are all prone to leaking. Dr. Fixit Bathseal Kit is a comprehensive kit for ensuring that dampness is kept away from your bathroom for many years, as it takes care of all the critical areas.