Damp Proofing and Rising Damp

If your home has a damp issue, it can cause serious health problems and damage to your property, which can be extremely worrying for homeowners. This means that detecting the signs that your house needs protecting from damp is important.

Waterproofing and damp proofing are two types of proofing that prevent dampness from occurring. Although, due to their protection differences it is worth noting that damp proofed homes are not as watertight as waterproofed ones.

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What is Damp Proofing?

Damp proofing is intended to keep out water vapour in foundation walls. The coating material is asphalt-based to help keep little bits of moisture from harming the surface, consequently stopping rising damp.

When choosing to damp proof your property, note that it is used as an effective compound to an exterior surface to stop ground moisture seeping through the concrete, and not as a means of protecting the whole property from water.

A damp proofed property will have adequate drainage installed at the footing of the building foundations.

However, if there are big cracks in the concrete, damp proofing will not work.

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What's the difference between waterproofing and damp proofing?

The key difference between damp proofing and waterproofing is their ability to prevent water from entering.


Damp proofing involves applying asphalt coatings on the concrete surface to form a membrane. The purpose of the membrane is to inhibit the ground moisture going into the concrete foundation wall, thus preventing rising damp.

Though damp proofing can’t seal large cracks, its goal is to deter moisture infiltration by blocking the capillaries in a concrete wall, which slows water penetration. With a proofing thickness of 10mm, it is a great form of treatment for many homeowners.


Waterproofing is a process designed to stop moisture and water infiltration through walls. It is used in areas with high rainfall.

Waterproofing has a thickness of up to 40mm, and can resist the passage of water through soil, water vapour, and can withstand hydrostatic pressure. Its purpose is to prevent any water from seeping through the concrete.


Overall, waterproofing is used more than damp proofing, as it provides a higher quality coating since it is 4 times thicker. However, damp-proofing is a more cost-effective sealant. It works well in dry climates with surface drainage systems in place to control hydrostatic pressure. For areas that have severe soil water conditions or high water tables, waterproofing will be more beneficial.

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The best type of proofing for keeping your house free from water is by waterproofing the basement or ground level foundations.

Applying a waterproofed coating will prevent any water vapour or liquid from seeping through the structure, helping stop rising damp and a large damp problem developing later on.

By proofing your foundation wall, you can prevent moisture and humidity turning your home into a damp place. Either waterproofing or damp-proofing is required to stop humidity and dampness passing through the concrete foundation walls into the interior space of the ground level.

The price is considerably different for proofing different spaces due to the thicknesses applied and the application service conditions. When choosing to damp proof a concrete foundation wall, the materials used will cost less than to waterproof a basement or crawl space.

Damp proofing uses a membrane material called tar and unmodified asphalt for the coating of the exterior wall. The methods used typically consist of a sealant applied to the exterior walls of the foundations. This is to prevent the movement of soil water into the structure. In terms of protecting your home by damp proof methods, make sure to check soil conditions, water levels, and local drainage conditions.

Depending on the extent of what needs to be done, the proofing cost could be as much as several thousand. The builders will estimate the materials needed for the job, the amount of staff, and the extent of space to be proofed.

An average price for a damp proof wall is around £280 or £60 per metre.

Depending on where you live, it might not be necessary, and waterproofing may be required instead.

However, it’s always worth seeking professional advice to avoid damp problems.

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