Commercial properties are designed to house tens or even hundreds of people, so they must follow all safety measures. One of these measures is commercial damp-proofing, as dampness is a common and dangerous hazard in these properties.
Damp-related issues can create an extremely unhealthy environment for people to stay in and can also cause structural damage. To help you avoid that, we created this guide to teach you about various damp-proofing treatments, their cost, and much more!
How Do You Damp Proof Your Commercial Property?
Let’s start by explaining what damp-proofing means. Damp-proofing is simply the process of installing or applying protection to a structure to keep moisture out. Although there are several protection methods, they all share the same function.
To help you understand how damp-proofing commercial properties work, we’ve highlighted its general steps below:
Step 1: Determine the Cause of the Issue
Dampness can enter your property for a variety of reasons. It could be due to faulty pipework, rising damp, a roof leak, or other factors. Each case is dealt with differently, so the first step to effectively approach dampness is identifying the underlying cause.
Hiring a professional to conduct a damp survey would be your best bet. You see, during these surveys, we thoroughly scan the entire area for signs that aren’t visible to untrained eyes. This enables us to identify the main culprit much more efficiently.
Step 2: Repair Associated Damage
The damage brought on by moisture accumulation varies in severity. In minor cases, installing a damp-proof treatment will get the job done. However, in extreme cases, we usually need to make some serious repairs first.
For instance, if parts of the structure have deteriorated or timber components have rotted, we must replace the damaged parts before doing anything else. This is to avoid jeopardising the property’s structural integrity.
Step 3: Select a Suitable Damp-Proofing Treatment
After pinpointing the root cause and making the necessary repairs, it’s time to match a damp-proofing treatment to the structure’s condition.
There are plenty of damp-proofing techniques, which you’ll learn more about in a moment. They each have a unique composition and set of characteristics; some are better suited to specific damp cases than others.
That’s why it’s essential you select an appropriate treatment for your property’s specific case to ensure you get a long-term solution. When in doubt, you can always seek the advice of a damp-proofing professional.
How Much Does It Cost to Damp Proof Your Workplace?
You can expect to spend anywhere between £400 to £4,000 to damp-proof your workplace. The following factors will determine whether you pay more or less:
- Property Size: The larger your workplace, the more damp-proofing materials and labour time it’ll require, thus the higher the cost.
- Damage Type: There are various types of damp-related issues, each with its own repair expenses.
- Case Severity: If dampness has caused severe structural damage, repairs and replacements will be costly.
- Damp-Proof Treatment: Damp-proofing varieties differ in price, so the type you select may or may not cost you a pretty penny.
Who Can Fix Damp Proofing in Your Workplace?
Does damp-proofing call for a certain level of expertise, or can you do it on your own? Many property owners have this question, and we’re about to answer it in the sections below.
Should You Hire a Damp Proof Specialist?
Yes, most damp cases in commercial properties will call for the help of specialists. This is because if damp issues aren’t addressed properly, they can escalate to life-threatening situations.
You can’t leave this to chance because commercial buildings have a lot of traffic, so you’ll be putting many people’s lives at risk. Therefore, it’s better to hire a professional to thoroughly inspect and manage the problem at hand.
Should You Fix Dampness Yourself (DIY)?
Yes, if you have prior experience with damp issues, you can handle minor cases on your own. However, as we mentioned above, leaving it to the professionals is the safest course of action.
It’s also the most efficient, as their years of experience allow them to complete the job much faster while using suitable, high-quality materials.
What Are the Different Treatments and Solutions for Damp Proofing Your Property?
It’s important you have a general understanding of the various damp-proofing treatments available. That way, you can better compare them and decide which one is best for your property.
To minimise your research, we’ve gathered below the top damp-proofing solutions on the market, along with all the key information you need to know about them.
Damp Proof Course (DPC)
A damp proof course (DPC) refers to the treatments we use to fortify a building’s structure against damp problems. They’re primarily installed to prevent major issues such as rising damp and water ingress.
In England, it became a legal requirement in 1875 for all properties to be built with DPC that met certain criteria. That’s why you may find older buildings lacking any form of protection against moisture.
Although damp-proof membrane (DPM) is the most popular type of DPC, there are other varieties, such as damp-proof injection and electro-osmosis damp-proofing.
Damp Proof Membrane (DPM)
As we explained above, damp-proof membrane (DPM) is the most commonly used DPC, and for good reason. When installed properly, this treatment is remarkably efficient at minimising moisture-related damage.
During its installation, we simply add a watertight membrane beneath the concrete layers to act as a physical barrier. That way, it stops damp from passing or spreading throughout the structure.
The membrane we use in this DPC comes in multiple materials, including aluminum and bitumen, but polyethylene is the most widely used.
Damp Proof Injection
Sometimes, the original DPC of a property fails over time or becomes damaged due to poor installation or other factors. When this happens, the building becomes vulnerable to damp-related issues, which is why we must implement a solution as soon as possible.
This solution will most likely be a damp-proof injection course, also known as chemical damp-proofing. Why is it a go-to? It’s incredibly simple to apply—no major construction work required—and extremely effective.
When applying this treatment, we drill holes on a horizontal line in the wall with the failed DPC. Then, we inject a damp-proofing solution into these holes, and this is when the magic begins.
This solution is chemically formulated to spread throughout the structure to form a water-repellent shield. Within hours, it settles in, and the structure will regain its ability to prevent moisture penetration.
Damp Proof Plaster
The traditional plaster we apply to walls and ceilings isn’t designed to withstand moisture damage.
So, when damp issues show up, you’ll notice the plaster peeling, showing wet stains, and even carrying salt contamination. To clarify more on the salt situation, in the case of rising damp, groundwater travels upwards, and it contains salt that eventually deposits on the walls.
To make sure that doesn’t happen, we resort to damp-proof plastering. This type of plaster has a breathable composition intended to stop moisture from surfacing and salt from accumulating.
Overall, damp-proof plaster is a fantastic solution for preserving properties’ interior aesthetics. But you should be aware that it must be used along with a DPC, as it doesn’t eliminate damp issues on its own.
Damp Proof Paint
Another solution we use in conjunction with DPC is damp-proof paint. We use it to create a waterproof layer on the inside and sometimes even the outside of a property.
Its main function is preventing moisture from accumulating on the surfaces of walls and ceilings, so you don’t have to deal with unsightly damp stains or blistering paint.
Damp Proof Cream
Damp-proof cream is the most frequently used chemical solution in the damp-proof injection treatment we discussed earlier. This cream has a saline base, which is responsible for enabling it to deeply diffuse in the masonry walls to create a long-lasting barrier.
The great thing about this solution is that you don’t need high-pressure injection equipment to use it. In fact, it usually comes packaged in tubes that only require hand pressure to inject the solution into the drilled holes.
Damp Proof Spray
If you have damp spots on your walls or ceilings and need a quick fix, damp-proof sprays are the way to go. They’re designed to conceal wet stains and seal the affected area so moisture doesn’t resurface.
All you have to do is apply this spray on the spoiled part once or twice, depending on its severity, and allow it to dry for a few hours. Once it completely dries, you can repaint or add wallpaper to the treated area so it seamlessly blends in.
Tanking slurries, also referred to as cementitious tanking, are a popular solution we use in damp-proof tanking. We primarily apply this treatment in damp-prone areas like basements.
Tanking slurry is a thick coating that we paint the structure’s wall with. It then infiltrates the pores in the masonry to block any gaps that moisture might pass through.
Where Would You Find Dampness in a Commercial Property?
There are certain spaces in commercial buildings where dampness is a common occurrence. They can be rooms with poor ventilation, underground spaces where groundwater is more likely to penetrate, or areas beneath the roof that can be affected by leaks.
Here are some examples of these areas:
- Storage units
What Are the Different Types of Damp You Find in a Commercial Property?
There are three types of damp issues that appear quite often in commercial properties:
- Rising Damp: Sometimes groundwater is forced to move upwards in walls because of capillary action, resulting in structural deterioration. This phenomenon is more common in older properties that lack DPC.
- Penetrating Damp: Water can travel from a property’s exterior to its interior walls, particularly those built with porous materials, for various reasons. It could be due to a construction flaw, constant rainwater accumulation, or something else.
- Condensation: When warm air comes into contact with cool surfaces, water droplets form. When this happens regularly, moisture starts accumulating on surfaces, causing water damage and mould.
What Causes Dampness in Your Workplace?
Your workplace can experience dampness for several reasons. One of which is not having a DPC installed or having one that’s worn out. It could also be due to trapped moisture that’s unable to escape because of poor air circulation in your property.
How Do You Prevent Dampness in Your Commercial Property?
We’ve listed below key tips on how to keep damp problems at bay:
- Make sure you have a suitable DPC in place.
- Use damp-proof paint or plaster to protect interior structures.
- Install a proper ventilation system or air the space regularly.
What Types of Commercial Properties Are More Likely to Have Damp?
To begin, all old commercial properties should be inspected for the presence and condition of DPC, as these are more likely to develop damp issues.
There are also some environments that encourage moisture buildup. They’re mostly commercial properties that use heat sources or have limited airflow. Some of these properties include:
- Crowded offices
Not only does dampness ruin the appeal of your indoor space, but the damage and mould accompanying it can compromise the safety of those on the property.
This makes damp-proofing one of those investments you’ll never regret. In fact, it could save you a fortune that you would’ve spent on costly construction repairs to fix damp damage.
We know how challenging it can be to identify damp sources and then select as well as install a suitable treatment. So, don’t hesitate to contact us at Watertight Homes to have a damp-proofing expert handle everything for you.