a damp proofing membrane on extension foundations

A damp proofing membrane is one of the top materials used in damp proofing. Damp proofing involves moisture control on floors and building walls. The process aims to make sure your interior spaces are dry and cosy.

Dive in for further information on damp proofing membranes and how they help combat dampness problems.

What Is the Purpose of a Damp Proof Membrane?

Our team at Damp Hero recognise a damp-proof membrane is vital in buildings where the insulation materials include components like cellulose and wool. Damp-proof membranes ensure damp does not penetrate the insulating materials and lower their protective properties.

Besides being essential additions for insulation materials, damp-proof membranes also aid in protecting your building's structures from moisture problems. For instance, damp proofing a timber structure offers protection against mould and rotting.

These membranes are also helpful if your wall or floor is degrading and you need an urgent solution. The membrane features a mesh welded onto your substrate.

damp proof membrane

What Causes Dampness

The main reasons for dampness in building include:

  • Condensation on the surface
  • Interstitial condensation (residual moisture that condenses within the building's fabric, which can be on the surface, for instance, on cement render or deep into the substrate)
  • Rising damp
  • Penetrating damp

Is a Damp Proof Membrane Necessary?

A damp proof membrane provides an excellent way for damp proofing walls. Not only are they essential, especially in high humid areas, but they are a cinch to set up and are very flexible.

Because of their flexibility, damp proofing membranes can adjust depending on the structural movement. For this reason, these membranes can avoid water ingress and keep your property dry and in good condition.

According to standard construction regulations, floors at ground level should:

  • Protect the upper floor surfaces from the rising of moisture from the ground.
  • Protect the concrete slab and wall from rain and groundwater damage
  • Have a construction ensuring the walls don't have a poor thermal or structural performance by preventing the interstitial condensing of water.
  • Discourage mould growth and ensure water does not collect within the substrate.

Given the merits of these membranes that can aid in achieving the above requirements, they are indeed an asset that your building needs.

What Problems Do Damp Proof Membranes Solve?

Damp in your house can result in a lot of issues, some of which pose health risks. With a damp proof membrane, you can counter various problems, including:

  • Damp patches and damage to wall and surface finishes
  • Mold growth that can result in respiratory allergies
  • Salts, mildew, staining, and watermarks
  • Escalating building obsolescence through decaying of its fabric and corrosion
  • Danger of slipping
  • Your insulation fails to live to its expectations
  • Frost damage
  • Failure of electrical components and other home equipment

How Long Does a Damp Proof Membrane Last?

Most membranes feature HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) construction and can withstand high compression. They can last even above thirty years.

These membranes have high flexibility with an elongation break beyond 40%, and correct products can still hold up well with intense structural movements. As a result, they are some of the best solutions to avoid damp walls or floors.

Damp Proof Membrane Installation

These membranes are easy to install and durable as well, minimizing the need for a replacement. Below is the process of how to install the membrane:

  • Identify the problem source and rectify it.
  • Remove the plaster and render back the original masonry.
  • Cut your membrane to size depending on wall dimensions.
  • Carefully attach the membrane to your wall.
  • Drill into the membrane at even areas to improve its secure placement on the wall.
  • Inserts the special plugs to fix the plastic membrane in place while preventing the passage of moisture. Be sure to smooth out your membrane to avoid trapping large air pockets underneath.

How Do Damp Proof Membranes Work

These membranes feature a plastic construction which allows them to protect your building against water entry. The top of the membrane has a stud formation that forms an air gap. The gap enables the evaporation of water while leaving your wall unobstructed.

What Differentiates a DPC from a Damp Proof Membrane

A DPC (damp-proof course) is a damp proofing barrier installed in a structure to prevent moisture from rising through capillarity. Such water movements can occur during situations like rising damp, resulting from your property sucking up water from the grounds.

A damp course can be horizontal or vertical, and you lay it underneath all masonry walls irrespective of whether they are partition or load-bearing.

On the other hand, A damp proofing membrane (DPM) is a thin material placed to solve a damp problem. An example of a damp proofing membrane is polyethylene sheeting applied under concrete slabs to counter water absorption by capillary action.

Short Video: Installation of Physical Damp Proof Membrane

Short Video: How To Install A Liquid Damp Proofing Membrane

Wrapping Up

You must observe extra caution while installing these membranes to avoid creating tears or holes that will allow uncontrolled humidity. If you lay down your membrane with perforations, it will lose the moisture regulatory function you want.

Ensure your membrane is also in line with construction guidelines. For instance, British requirements stipulate that the gauge should be 1200.

If still sceptical of installation procedures, get a professional to help you set it down and enjoy the multiple advantages these membranes provide.

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