Wednesday, 29 January 2014

How an effective damp proof course will make your home energy-efficient

The simple fact is that any damp wall loses its thermal efficiency. What you may not realise is the massive difference that can make to your heating bills. 

When Plymouth University undertook independent testing of the unique Peter Cox product called DryWall Thermotek the results proved conclusively that as much as 29% of heat lost through a damp wall was saved.  But that’s just the start of the savings you can make.  

Add up just how much you’ve spent on replacing  damp plaster and wallpaper, on expensive products to remove ugly black spot mould growing in corners and on repairing loose or decaying floor boards and kitchen units.  Even with these costs spiralling with your energy bills, none of these everyday rescue measures will actually deal with the problem at source.

What causes a wall to become damp?

Most houses built before 1920 have no damp proof course at all. From impressive stately homes built by the leading architects of their day through to popular terraces, nothing was done to stop ground dampness rising into the fabric of the structures.  It simply wasn’t understood as it is now.  Effectively the water rises into the very pores of the wall through capillary action, rather like  blotting paper dipped in a glass of water. Anything that comes into contact with the damp walls can potentially be affected by fungal decay. That includes skirting boards, timber panelling, floor boards and decorations.

After 1920, different forms of damp proof courses started to appear. To try and create an impervious barrier against water, felt was laid in bitumen in the mortar joints or slate was embedded in the mortar.  These old types of barrier are prone to perish and break down due to movement, settlement and just the passage of time.

In modern houses, a plastic style of damp proof course (DPC) has become the ‘norm’ .  Whilst more durable, these can become ‘bridged’ where ground is raised above the DPC, rendering the DPC ineffective.

At Peter Cox, experience shows that most houses built before the 1970s have a damp problem, whether it’s because there’s no DPC at all or that it has failed over time. 

Peter Cox Invents the Patented Solution

Sixty three years ago, Peter Cox was a well respected stone mason and contractor, frequently asked as part of his daily work to fit a damp proof course to pre-existing buildings – known as a “retrospective” fit.  Obviously, it needed to be done with the least mess and disruption, yet be able to control rising dampness and to go on to protect the property for the future. Not only did he solve it, he created his own revolutionary, patented answer which is the forerunner of all ‘remedial’ DPCs fitted to existing buildings.

Over the next 50 years his ‘system’ has been improved as new products and techniques have been made available. The latest Peter Cox DPCs effectively keep the walls dry from rising damp, helping to reduce heat loss through the entire property.  Once the damp problem is fully resolved, the risk of rotting floors is reduced and all that remains is for the plaster and decorations to be replaced in the knowledge the damp problem has been resolved and will not return.  Quite simply, it’s one of the most effective things you can do to reduce your running costs and keep your home feeling safer, warmer, and better for your health.

How a Peter Cox ‘Dry Wall’ DPC is Installed

To cure rising damp, the installation of a damp proof course is a relatively straightforward operation. It does require skill and experience though to make sure the work is effective, while causing the least disturbance to the occupants.

A mortar joint is chosen, normally around 150mm above the external ground level where a series of 10-12mm diameter holes are drilled horizontally at 150mm ‘centres’. The holes are drilled from one side – to within 40mm of the remote side, thereby avoiding disturbance to the other side of the wall - then filled with Peter Cox Dry Wall damproofing cream. This is a silane material which lines the pores of the mortar and brickwork to make them completely resistant to the passage of moisture. One key difference with the system is that the chemical used doesn’t block the wall or stop it from breathing.

It takes between four to six weeks for the cream to diffuse into the mortar joint and spreads through the whole depth of the wall to create a horizontal waterproof barrier against rising damp. The dampness that was there ABOVE the new dpc line can now begin to dry out naturally by evaporation.

As the drying out happens, a second major issue emerges – one that is all too often overlooked.

The existing dampness is full of salts, including nitrates and chlorides, drawn up from the ground, which will now concentrate on the surface of the masonry and on the plasterwork inside the property.  It’s vital that all the internal wall plaster affected by these salts is removed and replaced with Peter Cox ‘Dry Wall’ Coating, otherwise the wall can’t dry out as it should.

It’s the dusty part of the job but it’s absolutely essential to ensure you get the full benefit of your new DPC and start reaping your energy saving.  For an average British semi, normally the DPC installation, the removal of the old internal plaster and the full replacement with ‘Dry Wall Coating’ can be done within a week in one seamless procedure. 
Says, Richard Walker of Peter Cox Property Services, “ The majority of people have a new DPC, then re-plaster themselves only to find the wall is still wet. That’s actually because the salts from the ground weren’t taken into consideration. It’s an easy mistake to make and one we rectify for customers all the time. It just makes sense to let us advise you on the issues you may not know about.  On many property refurbishment projects where we install a DPC, the developer will  have their own plasterer finish the job with the wrong plaster mix ! That’s where the salts score every time. You must use the right wall ‘coating’ in the right way to deal with the salts and get a dry and energy-efficient finished result.”

The Peter Cox ‘Dry Wall’ approach is an All-In-One solution that is 100% effective  and comes with a full guarantee. Well over half a million guarantees have been given to customers to date, every single one honoured thanks to the quality of the process Peter Cox invented.

DryWall Thermotek

What Else Can Cause Walls to be Damp?

Peter Cox Property Services provide a holistic approach to dampness, not just finding but fixing all the ways it enters into or affects the property. There are four major causes:
  • Rising damp coming up from the ground. You need to fit an effective damp proof course. The Peter Cox ‘Dry Wall’ DPC and ‘Dry Wall’ coating.
  • Lateral dampness where an exposed eternal wall is affected. You need masonry protection coating to prevent rain penetration. Thermotek masonry protection cream does the job    
  • Condensation caused by water vapour in the property created by the occupants. Where a property is not ventilated properly to deal with the humidity created by the occupants, the Peter Cox ‘Whole House Ventilation’ system is at the forefront in providing cost effective solutions.
  • High ground level perhaps in basements or lower ground floor rooms. To control this form of dampness you need Peter Cox ‘Dry Room’ Waterproofing.

It may be that you property has a mixture of problems and you ideally need a Peter Cox qualified surveyor to identify them all and advise on the defects.

In summary, Richard says, “Perhaps the most important reason of all to ask the experts is that a damp property is a decaying asset and a health risk. So, do make sure the advice you get is trustworthy to help keep you, your home and your family safe and well, long term.  Before you spend another penny on cosmetic repairs, my advice is deal with any property dampness at source. That’s the smart way to save time, money and effort year after comfortable year and to do all you can to stop wasting expensive energy in your home.”

To discuss your property needs, call Peter Cox Property Services and relax knowing you’ll have the best advice from highly qualified surveyors. You just can’t put a price on that kind of peace of mind.  For more information please see: