The basement within any form of building is one of the most common areas for damp owing to its placement beneath the ground and the tendency for the exterior to suffer from some amount of moisture soaking in from the earth that immediately surrounds it. This may be particularly noticeable if you’ve not damp proofed your basement for some time, or have suffered from saturated ground from ongoing rain, snow or storms. Staying on top of your damp proofing is vital if you’re to ensure that the remainder of your home is to stay damp free, as rising damp can lead upwards from the basement and cause untold damage in a relatively short period of time.
Tackling the floor
First of all you should decide upon the best approach to take, as there are several different ways of damp proofing your basement. Here’s a summary:
Note: If you have flagstones or bricks down as a floor then you’ll need to repair any rotted, cracked, or crumbling mortar joints.
Tackling the walls
Note: If your walls are not in good order, with cracked or crumbling pointing then you’ll need to add another layer of sand/cement rendering with around 20mm depth, applied directly onto your walls, and then followed up with the steps above.
If the RBE comes off the wall
If your RBE comes off the wall then it may be that the wall is already damp. In this event your rendering is going to need wire meshing in order to help with the way the rendering takes. This mesh should be tacked firmly onto the wall, with squares of flashing tape used upon the places where the nails will tack the mesh onto the wall.
Once you’re ready to apply the rendering you should take care to apply right up to the RBE coating with absolutely no gaps.
If the RBE doesn’t dry out
If your RBE doesn’t dry out, or your solvent based products won’t stick to the wall then it may be that your walls are too wet. One of the easiest fixes for this may be to use a thick, studded plastic sheet which should be nailed to the walls. This can provide for an essential air flow between the wall and the sheet, allowing for ventilation. The rendering can then be applied to the sheet.
Whilst the steps within this article are fairly straight forward it’s worth considering when you may need an expert’s opinion. Above all else if you’re at all unsure as to whether your basement is suffering from damp, and whether this may have travelled or affected other areas, then you should consult a building professional. Oftentimes the symptoms of rising damp can be all too subtle for a novice to spot without a professional helping hand.