Damp proofing solutions for old houses

Older homes and heritage buildings have been designed and built with a different set of standards compared to modern buildings. These structures require specialized care and Maintenance because they have experienced wear and tear over the years. One of the major issues with older homes and heritage buildings is dampness due to lack of damp proofing or non-existent damp proofing systems. Damp can cause structural damage and health hazards if left untreated. Fortunately, there are damp proofing solutions designed for older homes and heritage buildings that can effectively solve this issue.

Why is dampness a common issue in older homes and heritage buildings?

Most old buildings were constructed without damp proofing methods or materials. In the past, builders used lime-based mortars and loose stone construction. These materials have many tiny pores and cavities which allow water to penetrate through. Over time, water can seep through the walls or the foundations and cause dampness. Moreover, many old buildings are built with solid walls that don’t allow air to circulate freely. Unless these structures are retrofitted with proper insulation and ventilation systems, the dampness problem will continue to persist.

Types of damp that affect older homes and heritage buildings

There are several types of damp that can affect older homes and heritage buildings. The most common types are:

  1. Rising damp – occurs when ground moisture rises into the walls and causes the wall to become damp. Symptoms include peeling wallpaper, staining, and mold growth.

  2. Penetrating damp – caused by damaged roofs, faulty gutters, or cracks in the exterior walls that allow water to enter the building. Symptoms can include watermarks and mold growth.

  3. Condensation – occurs when warm, moist air touches a cold surface like a window pane or wall, causing water droplets to form. Symptoms include excessive moisture build-up on windows and walls.

All types of damp can lead to structural damage and health hazards if left untreated. Therefore, it is essential to consider damp proofing solutions.

Damp proofing solutions for older homes and heritage buildings

  1. Silicone water-repellent treatment – a water-repellent solution is applied to the surface to form a barrier against water penetration. This method is an effective solution for solid walls that have no cavity. It is also ideal for heritage buildings where intervention should be minimized or for structures where damp space is limited.

  2. Injection damp-proof course (DPC) – this is the most common method of damp proofing. A chemical DPC is injected into the walls to create a barrier. This method is effective for buildings with natural stone or rendered walls as well as cavity walls with a less than optimal DPC.

  3. Cavity Drain Membrane Systems – an internal Waterproofing system used in conjunction with tanking and underfloor drainage. It is ideal for below-ground areas or basements that suffer from dampness.

  4. Tanking – a method of waterproofing that involves using a waterproof system on the walls and floors to keep moisture out. It is used for below-ground areas or structures close to water sources.

  5. Drainage and Vents – involve installing systems to allow water and air to circulate freely. These solutions can help resolve issues related to condensation, penetrating damp, rising damp, and other types of damp.

It is essential to choose the right damp proofing solution for your building. Each method comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is essential to consult a damp proofing expert before choosing a method.


Q: Can dampness cause health issues?

A: Yes, dampness can cause health issues such as allergies, asthma, and respiratory problems. Dampness can lead to the growth of mold and bacteria which can trigger allergic reactions.

Q: Are there any DIY solutions for damp problems?

A: A damp issue should not be treated as a DIY project. It is essential to consult a professional damp proofing expert to determine the right solution for the problem. DIY solutions may worsen the issue and make the problem more expensive to solve.


Dampness is a common problem in older homes and heritage buildings, and it can lead to structural damage and health hazards. Therefore, it is essential to consider damp proofing solutions designed for older structures. Different solutions work for various types of damp issues, and it is essential to seek expert advice before implementing a damp proofing solution. Ultimately, damp proofing will prevent costly Repair work in the future and ensure that the building’s occupants enjoy a healthy environment.

Fix It Painting

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Open chat
Need help?
Hi there,
Can I offer you a FREE no obligation quote?