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Fixing Water Damage at Work and Home

When misunderstood, water damage can be a critical issue in domestic and industrial buildings that recur time and time again.

It can be tempting to apply a quick fix if you are selling your home or do not wish to close your business and incur a loss of income. Both have significant financial implications. But if you do not find the root of the issue, it is bound to come back and wreak further havoc. The best thing to do, financially and structurally, is to find the problem and eradicate it for good.

Quick Links to types of water damage:

Water leaks reveal themselves in a variety of nasty fashions. The first thing to do is identify which you have.

Rising Damp

Rising damp – not to be confused with condensation damp which we discuss here – comes from the ground underneath or around the walls and fixtures of a property. It is moisture inside of a permeable wall travelling upwards.

This moisture is sucked from the ground and slowly rises through vulnerable buildings in all types of materials such as brick, concrete and stone. Scaling to an approximate height of up to a metre above the skirting board, it is found in ground supported structures.

Rising damp is dangerous, can spread, you need to repair the damage quickly

What am I looking for?

On internal walls, salt deposits can be seen higher up as part of the rising damp problem. You should also look for tide marks on your existing paint and any incidents of bubbling. The salt come from natural nitrates in the soil below and must be treated when visible as they can continue to thirst or dry out your wall. There is often discolouration to a pale yellow or brown around the skirting board.

Be aware of the smell – it brings with it a decaying, muffled scent. It is important to establish that the damp is in fact the wall itself. If the room is decorated with wallpaper or plastering, it could be a variety of issues. Place your hand to the wall to check it is damp and see whether any timber in the room has begun to deteriorate.

When checking whether your external wall has been affected, which is highly advisable, you should be aware of bricks and mortar beginning to fall away or fragment.

Rising damp (a term arguably propelled into the vernacular by Yorkshire Television rather than hordes of surveyors), is actually a rather rare condition and is often misdiagnosed. If you have any uncertainty at all, please do not hesitate to give our technical team a call. They can talk you through the symptoms and help identify the problem.

How to fix it

The first issue to address is whether your building has a Damp Proof Course (DPC). A chemical DPC cream is essential in tackling rising damp. If you do have a DPC, you also need to ensure that neither the neighbouring property nor any of your internal bridges (stairs, fireplaces etc.) have a higher DPC installed.

Check for damaged guttering or blocked downpipes on the exterior of the property, water issues could lead to a build-up of salt which can then infiltrate the walls.

Every waterproof wall should have a Damp Proof Course to tackle damp

The best product to treat the affected walls is SikaMur InjectoCream 100. It is a water repellent, silane-based emulsion that is injected into holes within the mortar of the bricks using an application gun. It forms a water repellent barrier and ensures the problem will not reoccur.

To thereafter repair the damaged walls, you should use Sika 1 Waterproofing System. Ideally:

It is essential the total system thickness is at least 18mm. You can follow the product data sheets on the links above, call our technical team for assistance on 0113 245 5450, or follow a careful step-by-step guide on our Treating Rising Damp blog.

Condensation Damp

Condensation is everywhere, found in the air during damper periods. It is carried by us and the plants decorating our offices, schools and homes. When the cold air meets the toasty confines of your interior is when we can have a problem. As it drops onto poor insulation it can cause mould, leaving coarse black patches on windows and walls.

There are simple steps to take in limiting this risk. Open windows wide to ventilate, dry your clothes outside if an option, and put a fan on when cooking steam-inducing dinners. Extractor fans for bathrooms are a good investment, as are sponge strips to catch condensation.

Condensation can be solved by opening windows and improving insulation

Coo-Var have a biodical product ideal for preventing condensation in public areas such as communal showers, wetrooms and industrial kitchens.

If you are looking to insulate your roof comprehensively, we stock Tor Elastaseal Foaming Insulation Adhesive. Elastaseal bonds roofing insulation boards, vapour control layers and ageing ply membranes with a fast-curing and easy application method.

Water Damage to Walls and Ceilings

Whether it was inflicted by heavy rainfall, flooding, damp or a leak, water damage to walls needs to be fixed from the root of the cause.

Preparation is vital, and this means starting from scratch. Whilst seeming a hassle, it is much more cost-effective than the issue returning. Rip up anything such as carpet that could impede the drying out process and remove all furniture where possible. If the issue is in the kitchen for example, avoid using steam-inducing appliances, as mentioned earlier. If it is a storage room housing paperwork or stock, then remove it immediately. A dehumidifier is also beneficial.

Mould and damp need to be identified, treated and then removed with cleaning solutions

If you have suffered rainfall flooding to your property, you could have ground swelling. This is where the ground can neither hold the surplus rainfall nor guide it to marsh or plains. This causes the water to run into buildings, severely impacting the very foundations of your home or business. This emphasises the importance of drainage systems and their upkeep.

Clean down walls, remove old wallpaper and peel paint once the room is completely dry. It is vital that the room is not still damp when applying paint and sealants, as if it doesn’t take you will have to repeat the process.

Cleaners, degreasers and mould removers are the first course of action once the room is stripped. There is a selection on our website under ‘General Surface Cleaners’ and ‘Floor Cleaners’.

Blackfriar, Coo-Var and Rust-Oleum offer degreasing products to clean the area before you begin the resealing process. Rust-Oleum Epoxyshield Cleaner/Degreaser is a virtually odourless solution if the room in question is lacking natural ventilation. Zinsser Universal Degreaser & Cleaner is also a very affordable trigger spray that is ideal for cleaning before painting.

After ensuring the surface is clean, you can apply the primers and waterproofing coatings, choosing a hygienic coating if food is to be prepared in the room. Sikagard, Rust-Oleum and Sherwin-Williams have a selection of hygienic coatings available on our website. There are also seal damp, anti-fungi and anti-condensation paints as mentioned earlier that will see your walls protected from damp.

Flood-risk flooring

There are many reasons to waterproof your floor. Domestically, it can protect from a water leak, seal timber in a bathroom or avoid damp in a basement.

Industrially, there is large demand for waterproof, chemical resistant, abrasion resistant and impact resistant flooring. For example, prison cells and police holding cells are often flooded and cleaned regularly with abrasive chemicals that eat away at flooring. Warehouse floors are the same, as are pharmaceutical environments and school dining halls.

Medium Use Floor Paint
For areas where foot traffic is average, a medium use paint would suffice. They are perfect for schools and office environments where you do not want to shut down the entire enterprise for refurbishment to take place.

Medium paints still protect from minor abrasions such as furniture scratches. In these instances, we would advise a water-based paint as they have low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) meaning they are more suitable for occupied areas. They are also better suited to cafeterias and kitchens where food is produced and are available on a lower budget.

Rawlins Paints offer our own range of medium use industrial floor paint that includes 302 Epoxy Ester Floor Paint, 501 Anti-Slip Floor Paint and 313 Acrylic Floor Paint. Do ‘search’ for any of these on our website.

Heavy Use Floor Paint

For heavy use paint that will protect from water damage and wetting in an industrial environment, you are best using an epoxy resin flooring.

These two-pack products are more complex to apply, but both seal and waterproof effectively, protecting even the most corrosive and abrasive environments. We also offer floor paints with anti-slip and anti-static aggregates from the UK’s leading brands.

We have also recently added a new selection of products from Resin Surfaces Limited (RSL), that offer all of the above protection for aviation areas, abattoirs, surgeries, warehouses, dairies, breweries, schools, prisons, markets and showrooms. Take a look at RSL R.S. Dampshield for a primer that allows carpets and tiles, wood and vinyl to be applied sooner.

For further information and greater detail on the application process, please visit our blog about waterproofing basements and carefully read any product data sheets found at the bottom of individual product pages.

Water Damage to Roofs

If you have a damaged flat roof, we at Rawlins Paints have written a step-by-step guide on to how to fix it yourself.

We recommend GacoFlex Gacowash to clean the area pre-coating, Gaco Liquid Roof Tape to protect the area and GacoPro Roof Coating that offers waterproofing and protection from the elements for the next 20 years without needing the help of a contractor!

Avoid that insurance premium hike

Whilst some jobs are best left to the professionals, it is becoming increasingly unappetising to make use of insurance policies unless you really need to. There is no denying that in the current climate, any claim even queried can end up being brutally punitive. Once a claim has been discussed informally on the phone with your insurer, there is no way of taking it off your claims history.

Escape of water claims reached an unprecedented high in 2017, causing numerous insurers to refuse any new business with an escape of water claim documented in the last 12 months. Exceptional clauses have been added with excesses as high as £5000 for any escape of water claim, near rendering the insurance concept moot.

Whilst Flood RE was introduced in 2016, a government-run scheme aimed to cap insurance premiums on the domestic homes with the largest risk of flooding, the cost of insuring a flood-risk property is vast and after a claim relating to such, it can be eye-watering. Three or more claims in the last five years can also see you taken off cover completely.

Give us a call if you think we can help

There are countless reasons to make sure you are properly protected from water leaks and water damage. Here are just a few:

  • Health and Safety both domestically and industrially
  • Selling your home
  • Unexpected costs
  • Unwanted closures
  • Recurring repairs

Whether it be a small drip in your garage, a robust flooring required for your workplace, or a devastating flood that has hit your property, we at Rawlins Paints are here to advise and support you every step of the journey back to full functionality through thorough workmanship and optimum product choice.

If you require any help or wish to ask a question, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0113 245 5450 or leave a message on the blog below.

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