Keeping Bricks Dry

By Jon Blogg

For many home owners of older buildings the sight of wet spots on internal walls makes the heart sink . The first reaction is that there must be a water leak somewhere in the house and that it will cost a lot of cash and time to put right.

Whilst there is a slim possibility it may be a damaged water pipe or bath, the possibilities are that if the wet blotches occur at times when the shower or bath are not being used ,the cause of the damp is from outside of the property . A quick external inspection of the wall and adjoining roof will soon discover the true cause , which in the vast majority of times will be damp brick or stone walls.

Weather Damaged Walls Soak Up Water

The wearing effect of wind, rain and frosts , mixed with increasing amounts of air pollutants, regularly results in the external protective layer of a facing brick or stone exterior being worn away to display] the softer and more porous inside core. This process of wearing often takes many decades but this timescale can be lessened if lesser quality materials are used or thestructure occupies a particularly exposed location that is exposed to wind driven rain or snow .

As an example of how open to water absorption a clay brick wall can become it is alarming to know that up to a pint of water can be absorbed by each brick face. When there are around 65 to 70 bricks per m2 of wall area that is a lot of water being held in the wall during medium to heavy rainfall

In the winter months any hard frost will always freeze any water being held in the structure and as frozen water expands it deepens the open passages in the brick so that next time it rains even more water will seep though and the sequence worsens.Clear Coatings for Substrates

To stop rain water from entering the open brick or stone exteriors the most frequent solution was to cover the wall in a waterproof coloured render or paint. The difficulty with this approach is the appearance and character of the property changes dramatically and you can cause future maintenance problems. To avoid on-going maintenance of cement renders or wall coatings it is now feasible to have a colourless and virtually invisible clear water proof coating applied to the brick or stone walls of your home. Such coatings are available from a range of specialist companies and manufacturers and are designed for quick and simple application.

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