Damp is one of the things that can damage the structure of a building, when left untreated. Modern buildings are built and coated with materials to make them strong enough to withstand severe wet weather conditions like snow and flooding. Old buildings, unfortunately, were not due to lack of technology and better quality materials. Damp is one thing that can severely damage historical building, and also the cause of major worry for many historic building conservationists in the UK.
Old Buildings vs Modern Buildings
Most of the historic buildings in the world are strong and can withstand heavy flooding too. But when compared to modern constructions, they suffer more damage and eventually collapse if not taken care of. Most of the historic buildings in the UK need protection from damp or unwanted moisture, which leads to developing of mould that is harmful for the structure as well as for the people in it.
Damp Affecting Famous Stately Homes
(Original image source used via Creative Commons License via Wikimedia)
Damp is a problem that not just the regular old houses face. Even the biggest castles in the UK, including those that have made a name for themselves as being home to the royalty or the aristocracy, also face the threat of damage due to damp. Back in 2009, the Highclere Castle in Berkshire was damaged due to moisture inside the structure. The owner of the property, Lord Carnarvon, had to spend over 12 million GBP to restore the castle to its previous glory and ensure that it stands tall for the future generations. (You may be more familiar with Highclere Castle in its famous TV guise as “Downtown Abbey”).
Treating damp in Old buildings
So what is the treatment for damp in historical buildings? The first step is to identify where the moisture or water is seeping through into the structure. Before coming up with a plan for repairs, it is important to consider what the structure has been built of. Also evaluate the condition of the roof, the walls, and every nook and corner of the structure to determine where the damp is highest and where it is nil.
The usage or occupancy of the structure should also be taken into account. Once the moisture problem is diagnosed, you need to come up with a preservation and maintenance plan, which involves application of remedial or clinical repair methods to eliminate dampness and infiltration of moisture. This includes checking for roofing, repairing damages on wall, repairing any leaks in the gutter, the crawl space, piping and ducts among other things.
In case of any damages, the next step, which is repairing, has to be implemented. This involves in masonry work to fill in the gaps, repair damaged or shipped or broken walls and leaky roofs. If the property is not repairable, the only solution would be to replace damaged portions.
For more information about damp, to go our damp proofing page