The old saying goes, ‘March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers’. Except this year, the UK has experienced a largely dry spring, with the UK Met Office reporting that rainfall in England and Wales only reached 5mm by 21st April. While largely dry, the weather has been unusually cold in many areas of the country instead. Although some parts of the UK have seen spring sunshine, others have reported winter sleet and snow. For property owners, such unpredictable conditions can quickly become a menace.
Snow, alongside hail, sleet and rain is a common cause of water ingress (where water enters a property), which makes it especially important to ensure properties are adequately waterproofed. Left unchecked, water-related property damage can lead to rising or penetrating damp and wood rot – problems which can be expensive to treat and have a negative impact on residents’ health.
So, what are the steps to ensuring your property is adequately protected against the threat of snow hail, sleet or rain, and what can you do if you spot signs of damage?
The importance of waterproofing
Waterproofing and tanking are crucial ways you can protect your property against water ingress and damp problems, supporting inner walls on ground floors and basements against the elements. There is a range of professional waterproofing solutions available for domestic or commercial properties as well as construction projects, but at their core, waterproofing systems consist of a combination of a structural waterproof membrane, drainage and sump pumps that capture, channel and pump away any water ingress. The idea is that any water that does get through gaps in external brickwork or pointing will hit against the membrane and trickle into a pump which will then transport the moisture out of the property.
Tanking involves the internal application of waterproof materials directly onto the walls, floor and ceiling of underground spaces in properties. The material acts as a barrier to prevent moisture from getting into basements or cellars and causing damage, and can be a highly effective method of keeping a space dry. However, it is essential to talk to an expert about the best solution for your property as the level of protection that tanking can provide is dependent on factors including the levels of hydrostatic pressure surrounding the foundations of the property.
Spotting and treating damage caused by water ingress
Sadly, it is often the case that waterproofing issues do not become apparent until it is too late, and the signs of water damage have begun to show. If left untreated, water ingress can lead to significant structural problems, including wood rot and cracked masonry in freezing conditions.
Spotting the signs of water ingress and treating the causes is important to prevent significant property damage – and a leading sign of water ingress is penetrating damp. Penetrating damp can present in your property in the form of damp patches on walls, black mould growth, heat loss and damp musty smells.
To prevent water ingress and penetrating damp at the source, you must check for faults in the exterior of the property – such as leaking gutters, ageing brickwork and defective pointing. Beyond identifying and tackling the source of the problem, it’s a good idea to talk to an expert about appropriate treatment for the affected areas of your property. This includes removing and replacing any damaged walls or plaster, repairing defective timbers and cleaning black mould growth. They will also be able to advise on the best waterproofing solution to prevent water ingress reoccurring.
A professional, holistic service
If you have concerns regarding how watertight or prepared your property is for inclement weather, it’s best to get in touch with the experts. As the market leader in preventing and treating water damage, Peter Cox offers a holistic service. A fully trained and qualified building surveyor will comprehensively investigate problems with water ingress or water damage and identify the best solution for each individual case.
Working with dedicated teams of surveyors and technicians, Peter Cox can give unrivalled experience in the repair and preservation of all types of property, from private to commercial property preservation, to public buildings, churches and numerous historic buildings and landmarks – to help provide protection to your property, whatever the weather throws at it.