Temporary And Permanent Ways To Prevent Dampness In Buildings


Dampness in the building may occur due to bad design, faulty construction and use of poor quality of materials. This dampness not only affects the life of the building but also creates unhygienic conditions for the important items of work in the construction of a building.


One of the basic requirements of all the buildings is that they should remain as dry as possible. When dampness enters the building, the building may become inhabitable and unsafe.

Dampness in buildings can be caused by the rising of moisture from the ground, the action of rain, exposed top of walls, inadequate roof slope, defective junction of building components, condensation, poor material quality and poor orientation of the building.

In this article, I will explain the temporary and permanent ways to prevent dampness in buildings.

The temporary remedies are used to remove and hide the dampness for a short interval of the period and are mainly used for the old buildings. While the permanent remedies are used to remove the dampness permanently from old buildings as well as while constructing the buildings.

Temporary Remedies for Internal Portions

These low-cost temporary methods can be adopted as a short term measure:

1. Bituminised Paper:

Mostly in ordinary buildings bituminised paper should be pasted on the wall because bitumen paper is tough and partially non-absorbent and it will remove the difficulty of hanging clothes on the walls while pasting normal paper on the wall behind these clothes on the damp portions.

2. Tinfoil:

Tin foils can be pasted on the walls with strong adhesive on the walls at damp portions. It is damp proof and checks the movement of moisture. The only care is to paste it correctly with good adhesive.

3. Damp-proofing whitewash:

The damp proofing for ordinary walls is done with the following composition;

Soak 8 kg of best whitening in 4.5 litres of boiling water until it can be beaten up into semi-liquid consistency. Add to this 150 gm phosphate of soda dissolved in a small quantity of boiling water. Now add 300 gm white glue after dissolving it in boiling water. Stir and obtain a smooth paste for whitewashing.

4. Waterproofing solutions:

It can prevent the penetration of moisture in the walls. It is mixed in the cement mortar before plastering. Sometimes the solution can be simply applied on the damp surface with the brush. The damp wall should be dried before applying this and cracks, nail holes other repairs must be done by plaster of Paris.

Temporary Remedies for External Walls

1. Waterproofing solutions:

It is used for both internal as well as for external walls to remove the dampness.

2. Lead paints:

The buildings are washed with leads paints so that water can’t penetrate them. Before application of this paint, the cement plaster must be allowed to weather by exposing it to sun and rain at least for twelve months.

The wall should be dried before the application of this oil and 2 to 3 coats will prevent the penetration of moisture in the walls.

3. Paraffin wax:

It is better to dissolve this wax in the kerosene oil instead of direct application of wax. After application, the kerosene oil will evaporate leaving a continuous member of solid paraffin on the surface of bricks.

Permanent Remedies of Dampness

Various methods give permanent remedies against dampness which are as follows:

1. Surface Treatment:

The walls can be prevented by dampness in the areas of the rainfall by the surface treatment. It is of two types. In one the pores of the exposed walls and materials are filled by providing a thin film of water repellent material over the surface. In the second type weather tiles, slates, iron and corrugated sheets are fixed over the walls which protect it from the wall which protect it from the direct hit of rain.

The materials that can be used are sodium or potassium silicate, coal tar or bitumen, barium hydroxide, lime plaster, decorative waterproof cement coating.

2. Integral water-proofing

To make concrete repellent sometimes calcium, sodium, ammonium stearates and oleates and petroleum oil are used to make the concrete or mortar denser so that moisture cannot pass through them. These chemicals react chemically and make the materials water-proof added in the small amount in the cement mortar or concrete.

3. Damp proof course

In new buildings or old buildings for the permanent remedy of dampness, a layer of water repellent material is introduced, which acts as a barrier against the travel of damp. These water repellent material layers are called damp-proof courses. This method is known as the membrane interposing method.

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