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What Is a Damp-Proof Course?

A damp-proof course is one of the most effective ways to protect your home against the dangers of excess moisture rising from the ground. 

A damp-proof course – or DPC – is primarily designed to create an impermeable barrier, which stops moisture from rising up into a property. This solid waterproof barrier thereby helps to prevent damage that can be caused by damp. 

In this article, the expert team at Atlantis Damp explains everything you need to know about damp-proof courses. 

What Is a Damp-Proof Course?

A damp-proof course – or DPC – is essential, and modern homes are always fitted with some form of DPC as standard. In fact, DPCs have been a legal requirement in parts of the United Kingdom going as far back as the Victorian era. 

Damp-proof courses have evolved over the years, and today there are many different types of DPC that can be fitted. The function and purpose of a DPC has not changed however, with the main goal of a damp-proof course being to protect a property against the dangers of excess water.

A damp-proof course consists of some form of waterproof material, which is installed 150mm above ground level. 

Types of Damp-Proof Course

There are a variety of different types of damp-proof courses that could be installed in your home.

The type of DPC that’s fitted will depend on a number of factors, including the age and design of the property. 

While a damp-proof course could be made from slate, plastic or other materials, a modern DPC is more likely to be a damp-proofing cream that’s injected into the bricks and mortar of a building.

It’s common for a damp-proof course to be installed alongside a damp-proof membrane – or DPM – which is a thick, waterproof sheet of plastic that can be placed below the floors.

The most popular types of damp-proof courses include:

  • Chemical damp-proof course injection: Holes are drilled into the brickwork of a wall, and a chemical damp-proofing cream is injected into the masonry to create a waterproof barrier.
  • Mortar damp-proof course injection: A chemically enhanced type of mortar is injected into the walls, where it fills any holes or gaps in the masonry to seal the wall against moisture.
  • Electro osmotic damp-proof course: Metal wiring is installed to create an electric charge, which polarises the wall and therefore repels water away.

At Atlantis Damp, we only use Chemical injection, using market leading Dryzone creams, installed directly into the mortar bed, which is in line with best practice standards.

While a damp-proof course should be installed in your home, it can fail over time. If you’re experiencing damp problems, then you may need to have your DPC replaced. A professional damp proofer can identify the best way to fix or replace your DPC, to ensure your home is well protected against damp and excess water.

Where Does a Damp-Proof Course Go?

A damp-proof course is intended to protect a home against rising groundwater, which means it needs to be installed in the walls on the ground floor of a property. 

But rather than being installed directly at ground level, regulations stipulate that any DPC should be at least 150mm above ground level. This ensures that rain splash or stagnant water can’t bridge (go over the top of) the DPC. DPCs go into the bricks and mortar of a wall. A chemical DPC for example will be injected directly into the mortar bed bricks after holes have been drilled into the wall. 

Why Should You Have a Damp-Proof Course Installed in Your Home?

It’s important to have a DPC installed in your home, as it helps to damp proof your property and protect the building against problems that can arise from excess moisture. Here are the most important reasons to have a damp-proof course installed:

  • Ensure your home is thoroughly damp-proofed
  • Protect your house against rising damp
  • Protect against associated damp problems, such as mould and wood rot
  • Protect against health issues caused by damp
  • Increase the value of your property and save money on repairs in the future

How Much Does Installing a Damp-Proof Course Cost?

There are several factors that will affect the overall cost of having a damp-proof course installed in your home. 

Depending on the age of your property, your home is likely to already have a damp-proof course installed, so a specialist will need to first assess how much of the property needs to be reproofed in order to stop any damp problems. If damp has already taken hold in your home as a result of a failure of the existing DPC, this first needs to be fixed. 

The primary factors that will affect the overall cost of the work include:

  • The size of the property and the area that needs to be damp proofed.
  • The type of damp-proof course that will be installed.
  • Any repair work caused by damp that needs to be carried out first.

For an accurate cost estimation, you’ll need to have a survey carried out by a damp-proofing professional. They’ll be able to identify if your DPC is failing or absent, and the best way for a new DPC to be installed. 

Having a DPC installed is essential, and it will save you money in the long run by protecting your home against serious damage that could be caused by damp problems. 

Contact Atlantis Damp to Find Out More About Damp Proof Courses

A damp-proof course is an essential feature of any property. If you’re concerned that your DPC might be failing, it’s important to contact a professional for further assistance. 

Our family-run business can assist with problems arising from all forms of damp, and we can provide damp-proofing solutions that ensure your house is well protected in the future. Contact Atlantis Damp today for more information.