Breakthrough technology for fixing rising damp

Breakthrough technology for fixing rising damp

Rising damp is described in the Bible Leviticus 14:39-41 where the problem was considered so severe that the salt contaminated stones should be removed and cast out and the house be demolished.  As referred to in Leviticus not only is there the problem of the moisture rising up a wall carrying salts but there is the residual salt within the walls.  For a vivid panorama of the effects of rising damp one only has to visit Venice in Italy to see the base of the walls being eroded by rising damp and salt.  In Adelaide, Australia before 1980 the widespread nature and scale of the problem of rising damp was such that the walls which exhibited the problem were rebuilt with new material with a damp course which was a difficult process.

Many buildings in many countries exhibit rising damp and it is considered by architectural conservators to be the most difficult problem to solve in building restoration and renovation.  Living in a damp environment is an unhealthy and depressing situation.

Dr Ren Kebao at Tech-Dry Melbourne decided that new technology was needed within the parameters of:

  • applicability and ease of use so many participants in different countries could use the method
  • exclusion of solvents and low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds)
  • delivery of an horizontal damp-course within a variety of walls by use of a relatively simple drilling technique
  • long term stability of the new damp-course within the fabric of the wall
  • stability of the application material in conditions of use with a temperature range of say 0-50°C
  • economic cost to make the technology widely available
  • materials which were not dangerous goods for transport purposes so it could be sent by post or other economical transport

Dr Ren developed a stable damp-course cream of similar structure to those used for concrete protection of bridges with the key difference that the design of the cream was such that on contact with the masonry of the drilled holes the cream slowly collapsed to deliver active silicone material across the wall without the need for plugging or damming the delivery holes. The active material was chosen such that it has low vapour pressure and very low odour and was very surface active within the masonry. To install a damp-course only a little more than a horizontal mortar line results in a barrier to rising damp.

This technology has been used successfully in Australia now for 10 years and has been very successful. This ranks as an innovation story where necessity was the mother of invention and has delivered an environmentally friendly solution to an age-old problem.

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