Wykamol brings a Modern Method of Construction treatment to the age-old problem of damp

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Restoring an old property is all about understanding its environment and how this affects the materials it was built with. If we can take time out in today’s pressured workplace to truly understand this it becomes a relatively simple task to resolve damp problems.

The official definition of an old building used to be "Built before 1919" but that did not really explain what made them different from modern buildings. That is that they are "solid-walled structures, built using breathable materials, which need to breathe".

Likewise, breathability is about allowing moisture to enter and leave a building’s fabric without hindrance so that it will never build up.

Old properties were typically built with stone, soft brick or lime mortar, all of which are subject to movement due to heat and seasonal changes.

Hard or dense renders were first used to help keep a building dry, externally and internally, after the Second World War when cement and gypsum plaster became widely available. But while they may have performed a function then it is quite a different story now.

An unfortunate consequence of the Government’s focus on improving the thermal performance of buildings is that many older properties are being overclad with hard or dense renders or treated with impervious coatings which just exacerbate a damp problem.

Hard or dense renders are just that – hard - so they crack under pressure. Water is trapped, the walls outside and inside become even damper and the house becomes even more thermally inefficient. 

Just like Gortex enables sportspeople, adventurers and explorers to perform to the maximum, breathability along with water resistance is the key to preserving the structure and aesthetics of an old property. 

Wykamol has developed a dry lining membrane which does just that. Dampstop Mesh is manufactured from HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) with a welded mesh that isolates dampness and salts and creates a dry surface for builders to (soft) render or dot and dab onto.

Supremely simple to install, the lightweight membrane is cut to the height of the wall using a Stanley knife and fixed to it by drilling a 8mm hole through it and hammering home a fixing plug at centres to suit. The surface is then ready for direct rendering or dabbing for plasterboard to be skimmed.

There is minimum waiting around waiting for it to dry which can sometimes take months – hard or dense renders typically taking an inch a month to dry out and while that takes place only emulsions can be used for decoration, to allow the wall to breath.

Not only is the system exponentially quicker but it is also cleaner (as there is no sand/cement to be mixed) and healthier (no powders in the atmosphere – a particular bonus when converting basements).

Because the membrane prevents cold bridging, the days when wet dabs onto bare brick would penetrate plasterboard and leave unsightly damp dots over a wall are long gone.

11th November 2015, 16:11
Page updated 9th Sep 2016, 15:18
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