Is damp proofing messy? 3 damp jobs that cause mess

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is damp proofing messy

Whenever you are having work done in your home, there is always the worry that it could create a mess. Some of the things that might cross your mind include:

  • Will there be a lot of dust?
  • Do you need to move furniture?
  • Is there going to be damage to decorations
  • Will the trades you hire be walking dirt in and around your home.

If you are having damp proofing work carried out, then you may have these same concerns.

Damp proofing can be a messy job. However, this will depend on the type of damp you are treating, and the type of work being carried out.

If there is work being done inside your property, which involves the removal of plaster on walls or ceilings, this can be very disruptive and cause a lot of dust.

For example, the removal of internal plaster when injecting a chemical damp proof course can be a very messy job.

Injecting a damp proof course

If you are having issues with rising damp, then a popular solution to this problem is an injectable damp proof course (DPC). This technique tends to be much easier, cheaper, and less disruptive than replacing the original DPC.

However, just because it is less disruptive, that does not mean it won’t be a messy job, that causes some disruption to your daily life.

In some cases, injecting a damp proof course can be done entirely from outside. But this is not always the case. In properties built with cavity walls you will often need to inject from both sides (inside and outside).

It is also quite likely that rising damp will have damaged your internal plaster. This means, it will need replacing anyway, regardless of the chemical DPC.

The method commonly used, is to remove the internal plaster, to a height of roughly 1 meter. Once the new DPC is injected, the wall will be re-plastered. This will often involve an initial damp proof render, followed by a finishing skim coat.

It is also possible that a different system could be used, such as timber battens and foil backed plasterboard. This will largely depend on the person you hire and how the original plaster was installed.

Whichever way the re-plastering is done, the main mess will come from the removal, of the original plaster.

If this work is carried out through your entire house, the mess and disruption could be quite inconvenient. However, it is short term disruption and the rising damp you are treating, could be far more disruptive in the long term.

Replacing water damaged ceilings

Replacing water damaged ceilings is another job that can cause quite a mess. This type of damp is usually caused by some form of leak. This could include:

In many cases your ceiling won’t need replacing, some drying out and cosmetic touch-ups will resolve the problem.

However, if the water damage is significant and the ceiling has become saturated, it will need replacing.

This can be a messy damp proofing job. Just how messy will depend on the type of ceiling and the age of the property.

Whatever your ceiling is made of, there will be a certain amount of dust collected between the ceiling and the floorboards above it. This alone can cause a decent amount of mess, but the mess can greatly increase, depending on the materials used to create the ceiling itself.

Generally, you will have one of two types of ceiling, depending on the age of your property:

  1. A modern plasterboard ceiling
  2. Lath and plaster ceiling

If your ceiling is made from modern plaster, then you are in luck. Whilst removing any ceiling will cause disruption, the mess will be tolerable and easily cleaned up.

Modern boards tend to hold together and cause little dust, even when they are pulled down and broken up.

If on the other hand your ceilings are made from old lath and plaster, I’m afraid its bad news.

This is probably one of the messiest jobs you will ever come across. When this type of ceiling is removed the dust created is incredibly thick and black.

Great care should be taken to cover items that can’t be removed and even then, dust will get through. You are likely to be cleaning dust residue for a considerable amount of time following the work

Replacing or repairing structural timbers

Another job that can cause disruption and some mess, is replacing structural timbers. Most commonly, this will be either completely replacing or trimming floor joists.

The dust from this type of work won’t be as bad as any that involves removing plaster. However, your carpet or flooring will need to come up and floorboards will be removed.

Following this, your joists will either be cut back and overlapped with new timbers, or they will be completely replaced.

This is obviously extremely disruptive. The room having work done, will usually be completely off limits till the work is completed.

With that said, once the work is finished, the trades-person carrying out the work, should be able to return the room to its former state.

Although, if timbers are damaged so badly that they need replacing, it is quite likely other building materials could also be damage and need replacing. This might include:

  • Floorboards.
  • Skirting boards and architrave.
  • Plaster (this is where the mess starts).
  • Flooring (carpet, laminate, etc).

This type of damage to floor joists is often due to either rising or penetrating damp. So, whilst this job is more disruptive than messy, it still could come with other remedial work that causes mess.

Less messy damp proofing jobs

Damp comes in many different forms and whilst some will require repair work that causes mess, most wont. Below is a list of damp proofing jobs that won’t be messy:

  • Anything to do with reducing condensation is unlikely to cause any mess. This is just the removal of moist air inside your home. Even jobs like installing an extractor fan will only cause minimal dust and mess.
  • Most external penetrating damp treatments. The majority of these will be done from outside. For example, re-pointing, render and pebble-dash, roof repairs.

    These are all jobs that are conducted outside the home. If there is any mess from things like rendering, this is usually down to sloppy tradesmen and should be relatively easy to clean up.
  • Different types of damp proof paints can be applied internally and externally. This is not usually that messy, although you should take precautions with dust sheets and things like masking tape, to avoid getting paint on other surfaces.

In general, mess is only really caused when you start removing building materials. This is often the result of more serious damp remedies, for things like rising damp, and bad cases of penetrating damp.

Conclusion – Is damp proofing messy?

Damp proofing can be a messy job. However, it will largely depend on the type of work being carried out.

The people most affected, will be those who have internal plaster removed as part of the damp proofing process.

Homes with old lath and plaster on walls and ceilings will suffer the worst with dust and debris.

If the only option is removing these old building materials, be prepared for a lot of mess.

When having work carried out inside your home, you should take precautions and make sure you protect furniture and other items where work is being done. The following is advised:

  • Remove any small items that you don’t want to get dusty.
  • Cover large items that can’t be moved like furniture (use heavy duty, thick dust sheets
  • Keep the area well ventilated by opening windows.
  • At the same time try to isolate the dust to one area by keeping internal doors closed.

Unfortunately, there are some jobs where dust and mess can’t be avoided. However, the short-term inconvenience is going to be better than leaving the problem to get worse.

Eventually it will need fixing and the longer it is left the messier and more disruptive the solution is likely to be.