Water Ingress – Treatments for Walls & Brickwork

What is water ingress?

Water ingress, also known as penetrating damp, is when water penetrates through the walls or brickwork of a building from the outside. Luckily, there are water ingress treatments to help deal with this common issue – from masonry creams to waterproof membranes.

Water ingress and the dampness it causes can affect the health of you or your family. Here’s how to prevent water ingress from happening in the first place, plus how to treat the issue.

What causes water ingress?

There are several potential causes of water ingress, which can include the following:

Poor building construction
Buildings that aren’t built properly can be prone to water leakage through unsealed doors and windows, or drainage systems that are faulty or inadequate. This could also extend to a building being improperly maintained, with faults appearing over time.

Surrounding land drainage
If the surrounding ground of a building is not properly graded, water can run towards the structure and cause problems. Look out for places with a high potential for flooding.

Extreme weather conditions
Severe storms, floods and other unusual weather events can cause water to enter the building, even if the building’s construction and envelope are structurally sound.

In bad cases of condensation, particularly in buildings with high humidity levels or poor ventilation, condensation can build up on walls and cause water ingress.

Issues with plumbing
If pipes and plumbing are faulty or old, this can cause leaks within a house – an old pipe could become leaky over time, causing water to infiltrate into the walls or floor.

Water Ingress Through Walls
Water ingress through interior walls can be a serious issue. It can cause damage to the room itself, alongside creating an unpleasant and sometimes mouldy environment for the residents inside.

If you’ve spotted water ingress on your interior walls, here are a few things you can do:

  • Check whether the water is coming from a plumbing leak within the house, a faulty gutter, or something else – you can then take steps to fix the problem quickly.
  • Repair the damage in walls to prevent any further deterioration, and prevent any further water ingress by sealing any leaks, fixing any gutter maintenance issues, and checking the house for any hidden problems with doors, windows or roofing.
  • If you can’t figure out where the water ingress in your home is coming from, and have checked your brickwork too, it may be worth calling a professional to look.
  • Here are some home maintenance tasks you should never skip, from Solatube Home.

Water Ingress Through Brickwork

Similarly to water ingress through walls, water ingress through brickwork has similar causes and ways to resolve. It can be caused by damaged or defective bricks, old or missing mortar, or poor drainage around the property. Here are a couple of things you can do to fix it.

  • Check for old or damaged bricks – they may be letting water into your home. You may be able to repair any gaps with mortar or replace the whole brick if needed.
  • Mortar can degrade with time, and if it’s missing or damaged you will need to replace it. If it’s too big a job for you to do yourself, it may be worth calling a tradesperson.
  • If the drainage around your home is poor, you may need to look into re-grading the ground around it, installing a new drainage system, or even installing a pump.

How to prevent water ingress

Preventing water ingress in the first place can help save time and stress treating issues caused by it. Here are 10 ways to prevent water ingress from affecting your home:

  1. Regularly inspect your home’s structure for any points of water ingress
  2. Seal windows and doors with weatherstripping to prevent water from entering
  3. Check the roof for any broken roofing materials that need to be replaced
  4. Seal wall cracks and holes with a suitable sealant such as silicone
  5. Install a sump pump if your home’s cellar or basement is prone to flooding
  6. Check gutters regularly – debris can cause water to seep into the building
  7. Ensure the ground gradient doesn’t slope upwards away from the walls
  8. Plumbing should be maintained and routinely checked for any leakage
  9. A waterproof membrane outside the foundation helps prevent water entering
  10. Regularly maintain the building with painting and sealing damage

If you already have water ingress damage, here’s how to stop it from happening again.

Water Ingress Treatments

A range of materials can be used to seal cracks and joints in a building structure to help prevent further damage. This can be done with silicone, acrylic and polyurethane.

Waterproof Membrane
Applying asphalt, bitumen, or plastic sheets to the surface of the structure can help water stop seeping in. The idea is to create a waterproof membrane that protects the structure.

Drainage & Pumps
Installing an improved drainage system, such as French drains, helps to direct water away from the building. Alternatively, a sump pump can help to remove water from cellars.

Roof & Gutter Maintenance
Repairing leaks and damage to the roof is a good way to help prevent water from entering this way while keeping gutters free of debris like leaves can stop water from overflowing.

Creating a waterproof seal around windows and doors can help to stop water from entering through these openings. Weatherstripping can help to seal gaps in older properties.

Wall Coatings
As every house design and set of circumstances is different, it’s important to consult a professional damp-proofing expert to find the best solution for your home’s issues.

Fixing Damage Caused by Water Ingress
Water ingress through brickwork or walls can cause damage to a property, but there are a few things you can do. However, if the damage is extensive or if there’s an underlying problem with the building, it’s best to consult a professional to fix the issue for good.

  1. Remove any standing water as fast as possible, using a pump or towels
  2. Dry the area completely using a dehumidifier, fan, or by opening windows
  3. If insulation or drywall has been very damaged, this should be removed
  4. Prevent mould and mildew growth by cleaning with water and bleach
  5. Repair the source of the water ingress using methods in this blog post
  6. Replace any damaged materials and repaint any water-affected areas

Taking care of the damage as soon as possible helps to prevent further issues with mould and mildew growth. If your water ingress issue is extensive, calling in a professional may help – Allerton Damp provides cutting-edge techniques and damp-proofing services.

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