Whether you are buying a new house or fixing your old one, the dampness of walls and water seepage are common problems faced by most home and building owners. Here are a few measures which can be taken to waterproof your home.

Dampness is the presence of excess moisture on the surface, and seepage is the process by which liquid flows slowly through a porous surface or hole. Although excessive rainfall over time may lead to dampness or seepage in buildings in Singapore, the most common reasons include poor quality of construction and lack of waterproofing measures during construction of the building. Such problems may lead to the dampness of the walls, efflorescence, and peeling of paint. These may be the result of any of the three classifications of damp walls.

Common types of dampness

Penetrating Dampness: One or many leaking drain pipes or hoses, a broken water pipe or running water are the major reasons behind penetrating dampness as the water tends to run over and eventually, seep through the pores into the structure. Although such a problem can be easily remedied by fixing the source of water, waterproofing chemicals are an important part of keeping this problem at bay.

Rising Dampness: When accumulated moisture starts rising from the ground up through pores due to capillary action, we call this phenomenon rising dampness. Rising damp creates problems in the lower region of the walls and causes efflorescence and peeling of the paint.

Condensation: Condensation is essentially the moisture in the air that can be taken care of by installing new ventilation systems and improving home insulation and heating processes.

Most of the time these problems may occur due to poor quality of construction and/or lack of waterproofing chemicals used during the construction of the building. Lack of use of waterproofing chemicals can cause dampness of the walls, efflorescence and the peeling of paint.

Thus, the dampness of walls must be tackled and resolved in a timely manner. However, there is a certain lack of awareness about which waterproofing chemicals and processes must be used in order to either solve these problems or avoid them altogether.

Treating mild dampness of interior walls

In case of mild damp patches, homeowners may use the following method to treat the patches and get back to painting the walls.

  1. Use an iron stick to remove loose patches in and around the damp area and remove patches of loose plaster as well, if any.
  1. In case the plaster has been removed, homeowners may apply a coating of waterproofing chemicals, such as Zorrocrete 008W mixed with cement on the surface. However, once done, the homeowner also has the choice to re-plaster the patches using mortar made of cement, sand, and Zorroproof 007 L – allowing the plaster to cure and dry out.

Although one can use the above-mentioned ways to treat the dampness in the walls, one must remember to always treat the damp area and the 2 feet of the area around it.

Interior walls: Treating severe dampness

Severe cases of dampness in walls are mostly characterized by peeling plaster, visible damp patches, and white chalky deposits. For the homeowner to tackle this issue of water leaking from walls, the plaster will have to be completely removed from the walls in order to apply to waterproof, beginning with the brick level.

  1. Take an iron stick and remove the damaged plaster on the walls till the brick level, then clear a 2 feet wide in excess of the damp patch.
  1. Apply a strong waterproof coating agent, such as Zorrocrete 2K 011, directly on to the bricks.
  1. Finally, apply the plaster on the exposed patch using mortar using cement, sand and an integral waterproofing chemical such as Zorroproof 007 L.
  2. Whitewash the affected area after the base has been prepared.

Similar to the methods that may be applied to fix damp walls, there are few processes that can be used to fix walls with seepage problems as mentioned below.

To treat water seepage on walls adjoining bathroom or kitchen

The grout (area between tiles), cracks in bathrooms and kitchen tiles may cause water seepage that can result in severe dampness in the adjacent walls. Such exposure to water may cause bubbling and peeling of paint. Although bathroom and kitchen walls with seepage problems may cause seepage in adjoining walls, the seepage could also be because of leaking pipes inside the walls.

  1. In case of severe leakage in pipes or the joints, have a plumber identify the source and repair it before treating the wall.
  1. Fill all the grout and cracks between the tiles with a strong sealing agent, such as Zorrofix Tile Grout 012 TG or Zorrofix Epoxy Grout 016 ETG, as these will block the water from entering the adjacent and/or adjoining walls.
  1. Allow the wall some time to dry and then utilize either of the two methods depending on the severity of the dampness.

Treating dampness due to water seepage from exterior walls

Seepage in places like the mid-level walls or those around windows may have been caused due to cracks in the external walls. However, before treating the interior walls, one must repair and waterproof the exteriors by following the below-mentioned steps.

  1. Step 1: Fill all the cracks in the exterior walls using Zorrocrackfix 009 C.
  2. Step 2: To protect the areas around the window frames from seepage, fill the gaps between the window frames and walls using strong weather/neutral Silicon Sealant-WS/NS 9895.
  3. Step 3: Once the exterior walls have been repaired and all cracks have been filled, apply exterior paint of your choice with waterproofing abilities.
  4. Step 4: Finally, allow the internal wall to get dry before utilizing either of the above two methods.

Treating dampness due to seepage from the bathroom on the floor above

Damp areas in the interior walls can arise due to leakages in the kitchen/bathroom on the floor or apartment above. However, to solve this problem, the issue needs to be treated on the RCC slab level with effective waterproofing chemicals.

  1. Remove the tile and the tile mortar to add the waterproofing agent on the slab. You may use products like Zorrocrete 2K 011 or the Zorrocrete 008W.
  1. Repave the concrete using the mortar mixed with an integral waterproofing agent such as Zorroproof 007 L.
  1. Fill the grout and/or crack/gaps between the tiles using sealing agents like Zorrofix Tile Grout 012 TG or Zorrofix Epoxy Grout 016 ETG.
  1. Let the ceiling dry up and then use the above two methods depending on the severity of the dampness.

Depending on the severity of the dampness and/or the seepage in the walls, you can use any of the above-mentioned methods. Treating dampness is important for restoring the health of the construction.