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Old Oct 6th 2016, 8:45 pm   #1
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Default Damp proofing- using metal sheets in external walls

Has anyone heard of the method of stainless steel sheets being hammered into the external walls of an old house to stop damp from coming into the walls? We have had a tradesman visit our house today who specialises in it, but we have not come across this method before.

Our house is nearly 100 years old but he seems to think that putting these sheets into the house at floor level, creating a waterproof barrier, will stop any damp from coming in.

Just wondering if anyone here has come across this method and thoughts on it. Thanks
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Old Oct 6th 2016, 10:02 pm   #2
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Default Re: Damp proofing- using metal sheets in external walls

I Have never heard of this method of damp proofing a wall before but - The essence of any damp course (dpc) is that to be effective it has to be continuous. Any gaps will allow the water to penetrate beyond the dpc, how will the installer join up the sheets when hammered into the wall? In the same way if the plaster or rendering is carried over the dpc then this will also 'short circuit' the dpc, so if it is installed then the internal and external render/plaster must not be allowed to cover the dpc.

When you say 'damp coming in' what do you mean, what are the problems you are experiencing? What is the construction of the house, mud brick, if so what is the construction of the first 500mm of wall, or is it stone or stone with rubble infill, or brick? Is the problem new or have you always had it, is the whole house affected or just one part? (or separate bits around the house)

Why do you think that these sheets will solve the problem, what problem determination has been gone through to find the cause of the damp?

If the thought is that the damp is coming up from the ground then any internal walls (at a minimum of within 1 -1.5M of the external walls) will also have to be treated since they will be equally affected. If the tradesman is not suggesting this then I would be questioning his technical knowledge.

I am sceptical that this solution will actually provide a solution since there is no way that a continuous dpc can be provided by banging sheets of metal into a wall.

We had damp in a house that we rent out, (construction - stone with rubble infill) one north facing wall was experiencing damp which was evidenced by black mould growing continuously on the wall. That room was not heated (or lived in) as much as the rest of the house and after some thought I decided that the mould was a result of the wall being a bit colder than the rest of the house promoting a bit of condensation and there followed the mould. The high humidity in the house which was prompting the condensation was a lifestyle issue, lack of ventilation, (ventilating can be expensive on the heating bill) lots of boiling in the cooking (pasta etc.). The solution (given that life style change wasn't going to happen) was 10cm of external insulation on the outside of the affected wall, result warmer wall - no more condensation and no more mould. The point is that it is important to understand the cause of the problem and then find an acceptable solution.
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Old Oct 6th 2016, 10:12 pm   #3
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Default Re: Damp proofing- using metal sheets in external walls

The layer is continuous as the metal sheets are overlapped. He has a website which explains it, I will paste the link to the website here: Van egyáltalán végleges megoldás a nedves falak vízszigetelésében? | Dr Fal
I have had a look online but can hardly find anything on this method.
We have a couple of walls showing damp which the surveyor found and the floor is showing signs too (rotting in corners, raised floorboards) which he said would need taking up and filling with concrete - a separate job from the walls. We also have a damp smell in the house.

This was his solution after looking at the house today. Its an old stone house, we're not sure if there is rubble too.

We agreed with him at the time, as people always seem to pressure us into giving them an answer straight away, but now i'm not sure that we should have said to go ahead. We verbally agreed a price so not sure if we can get out of it..
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Old Oct 6th 2016, 10:54 pm   #4
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Default Re: Damp proofing- using metal sheets in external walls

Looking at the pictures in the link, because I wasn't clear about which direction the moisture was coming from, it appears that the stainless steel sheets are not, as I first thought, some sort of weatherproof exterior shell or splash guard, but a horizontal damp proof course layer.

I can see that trying to insert a layer of tarpaper to make a traditional British damp-proof course would likely be futile, because the weight of the stone, and any roughness or sharp corners, would almost certainly punch holes in the damp-proof course, rendering it ineffective.

I have never heard of inserting a layer of stainless steel sheets into the base of a wall, but it should certainly stop the upward migration of moisture from the ground.
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Old Oct 7th 2016, 12:34 am   #5
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Default Re: Damp proofing- using metal sheets in external walls

The video on the website showed the plated being hammered into a BRICK wall where you have defined courses and the plates were placed in the mortar line. In a STONE wall you do not have a defined mortar line since the wall is built without courses in the convention of a brick wall. If it is a stone wall and is about 50cm thick I would suspect stone with rubble infill in the centre. This IMO would be almost impossible to bang sheets into as per the video on the website and with my experience with stone walls I would be very concerned about the process damaging the walls. Further more whilst the plates might be overlapping this would not stop capillary action between two plates allowing moisture to track into the wall above and if any mortar or dust or earth got between the sheets then this would also allow moisture to track to the wall above.

From your comments
(We have a couple of walls showing damp which the surveyor found and the floor is showing signs too (rotting in corners, raised floorboards) which he said would need taking up and filling with concrete - a separate job from the walls. We also have a damp smell in the house.)
it sounds like a new to you house, is this the case? how long ha it been empty? Are the floors original? Classically the floor boards would be laid on sand or earth, not on joists with venting underneath as in the UK so after 100 years some rot may happen. Corners are the classic place for any damp to show first, especially if furniture has be place there for some time as the corners are the first places to suffer from poor ventilation and without ventilation damp problems will occur. A house that has been empty (and shut up) for a time will smell damp due to a lack of ventilation, especially this year which has been rather wet and has has high humidity for most of the summer, (ask anyone who has tried to make hay!!)

A couple of walls showing damp could be as a result of some time of no occupation, it depends where the damp is. Certainly a couple of walls showing damp - I would ask why are the other walls not so affected? After all they are all the same structure. What about the gutters? are they in good order and not blocked? Over flowing or leaking gutters can cause damp walls.

What about outside the house? do you have a concrete path up tight against the wall, especially in the area where the damp was found? And whilst on the subject of finding damp, how was the damp detected? Sight (looking at the wall) feel or a meter? Or was it peeling paint or wall paper? Is the rot in the floor in the same place as the damp found in the walls?

I certainty would not rush to install the dpc offered into a stone wall - even if it can be installed into a stone wall, which I doubt, without looking to find the cause of the problem first.

With regards to agreeing the price with the tradesman, if you are having second thoughts in your place I would tell him that you are not certain that his treatment is the right one for stone walls and ask him to delay starting whilst you consider what should be done. Otherwise you can always tell him that with the fall in the pound unfortunately you can't afford the work at the moment - but later when the pound recovers.....

There are solutions to damp in traditionally build houses but it is not a one size fits all. It does depend upon the cause as to what mitigating action is best.
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Old Oct 7th 2016, 9:29 am   #6
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Default Re: Damp proofing- using metal sheets in external walls

thanks very much for the great and thorough response on this, its very helpful.
the house was left for 6 months last winter, but was lived in prior to that. And yes we do have those slabs around our house which I think we will get removed, as they are very thick it may be a big job but worth doing to make sure the moisture doesn't build up underneath them.

After sleeping on it, we will tell the guy to hold off for now.. something about that method didn't sit with us and putting it on the forum has really helped us
the floor is more a worry - in one room the boards are lifting and bowing all over and another its just in one corner. this worst room is at the back of the house where the slabs are and where there is a slope toward the house!

Thanks again
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Old Oct 7th 2016, 11:49 am   #7
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Default Re: Damp proofing- using metal sheets in external walls

Quote:
Originally Posted by lulu122 View Post
in one room the boards are lifting and bowing all over and another its just in one corner. this worst room is at the back of the house where the slabs are and where there is a slope toward the house!
Yes the slabs should be removed and in addition it would help if a french drain was dug around the property (or at least at the back where there is a slope towards the house). The french drain should be provided with an outfall so that any water in it can escape. Due respect must be given to the foundations when putting in a french drain.

Are the gutters in good order and is the down pipe given somewhere to outfall or does it just deposit the water at the base of the wall as it does in so many Hungarian houses?

By the way the standard for fitting a dpc in the UK is that the dpc material should overlap by at least 100mm and be joined with suitable tape. The metal plate system falls a long way short of this standard.

Last edited by Peter_in_Hungary; Oct 7th 2016 at 11:51 am.
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Old Oct 7th 2016, 11:56 am   #8
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Default Re: Damp proofing- using metal sheets in external walls

Just spoke to my HU girlfriend. She said this metal insertion technique has been in operation for around 20 years already. Her sister in Forráskút (Csongrád county) has had it done and the work is guaranteed.

She also said there is a chemical technique (treatment) too, but it is very expensive; especially in comparison to the metal technique.

In general: The brickwork and buildings techniques 100 years ago did not make everything waterproof/watertight, hence problems 100 years later. These days they build a bunker type base for the water - https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ho...C3%A1s&imgrc=_
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Old Oct 7th 2016, 1:23 pm   #9
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Default Re: Damp proofing- using metal sheets in external walls

Please be very careful with the idea to remove the dampness from the house and think it through!

I know from experience that Hungarians make many mistakes her, don't know if it's too little knowledge or money or ...

We went several times to an office building in Hévíz where several docs, an optician and other businesses are and were astonished to see the walls in the lower floor damp again - after something was done last year ...

And in one room that isn't used we put up some "dehumidifying salt".

It#s also a good idea to have digital hunidity meters - they often come in combination wit a thermometer and are relatively cheap nowadays.

Good luck!
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