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Water can rise up through most materials used for building houses, such as brick, concrete and stone. In scientific terms, this is caused by capillary action.
To prevent this happening, a damp proof course (DPC) is inserted in any walls which rest on foundations laid in the ground. This provides an impervious barrier to water. The DPC is installed as a horizontal layer between two courses of brickwork. It should be a short distance above ground level so that ground water cannot bridge the DPC.
In modern properties, the DPC is usually a thick plastic strip. Other materials which have been used include Bituminous Felt, slate, and lead sheet. The Romans used oyster shells for this purpose. Cavity Walls require a DPC in each leaf of the wall.
Failure of the DPC can be caused by damage during installation, cracking of rigid DPC materials, such as slate, and caused by settlement or subsidence.
Bridging of the DPC often happens when earth or rubble is heaped up against an outside wall, or a patio or paved area is built up above the level of the DPC. It can also occur when external rendering is applied across the DPC. When this happens, moisture can rise into the brickwork above the DPC.
The surveyor will report on any indications of problems with the DPC. They will advise whether a further specialist survey is required or if remedial work is necessary.
A damp-proof membrane (DPM) is a wide impervious plastic sheet, used to cover the ground floor and to stop moisture rising within a building. In timber structures, a DPM will protect the timber against damp, rot and mould. It is usually placed underneath a floor to prevent rising damp or in a sloping roof.
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Granite Building Warranties Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Richdale Brokers & Financial Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Granite Building Warranties is a company registered in England and Wales (Company Number 11497543) with its registered office at 1st Floor, 5 Century Court, Tolpits Lane, Watford, WD18 9PX.”