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How to Damp Proof Concrete Floors

As a flooring option, a concrete surface is a popular choice. Not only is it strong, but it can allow many versatile uses. 

Due to the sturdy nature of a concrete floor, you would naturally assume dampness wouldn’t be a problem. But this is far from true. 

With an absent damp-proof membrane, moisture can rise through a concrete floor and can cause a multitude of problems, namely water appearing on the finishing layer. 

This could destroy the concrete as well as present many health risks to those within the vicinity, hence why it’s important to damp-proof your floor. 

Below, we’ve assembled a guide on how best to protect your concrete floors from damp and how to prevent it.

Damp Concrete Floors

Although concrete is pretty solid, it’s also quite porous which presents the perfect opportunity for moisture to seep up through the foundations. 

Moisture can appear due to many factors, the primary one being a change in the floor’s surrounding environment. 

For example, if you uproot a tree or large plant, the water in the soil would rise due to the plant no longer using it. This will put pressure on your concrete’s damp-proofing system. Without it, the moisture will simply seep through and ruin your floor. 

It is important, therefore, to consult a contractor before undergoing any large excavation projects, to analyse the impact removal will have on moisture levels.

There are two ways you can damp-proof your concrete floor:

  1. Remove the old concrete floor, put in a completely new damp proof membrane while lapping up the edges before replacing the old concrete slabs
  2. Isolate the dampness in the floor using a surface Damp Proof Membrane (DPM) and lap it up without needing to remove concrete slabs. 
Damp-Proof During Construction

Whenever using damp proof methods, it is best to do so during the initial construction phase of the project and never afterwards.

All concrete constructions are required to implement damp-proofing techniques. The most common of these are Polyethylene 1200 Gauge DPMs between the hard core and concrete slab.

This forms an impermeable layer which, in turn, forms the membrane. Installing this during the initial construction phase will prevent moisture problems down the line. 

Damp-Proof Existing Floors

If you have an existing floor which has a poorly implemented or absent damp-proof membrane, the best solution would be a Liquid Epoxy Proof Membrane (DPM). 

Perhaps the best remedial solution, the epoxy is a two-component system with little odour, is completely solvent-free and constantly battles low moisture levels. 

Aside from this, there are plenty of benefits to using the liquid epoxy DPM as a damp-proofing treatment. 
The layer it creates is impermeable and ensures all water stays in the concrete slab, making it far more effective than plastic-based DPMs.

When it comes to existing concrete floors in commercial or industrial spaces, the epoxy offers a floor coating which leaves an impactful shine and high finish. 
They can also be applied directly to the concrete floor, saving time and money on removing the old concrete slabs. 

How To Apply An Epoxy DPM

It’s vital you prepare the concrete floor properly before applying the epoxy membrane. Once the concrete surface has been cleaned of any other coatings, debris or water, proceed to paint it on. 

It is best to use a nylon roller and brush to cover the most area. Multiple coats are needed to build up a strong layer, allowing between 12 and 48 hours between each. 

A minimum of two coats should be used with up to three depending on the level of moisture in the environment. 

This is to prevent any damp issues such as penetrating damp. However, you must be cautious in applying as there is the possibility of hydrostatic pressure which could direct the damp elsewhere. 

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