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Damp proofing can be expensive if you turn to a professional damp proofer for help. At some point, most of us have looked in horror at the brown and bubbling patches on our walls at home, dreading the cost of putting it right. This article will explain how you can minimise or even avoid damp problems altogether.

Damp proofing in a cost-effective way doesn't just mean taking care of rising damp and other damp problems at home by finding good proofing products at reasonable prices. There are other ways you can save money on tackling damp as well. A logical first step is to understand what the different types of damp are.

The three most common types of damp are: rising damp, damp caused by rain and water penetration, and damp caused by condensation. Each can do serious damage to your home. In fact, all three can together or separately cause walls or even an entire building to become structurally unsafe and therefore uninhabitable.

A PVC or bitumen damp proof course is a membrane that shields brickwork from water rising up out of the ground. If it is suitably pliable, durable and resistant to stress, your wall(s) should be sufficiently protected from damp problems for years. Damp courses can weaken with time, though, and you'll need to add extra protection. 

Where your home has been penetrated by rain coming in through a broken roof tile or a faulty gutter, this can often cause damp to form on bedroom and landing ceilings (damp proofing using a damp course ceiling membrane doesn't always prevent this). The damp could also be caused by water leaking from old loft pipes.

The most common cause of condensation in buildings is poor ventilation. An excessive amount of atmospheric moisture is created in the home, usually from heaters, cookers, or due to windows being permanently shut in small rooms. Houses without central heating can also suffer.

The best way to avoid damp is of course to take measures to prevent it developing in the first place. To reduce condensation, for example, it is a good idea to wipe down your windows and sills every morning. Most DIY shops sell condensation channels and sponge strips. Fit these to your windows to prevent damp forming.

You can also stop damp developing by heating your home a little more, ventilating rooms more, producing less moisture by covering pans, drying clothes outdoors, and venting your tumble dryer to the outside. Fix the holes where rain or other water is leaking into your home by replacing roof tiles and cracked pipes, etc.

Damp proofing, then, is as much about knowing how to replace a damp course, as being aware of the different types of damp and their root causes. Armed with this information you can then set about identifying potential damp problems and taking the necessary steps to protect your home from damp before it forms.

Damp proofing is easier to carry out and involves less expense if you know what the different types of damp are and what causes them to form in your home.