Combating damp with paint
Damp is a well known, but less welcome, visitor in many British homes; it sneaks in from cracks in the exterior masonry or unnoticeably rises from the ground. When the damp starts doing visible damage, we often try to combat the problem with the easiest solution we can think of: paint. However, it may not be the smartest first move. Paint may contribute to solving damp problems, but it surely isn’t a panacea. Before starting to cover the damp damage with paint, you should understand how damp resistant paint works, and to what extent t solves your problems.
How damp resistant paint works in practise
We often talk about damp resistant paint as a cure for damp problems in our homes, whereas how damp resistant paint works, is really about preventing damp problems, not curing them. Therefore, if you struggle with excess moisture in your home, and apply damp resistant paint on the moist wall or ceiling, it most likely will not work, at least not for long. However, if you have got rid of previous damp problems, and apply damp resistant paint, it will work; the likelihood of damp on the surface is reduced.
Damp resistant paint works as a barrier on ceilings and interior or exterior walls which are prone to damp. The barrier prevents water from penetrating the paint, and from affecting the underlying substrate. The barrier does not let a drop through, which is why it is crucial that the damp is gone before painting. Otherwise:
- Interior walls and ceilings
Water can still access from the outside
- Exterior walls
Water cannot exit anywhere else but through your interior walls causing stains
- Interior and exterior walls
Water has no place to go and may damage the structures of your house
Digging deeper into the damp resistant technology
Looking at the chemistry behind damp proofing coatings, how damp resistant paint works is based on water reactive agents incorporated in the paint formula. These agents eliminate residual surface moisture, which means that the chance for damp occurring is decreased. The damp resistant paints additionally contain powerful polymers which make the coatings more durable than regular wall coatings. The damp resistant technology is used in waterproofing masonry paints and in interior damp proof paints.
The mixed feelings about damp resistant paint
Damp resistant coatings are products that divide the public: some say they are worth every penny, and others find them nonsense. Before speaking out on whether damp resistant paint works or not, let’s emphasize that the purpose of damp resistant paints is to protect against surface moisture. It is thus not a cure for damp, nor does it help if the cause of damp is not eliminated before application. Even though the damp resistant paint hides the signs of excess moisture, it does not solve the problem.
Therefore, getting rid of damp does not start with painting, it starts with identifying the problem, getting rid of it and making sure it doesn’t come back. And that’s where paint comes into the picture; damp resistant paint works just fine when it is applied on a properly prepared and dry surface.