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Perished Plasterwork

Perished Plasterwork

Where rising damp has occurred, the action of rising water carries mineral salts from the ground and leaves them as salt deposits in the brickwork and plaster. Where this has occurred the plaster may have perished because the salt deposits will have attracted moisture from the air or wall causing damp patches of varying severity, depending on the humidity of the atmosphere.

Even though the introduction of a damp-proof course will control further rising damp, damp patches may still occur on the walls and it is therefore essential that all perished plaster should be removed.

Both the dpc and the replastering form part of the dpc system and both are usually included in any guarantees offered by the installing company.

As an important point, replastering only to a wall that continues to suffer from ingress of water (such as a wall without a damp proof course) is unlikely to prove successful in the long term. This is because renovating plasters are usually only capable of holding back moisture for a short period. Such  a period would normally be during drying out of the wall after damp proof course insertion.

The installation of a dpc only in a wall that has wet and salt contaminated plaster on it will not allow the wall plaster to dry out or for the salts in the plaster to diminish. Plaster removal and replacement must take place. Too often we hear of, and visit, properties where a dpc only has been installed and the wall plaster still tests damp with an electronic moisture meter.

Replacement plasters must be of the renovating cement-based type and have no gypsum content in the backing or first coat. Gypsum is very sensitive to moisture and salts and degrades in the presence of both. The design of a renovating plaster is to provide two distinct layers. The render or backing coat is that applied directly to the exposed masonry, when the old plaster has been hacked off. One of its purposes is to provide a rough surface onto which a finishing coat can be applied. However, its main purpose is to protect the finishing plaster coat from residual moisture and salts left in the masonry of the wall after the old plaster has been removed. Therefore the backing plaster contains both water and salt resistant additives to allow it to work.

Finishing plasters are gypsum based. Their function is cosmetic only; to provide a flat, smooth surface on to which wall decorations can be applied. Finishing plasters are sometimes also called "skim" plasters.

Gypsum based, light weight plasters must not be used. Plaster must not bridge the damp-proof course and must not come in contact with solid floors. A minimum gap of 2 inches / 50 mm should be left between the floor and the plaster.

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23 November 2020
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