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What are damp proofing membrane used for

Damp proof membranes are used to establish a physical barrier between sources of water and the interiors of a buildings or structures. These can either be vertical or horizontal membranes depending on how the moisture is being transmitted, e.g., 

  • Flooring membranes (horizontal) used to prevent moisture from rising through the ground
  • Damp proof course (horizontal) used to prevent rising damp between layers or brickwork in new buildings
  • Tanking membrane (vertical) used to prevent water from penetrating through walls in below-ground structures
  • Lath or Meshed membranes (vertical) used to assist with decoration in walls that are already affected by damp and need to be dried whish being decorated


The different types of damp proof membrane

Although categorization of these products can vary, they are generally used in the following way and different manufacturers will tend to show them as such. However some membranes will have multiple uses across a structure while others may be highly specialised for the ground conditions and water pressures which exist in the specific constructions.

Flooring: inserted between the ground and the base concrete of a building floor to prevent moisture from being transmitted
Above ground walls: used largely for remedial work, thin to be inserted into cavities and can be plastered over
Below ground walls:  able to cope with higher water pressure and will channel water away – which then must be pumped away to be drained
Between bricks (otherwise known as a damp proof course):  thin layer of membrane used during new build and inserted into the mortar line 
Geotextiles: permeable membrane used in underground structures to prevent contamination and damage to the primary damp proof membranes

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