Water ingress is an increasingly prominent problem in the UK today. But what is water ingress through brickwork, what does it mean & what solutions are there available to treat it? We will cover all of these points and more in this handy guide!
What is water ingress?
Firstly, let's establish what exactly water ingress is. Water ingression is the movement of moisture from the external environment into a building through it's exterior walls. This can occur in a number of ways and due to a number of factors, but we will cover that in more detail!
What is important to understand at this point is that any water ingress through walls is not good for the health of your home at all. This moisture can cause damp, damaged brickwork & health problems, so it is essential that it is treated at source at the earliest possible instance.
What causes water ingress?
Water ingress is caused by moisture entering the property, usually in a number of common areas including exterior walls & roofs. While there are common areas of water ingress, there are a broad range of potential causes that may vary on a case-by-case basis. The most common causes are:
- Ageing brickwork - as bricks age they become more prone to moisture ingression
- Damaged brickwork - when moisture enters brickwork, it can undergo a freeze-thaw cycle which leads to the moisture expanding, which in turn leads to cracks appearing in the brickwork. Any damaged pointing or cracks in bricks will be a big problem that will only worsen as more moisture enters each time
- Roofs - damaged roofs that may have tiles missing can be susceptible to moisture
- Blocked gutters - this is an easily rectified problem that is a common cause of penetrating damp
- Windows - flashing around window frames can lead to moisture penetrating exterior walls
- Rising damp - damp from the ground can be spread through exterior walls
What are the signs of water ingress?
As we have established, there are a number of areas that are prone to water ingress. We recommend that you carry out an inspection of the exterior of your property to find any clear signs of moisture. Firstly, look out for any dark patches on your brickwork. This is a clear indication that water has been allowed to enter through your home's exterior walls and is likely to enter through to the internal walls if your home is of solid wall construction or through to the cavity wall insulation. Any 'blown' brick faces (have an eroded or cracked appearance) or missing pointing are also clear indicators of the source of water ingress.
On internal walls, if the walls are damp to touch, unless a clear alternative source of the water is present such as condensation, the moisture is likely to be soaking through from exterior walls. Any peeling paintwork, mould growth or musty smells are all moisture related problems that may also be key indicators.
How to stop water ingress through brickwork?
If you have identified that it is your brickwork that is the cause of the water ingress, then you will be asking how do I stop water ingress through brickwork? Well, luckily there are effective methods to prevent this from continuing. This water ingress through brickwork is called 'penetrating damp' is caused by wind-driven rain that soaks through onto the brickwork, or even leaking gutters that spill over onto the masonry. This moisture can appear at any level of the building, unlike 'rising damp' which we will mention soon!
So how do you prevent this moisture? Well, firstly it is crucial to repair any missing pointing on the masonry. Any gaps in the pointing will simply allow moisture to enter to either the cavity wall insulation or straight through to the interior wall if your home is of solid wall construction. Once any pointing is repaired, a waterproof protective masonry cream should be applied to the brickwork. A masonry cream creates an invisible waterproof barrier on the wall that repels any moisture that tries to enter the surface. What is crucial is that you use a breathable masonry cream! If the masonry cream is not breathable then any moisture for inside the building will become trapped, which will only make damp problems worse.
At Emperor Paint we offer a highly advanced masonry cream that is super hydrophobic (repels water), breathable, self-cleaning & has a proven 25+ year performance.
What is crucial to note is that this is not just a solution for properties that currently suffer from water ingress, but it is a preventative measure for those properties that do not suffer. As we have discussed, a common route cause of brick deterioration & decay is moisture. By treating exterior walls before they become susceptible to moisture, you will prevent any future damp damage to your home's structure.
Shop Emperor Masonry Creme today or why not take a look at our coloured Masonry Paint? It uses the same technology to prevent penetrating damp, but can transform the look of your property at the same time!
Emperor Masonry Creme
As we mentioned, this is a perfect solution for 'penetrating damp' however not for 'rising damp'. Rising damp only starts at the bottom of brickwork, working it's way up. If this is the case with your property, this will require a different solution to penetrating damp. The moisture from rising damp comes from the ground, and is often caused by the damp proof course failing. If you have damp that is slowly rising up the exterior wall of your home, seek a professional in damp proof courses.
Solutions for other areas of the house
If an investigation does not show any signs of water ingress on exterior walls, then it is crucial to analyse any other potential causes.
If you have identified leaking windows to be a problem, caused from gaps around the window frame, then there are a few options for solutions. The solution depends on the location of the fault. If the gap is between the window frame and the glass, then re-sealing the gaps may be in order. If the gap is between the window frame and the exterior wall, then you will have to re-point this gap. Both of these can be done either by yourself or by a professional, depending on your level of confidence.
Roof & gutters
Examine your roof & gutters for any signs of damage. Check any tiles or cracks where water may be penetrating the roof or check any gutters for blockages. If you are not confident with this type of investigating, seek a professional who can examine the roof. Depending on the problem, the professional will be able to give you the best advice on how to treat the problem.
How do I resolve the interior damp?
Once the source of the water ingression has been resolved, the next step is to resolve the interior damp. To supercharge the drying of the room, you may wish to use a dehumidifier to assist with the drying of moisture. If you do not have a dehumidifier then do not worry, the moisture will gradually reduce. In most cases, simply apply an interior damp sealer or a stain blocker to damp patches & once it has dried, decorate as you wish!
Have any more questions regarding water ingress? Our team of experts is on hand to assist you with any questions you may have. Talk to one of our experts today or prevent water ingress with our clear masonry cream or coloured masonry paint.