Damp Proofing vs. Waterproofing – What’s the Best Solution?

Published: 03rd May 2011
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While constructing or renovating a house, people usually have the doubt as to which is the better solution – damp proofing or waterproofing. Also, why one solution is better than the other. It cannot be concluded decisively as to one is better than the other. Instead, by finding the differences between both either of them can be chosen based on your need and the structure of your building.

Before attempting a definition of damp proofing and water proofing considering a few factors about your property would be a good idea. Whether it is a new property or old and whether its internal floor level is lower than the earth surrounding it are two important aspects when it comes to deciding what you need – damp proofing or water proofing. As you are aware, earth is one major route for the water to enter your property.

So let’s check out the scenarios where damp proofing or water proofing is suitable for a building.

Damp proofing

Damp proofing is a solution for a property when the external ground level is lower than the floor level inside the building. When the earth around is lower, the risk of pressurized water ingress is reduced, and here you can apply damp proofing. For example, when dampness is found you could apply a damp proofing membrane that can manage the capillary held moisture applicable in the case of walls and floors.

And in case you are partial to damp proofing you could remove the surrounding earth and this brings the internal floors above the external grounds.


Waterproofing, on the other hand, is crucial if the external grounds are on a higher plane than the internal floors. This is because there are more chances of water entering the property through the earth, and hence you need a waterproofing solution that can collect and remove the water away from the building.

At times people might wonder why they need a waterproofing system when their external ground levels are only marginally high or when there is no running water. The fact is the providers of damp proofing or waterproofing solutions not only consider the present scenario but also the changes that might occur in future like climatic variations, temporary pockets of water, burst water mains or perched water tables. Also, in the UK the providers are to go by the British Code of Practice, (BS8102:2009, or The Code of Practice for The Protection of Structures against Water from the Ground) which advices to go for waterproofing if the external ground level is higher by 10cm or 10m.

So now you can find the answer to your question whether damp proofing or waterproofing is better for your property. All you need to remember is if the external ground level is higher than the internal floors, water proofing is the right solution and if the ground is lower you could go for damp proofing.

John Newton & Company, leading independent supplier of damp proofing membranes, structural waterproofing systems, water control and drainage products.

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