Minnesota winters throw all they can at your architecture throughout the year. Humidity, ice, and indoor damp can cause molds and coating failures that devastate your coatings and, ultimately, their underlying structures. Fortunately, these challenges come with an early warning system. Dampness has symptoms, and if you identify them early, you can prevent expensive remodelling jobs and equipment replacements.

Coating Bubbles

Paint blisters occur when your coating loses its adhesion due to heat or moisture. Bubbling is easy to spot on your walls, but industrial coating blisters begin at a molecular level, so metals require close attention. Osmotic blistering can be the result of a poor coatings process, which reveals itself in small, spotty areas or liquid-filled blisters. Non-osmotic blistering more closely resembles bubbles, while rising damp in your mortar presents itself as peeling from eroding blisters. If your symptoms are limited to the lower sections of your interior walls, water might be penetrating your structure as a result of:

  1. Groundwater wicking upwards and into your masonry.
  2. A poor damp proof course.
  3. High exterior ground levels.

Too many companies treat the symptoms of rising damp without considering the cause. This gives you a temporary solution to a permanent problem, resulting in a constant need to cover up signs of dampness. These aren’t easy problems to solve with a fresh coat of paint. They often require you to re-grade your exterior ground, but this is a time-intensive and expensive process, so it’s often best to approach these symptoms with waterproofing. A robust damp proof course can be created, usually with strong PVC plastic. Alternatively, a chemical or physical waterproof barrier can be built to keep moisture where it belongs–outside your building.  

Penetrating Damp

Mould growth, stains, and a damp scent can be signs of penetrating damp, which may be caused by roof leaks, exterior wall cracks, or poor waterproofing. Cementitious waterproofing can be used for indoor leaks in large parking structures and tunnels. Rubbery waterproofing membranes can address areas that need more flexibility. If you need a finer balance between hardiness and elongation, a bituminous coating adds strong reinforcement, but if your ceiling has a ringed or brown stain, you might have a ceiling leak requiring bituminous membrane waterproofing. This method is self-adhesive, relying on polymers and asphalt to achieve a temporary barrier. Flat roofs need a stronger coating such as a polyurethane liquid membrane.

Flooring

If your floors are warping, marked, or crowning, they might be absorbing moisture due to poor installation. Wood flooring needs to be installed at its equilibrium moisture content so that it doesn’t absorb dampness to balance itself with its environment. Concrete floors tend to pop out when moisture compromised, while moist tiles are more prone to loosening. The ASTM F-2170 standard calls for thermo-hygrometer probes that diagnose humidity deep within the slab. This will tell you where your waterproofing needs to be focused. Waterproof epoxy can seal cement floors from both rising and penetrative damp.

Efflorescence

White powder on the surface of your mortar indicates that there are water-soluble salts migrating through your masonry. The white sediment they create can be washed away, but this does little to prevent a recurring problem. Efflorescence is often caused by penetrating or rising damp, so the cause of the ingress must be determined before the right waterproofing strategy is created.

Condensation

Condensation can affect any building, but it’s all the more destructive in commercial kitchens and factory environments. While ventilation can improve the problem dramatically, if you’re seeing signs of mould, you need a more drastic solution. Fungal spores are sometimes toxic, and their allergenic effects are dangerous to asthmatics. Anti-condensation paint is an effective waterproofing solution. The right insulation and sealer can also keep surfaces warm to prevent condensation further.

Roofing condensation shouldn’t be mistaken for penetrative dampness. The stack effect shows itself in wintertime and can be diagnosed by crackling sounds as frozen moisture breaks inside your roofing. It can also be spotted through buckled or spongy insulation. Cool roofs achieve better solar reflectivity and thermal emissivity, but if you’re on a budget, wet insulation and fleece backing can act as economical waterproofing. During summer, humidity levels of over 50% can permeate your insulation and influence the condensation levels of a metal roof. Large buildings are particularly prone to this problem, which can cause hidden mold. Vapor retardants and extra insulation may help.

Exterior Walls

Penetrating damp can create an entirely new waterproofing problem when damaged structures cause tide lines and rising damp. The first port of call is to address your penetrating damp, but if your bricks have become porous, they’ll need to be waterproofed as well.

Dampness can cause tremendous damage, but the best cure is a causal one. When the problem is addressed at its source, its symptoms can be permanently stopped. 

If your buildings are showing signs of water damage, then it’s time to contact Fresh Paint Inc. We provide a zero obligation professional consultation that will give you a comprehensive evalution and systems for repair, restoration, and protection of your building. Contact us today!