How To Treat Damp Walls Without Any Mess


Have you ever looked at your house and seen areas of damp and your heart sinks when you think of all the mess that goes with the work to repair it?

The usual formula for fixing dampness of walls is to have the survey carried out by a competent qualified person. Then they will tell you what needs doing to rectify the problem.

In the past this would include, covering up the entire house and sealing all the cupboards, pulling back carpets, then the technicians in full ppe coming in like something off Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) to hack off the plaster with big drills onto drop boards before bagging it all up and sticking it in the skip.

The next step is when the plasterers arrive with either sand and cement setting up with more covers on the drive and the big mixer or bags and bags of dusty backing plaster in huge buckets that get lashed onto the wall that has been soaked down with water.

We forgot to cover the floor, the mess gets everywhere

It sounds stressful doesn’t it? This is why more and more people wait and wait letting the issue get worse before they do anything about it. The thought of all these workmen coming into their lovely clean home is too much to take for a small area and they wait until the scale tips to the point of them unable to leave it any longer.

Well people! let me tell you a secret that very few in our industry know. There is a product that can be used on certain types of damp walls where the plaster is sound. It has been specially designed by boffins with white coats and big foreheads who continually ask themselves questions about what things they can make better.

The product is called DryFlex and comes as a system that includes an adhesive and a membrane. It is really that simple, well almost.

Salt damp staining on a chimney breast in Sheffield.

So whats the score with this product i hear you all shout.

First the surface has to be prepared so if there is and flaky paint, wall paper or lose finish this has to be scraped down and taken off.

The DryFlex adhesive can be mixed and put straight onto the wall surface according to the manufacturers instructions at Safeguard Europe but the problem with this is that some areas can dry out quicker than others and you want to be able to put a fair bit of the adhesive on because you pre cut the membrane to fit the wall area.

What we like to do is apply SBR (styrene butadiene rubber) which is a liquid compound similar to PVA (polyvinyl acetate) but better because its waterproof.

Once the area is covered you hang the membrane similar to if putting up wallpaper ironing any air pockets out from the middle to the outer edges.

Once dry the membrane can be skimmed with finishing plaster.

DryFlex membrane stuck in place using the DryFlex Adhesive in Sheffield.

Before, this plaster on the chimney breast would have had to be hacked off and a waterproof plaster or plastic membrane put in place. A lot of surveyors recommend a sand and cement render with a tanking slurry (type A system) to stop the staining coming through. It is putting a barrier in place.  But for all intents and purposes what this system does is put the barrier on the top if the existing plaster that is sound, which most of the time is the case.

Skim the DryFlex Membrane with Finish Plaster

As well as chimney breasts the system can be used where there has been staining of the wall around the roof from leaks where the plaster is still sound.

Staining caused by leaking roof.
Staining of the ceiling & walls around the chimney stack flashings.                          
DryFlex Patches Skimmed

In the attic room pictured the staining was a problem and the salt damp absorbed moisture from the air. The flashings had been fixed but when the humidity was high the salts absorbed moisture from the air making the patches wetter and continually spoiling decoration. Without the membrane system we would have had to knock the plaster off and take it in bags from the top floor to the bottom through the property.

Converted former outbuilding in Wakefield.
DryFlex Membrane Applied
The thickness of the membrane ment it was ideal to blend in.


The membrane is waterproof and was just thick enough to use on this wall in Wakefield. This was a full damp-proof hack off and re-plaster. When we came to take off this particular wall off, we found that the brickwork had actually been skimmed. The upper areas were sound so we used the DryFlex because of its thickness and waterproof properties.

Ideal on Chimney Breasts 
DryFlex on the Worksop Farmhouse


Click the link and watch how i applied the membrane on our youtube channel

So in summary, this product can be applied to certain jobs that will save hacking off the plaster causing lots of mess. The plaster needs to still be sound. You will need expert advice on what walls this product is suitable for so ask a qualified person to help. You can do a postcode search on the Property Care Association (PCA) website for your nearest CSRT qualified contractor or surveyor. Or contact us direct to see if we can help you via our website

We do hope this has given you some free valuable information on products to use weather your in the trade or a potential customer. please subscribe to our blog and youtube channel for more.

2 comments on “How To Treat Damp Walls Without Any Mess

    Simon Cooper Post author

    Hi Darren,
    A protimeter or decent survey meter will pick up salts, metal, moisture of all descriptions and it would be up to the surveyor to use there experience in interpreting the pattern of reading from the training they have been given.
    before the survey takes place a surveyor would ask what work had been carried out in the last few years and if there are any guarantees in place. the forth coming information would let him know work has been carried out. If there was an issue then the owners can contact the guarantor.
    surveys are not straight forward and as much information as possible should be obtained. there would be no visible signs of dampness and but salts may be detected vis the search mode on the meter as it would on most chimney breasts, the surveyor can then put in his report salts were detected but this would be explainable with the paperwork from the company which would be guarantee and quotes.

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