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Damp proof course (DPC) – methods, advantages and disadvantages

Damp proof course (DPC) is an age-old solution for damp proofing from moisture from the ground. In simplified terms, DPC creates a physical barrier between soil and wall that prevents moisture seepage in the wall due to capillary action. DPC helps in keeping the structure safe from damage due to moisture and prevents dampness in walls thereby protecting the health of the residents. Dampness is a cause of mould formation on walls the bacteria and fungi in the air cause health hazards including respiratory illnesses and lung diseases.

Conventional DPC is casted at plinth level in 40mm to 100mm thick plain cement concrete of M15 or M20 grade. After a few days when concrete is fully cured, a flexible coating of bitumen or liquid polymer is applied to add some flexibility to the rigid cementitious DPC.

Damp proof course - DPC method

Image: Damp proof Course (DPC)

While this method of damp proofing is very commonly used, it is not foolproof. Being cementitious, it is rigid and prone to crack easily due to weathering. Also, the overall execution from substrate preparation to curing is lengthy, time-consuming and delays wall construction, which ultimately adds to the project’s cost. Conventional method is also not long-lasting and seepage begins within a few years of construction. It wears off faster in coastal regions with the ingress of salts and places with a high water table.

The only reason for the conventional DPC method being used widely is its ease of application with the most common material available on site which is cement concrete. Since the concrete is mixed and laid as a normal local practice, it lacks any dedicated efforts to make it rue dampproofing layer. No technical guidance or knowledge is demanded by conventional DPC, thereby eliminating the need for any formal training.

Though this method appears cost-effective, the cost of materials, the hidden costs of time and challenges in the future are not taken into account. Interior designers and architects who understand this, are moving to other methods which are flexible and provide adequate protection in the long run. Dampproofing methods like damp proof membranes (DPM) are more effective and carry long-term benefits and are now gaining popularity. The application process of DPM is also simple and with little training and detailing, one can switch to a better and more reliable method of damp proofing. Having said that, DPM can also develop cracks over a period of time on ageing. Many times they offer poor resistance to wear and tear during and on installation. Thus become dimensionally unstable and unable to perform the technical parameters that they are designed for.

With a long service life of 25 years, DampX is a popular choice for developers and interior designers who care about providing quality homes to their buyers. High crack-free performance, and robust damp proofing that withstands extreme weather like heat, snow, heavy rains, and extreme humidity in coastal regions as well as soil conditions like salts, higher groundwater tables etc are some huge benefits of switching to a more advanced damp proofing technology – DampX. Faster application and value-added product are key reasons why contractors are also adopting and recommending DampX. For more details click here.

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