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What is a damp proof course (DPC)?
Thursday, November 10, 2022
A damp proof course (DPC) is a barrier installed to stop movement of water by capillary action up through walls and floors. It is also now often referred to as a capillary break. Without a damp proof barrier, moisture moving up from the ground into a home—called rising damp—can cause mold, wood rot, and high humidity in a home. The problem of water moving upward through porous construction materials like masonry, concrete, and stucco, is not new. The Public Health Act of 1875 made DPCs mandatory for all new houses in Great Britain’s year-round damp environment.
Early damp proof courses were laid between masonry courses near the ground and were typically asphalt-impregnated or lead sheets, or slate, any of which provided the necessary water resistant barrier. Today there are also metal, plastic, and chemical barriers. Polyethylene sheeting, commonly referred to by the brand name Visqueen, is also commonly used under concrete foundations and floors. It’s also referred to as a vapor barrier and a concrete slab without one can sweat and get slippery after a heavy rainstorm.
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