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Mechanisms for preventing rising damp in new building infrastructure

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journal contribution
posted on 10.09.2018, 12:21 by K. Agyekum, Karen BlayKaren Blay, Alex Opoku
Purpose: Capillary rise of water in buildings has been an issue of concern among past and present researchers. Despite the research efforts devoted to the proper elimination of the problem in masonry construction, it still remains a challenge that needs to be addressed. This study explores treatment mechanisms that can be used to prevent rising damp in new building infrastructure. Methodology: Fourteen test walls are constructed, conditioned, subjected to various treatments, and monitored for four years. The treatments applied to the walls include the use of polyethylene damp proof courses, damp proof coatings, and dense concrete bases. The walls are then monitored with reference to the two climate seasons in Ghana. Findings: The results highlights that rising damp is present, as suggested by the constant increase and decrease in the height of the water levels in the walls during the rainy and dry seasons respectively. The findings further reveal that within the four-year period, the walls treated with the damp proof coatings, together with those with the dense concrete bases performed better than those treated with the polyethylene damp proof courses. Limitations: The economic and commercial impact of these preventive mechanisms were not considered in this study. A future research can be directed at these issues. Practical implication: The proposed treatment mechanisms highlights the effectiveness of some treatments applied to walls to prevent the capillary rise of water from the ground into the superstructure. Social implications: Building regulations, especially in Ghana and other tropical settings should be amended to include ways to prevent rising damp phenomena by including effective methods against rising damp during the building design or construction. Originality/Value: Series of studies worldwide have been conducted in laboratories to simulate the capillary rise of water in walls of buildings. This is among the few studies that look at how water rises from actual ground conditions into the walls of buildings.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Published in

Internal Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation


AGYEKUM, K., BLAY, K.B. and OPOKU, A., 2018. Mechanisms for preventing rising damp in new building infrastructure. International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, 37(1), pp.87-107.


© Emerald Publishing Limited


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This paper was published in the journal International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation and the definitive published version is available at