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How to Damp Proof a Cellar?

6th October 2023

Categories  Basement Conversion/Basement Waterproofing/Damp/Latest News

How to Damp Proof a Cellar: Your Guide to a Dry and Healthy Space

Cellars can be charming and versatile spaces, perfect for storage, wine collections, or even additional living areas. However, many cellars suffer from dampness issues, which can cause damage and make the space uncomfortable or unusable. In this guide, we’ll explore whether a damp cellar is a problem, whether all cellars are damp, and how to effectively damp proof your cellar. Plus, we’ll highlight the importance of adhering to BS8120:2022 when necessary and the role of a CSSW qualified surveyor in ensuring a successful damp proofing project.

Damp Proofing or Water Proofing

Its worth distinguishing the simple differences between waterproofing and damp proofing as this can sometimes lead to confusion. An easy definition used is that if the external ground level is higher than the internal floor level by 500mm then damp proofing will not suffice and a more robust waterproofing system should be adopted that can deal with the control of hydrostatic pressure.

At this point a CSSW surveyor should be consulted to ensure that the correct design is applied.

How to Damp Proof a Cellar

Is a Damp Cellar a Problem?

Yes, a damp cellar can be a significant problem for several reasons:

Structural Damage: Dampness can weaken the structural integrity of your cellar’s walls and floors over time, leading to costly repairs.

Mould and Mildew Growth: Excessive moisture provides the perfect environment for mould and mildew to thrive, posing health risks to occupants and damaging your belongings.

Unpleasant Odours: Damp cellars often have a musty odour, making the space unpleasant to be in.

Reduced Liveability: A damp cellar is less inviting for additional living space or storage due to the potential for damage and discomfort.

Are All Cellars Damp?

Not all cellars are damp, but many are prone to dampness issues due to their underground or below-ground location. Factors that can contribute to cellar dampness include:

Groundwater: Cellars located below the water table are more susceptible to groundwater seepage.

Lack of Ventilation: Poor ventilation can trap moisture inside the cellar, leading to condensation and dampness.

Inadequate Damp Proofing: Older cellars or those with subpar construction may lack effective damp proofing measures.

Exterior Water Sources: Cellars located near bodies of water or in areas with heavy rainfall may be at higher risk of dampness from external sources.

To determine if your cellar is damp and identify the source of the dampness, it’s advisable to consult with a qualified CSRT CSSW surveyor who specialises in dampness issues.

Delta Membrane Systems

How to Damp Proof a Cellar

Damp proofing a cellar involves several steps to ensure a dry and habitable space. Here’s a general guide on how to damp proof a cellar:

  1. Professional Survey

Start by hiring a CSSW (Certified Surveyor in Structural Waterproofing) qualified surveyor to assess your cellar’s condition. They will conduct a thorough inspection, identify the source of dampness, and recommend appropriate solutions.

  1. Identify the Source

The surveyor will help pinpoint the source of dampness, whether it’s rising damp from the ground, penetrating damp from external sources, or condensation from within the cellar.

  1. Choose the Right Remedial Method

Based on the surveyor’s recommendations, select the most suitable damp proofing method. Common methods include:

Cementitious Coatings: These are directly applied and adhere to the building substrate stopping moisture from entering your cellar.

Chemical Damp Proofing: Chemical treatments can be injected into walls or applied to surfaces to create a moisture-resistant layer.

Cavity Drainage Systems: These systems can redirect water away from your cellar and include pumps to remove excess moisture.

  1. Professional Installation

Ensure that the chosen damp proofing method is installed by professionals who are experienced in damp proofing work. Proper installation is crucial for effective damp proofing.

  1. Ventilation

Improve ventilation in your cellar to reduce condensation. This may include installing vents or a mechanical ventilation system.

  1. Regular Maintenance

Regularly inspect and maintain your cellar’s damp proofing system to ensure it remains effective. This includes checking for any signs of dampness and addressing them promptly.

  1. Compliance with BS8120:2022

BS8120:2022 is the British Standard for waterproofing below-ground structures. It provides guidelines for designing and installing waterproofing systems in cellars and below-ground spaces. Compliance with this standard is crucial to ensure that your damp proofing measures are of high quality and will stand the test of time.


A damp cellar is indeed a problem that can lead to structural damage, health issues, and discomfort. While not all cellars are damp, many are at risk due to their below-ground location and other factors.

Damp proofing a cellar is a multi-step process that should begin with a professional survey by a CSSW qualified surveyor. Identifying the source of dampness and choosing the right damp proofing method are essential steps in the process. Proper installation and compliance with BS8120:2022 standards are crucial for long-lasting results.

Investing in effective damp proofing measures will not only protect your cellar but also allow you to enjoy the space without worrying about dampness issues. Whether you plan to use your cellar for storage, as a living area, or for other purposes, a dry and healthy environment is essential for its usability and longevity.

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