Methods to prevent and reduce dampness in masonry 

Among the various methods and devices for reducing rising damp, the three most popular types applied for the conservation of historic buildings are: active electro osmosis system, physical or chemical barriers and electronic and electro-magnetic devices. 

Electro-osmosis system and chemical barriers were devised in the seventies and have been accurately tested and verified in the lab and in the field since their earliest application. In the recent times, various electronic and electro-magnetic devices have been proposed and applied. However, so far, they lack sound research, scientific information and verification about their response, operating principles, effectiveness. 

In the last decades, several enterprises  proposed the treatment of rising damp  in buildings by means of electronic and electro-magnetic devices. Some of these methods are particularly attractive because, despite the absence of the scientific literature, they have the advantage of being not destructive and easily reversible. In addition, they are not more expensive than traditional methods to contrast rising damp, e.g. insertion waterproof barriers in the masonry, excavation of tunnels around the building and crawling spaces beneath the ground level floor, removal of damaged plaster and re-plastering with macro-porous mortars. Therefore, the application of these new methods appears to be very attractive and their use competitive with traditional methods.  

A general problem observed in the practice is given by the fact that usually the diagnosis of the presence of rising damp as well as the assessment of the effectiveness  of the intervention is carried out by the same manufactures and/or sellers of such devices.  The moisture content in the walls is measured with  methodologies not always respondent to sound procedures, as listed in EN 16682 (2017) . An independent third party, e.g. research institution, is rarely in charge of checking the effectiveness of such methods and compare them with standard procedures. 


The purpose of the conference is to make the state of the art of these applications after more than forty years of use, gathering experimental results, depicting pros and cons and considering their durability and the maintenance that is required to obtain the best results. 

Finally, the conference will verify the underlying theory, pinpoint limits and potentialities of the application of physical laws on which the methods are based.