Oh dear. Time to tackle Rising Damp, a truly depressing property problem. Picture the scene: you are merrily making your way downstairs in the morning when suddenly you see it… the signature ‘tidemark’ of damp staining along the ground floor wall. “How can this be right?” You wonder as you survey the sorry sight of sodden plaster, “Why is this happening to me!?”
The Curious Case Of Rising Damp
First things first, it does not exactly take Sherlock Holmes to figure out the source of the moisture. Thanks to the joyous British climate of constant rain interrupted only by the occasional outbreak of even heavier rain, the culprit is pretty clear. The big question is what is it doing inside your home, and how exactly has it managed to climb about a metre up the wall?
Damp and Wet Walls – Explained!
Has water suddenly become sentient and decided to take revenge on you for flushing it down the toilet all these years? Not quite, The real answer is rather more mundane and the seemingly gravity defying tide marks can be explained by a process called capillary action.
You see, just in the same way you can observe moisture travelling upwards through a sheet of kitchen roll as it absorbs liquid, capillary action allows water in the ground to find its way upwards through narrow passages in porous building materials. Pretty disheartening, right? But at least it’s not vengeful toilet water…
Why Does Every House Not Have Rising Damp?
To give ourselves credit for a moment, us humans pretty quickly realised that sitting in cold, damp and fetid houses is not quite as inviting as a nice warm, toasty and dry home. That is why almost all modern homes are constructed with an in built Damp Proof Course (DPC) designed to prevent Rising Damp and capillary action by acting as a barrier built beneath masonry walls to stop moisture absorbing deeper into the building. Unfortunately, as you can now attest while standing there in your pyjamas watching your precious wallpaper flopping listlessly from the walls, this is not always the end of the story.
There are two main reasons that explain why Rising Damp is still an issue in so many homes today. Firstly, technology in damp proofing has come a long way in the last 100 years, and older properties that contain damp proof courses that don’t comply with modern industry standards are simply more likely to break down and fail due to age and deterioration.
Secondly it could be the case that the damp proof course has been ‘bridged’ meaning that the ground level has risen above the original DPC, rendering it ineffective. Commonly this bridging is caused by external factors such as installing a new concrete path, garden or flower bed above the level of the original DPC. Now here at Peter Cox we don’t like to point fingers… but that flower bed didn’t build itself now did it?
What Can I Do to Stop Rising Damp?
Your first step should be to examine the property to accurately determine the cause of damp and eliminate the possibility that the moisture is caused by less infamous but more common damp problems like Condensation or Penetrating Damp.
If you determine that water is entering the property through a faulty or broken damp proof course then thankfully there are a couple of options available that will save you the considerable inconvenience of bulldozing your home and starting again! The most common form of treatment is through Damp Proof Injection, and while you can attempt this yourself, it is a very complex procedure. It requires holes to be drilled into affected walls at the correct height and depth then an effectual damp proof solution to be injected into the walls to line the capillaries with a damp proof chemical that will effectively prevent rising damp.
Another option is to install an Elektro Osmotic system which uses a small electronic pulse to reverse the process of capillary action. Whilst not as well known a solution as chemical injection, it is gaining popularity and has proven to be a safe and effective alternative.
Contact The Rising Damp Experts
Any form of damp in your property can be a worrying concern, to inform yourself about the issue and how you can treat it we have a full online guide on our site. If you have read up on the issue and you would like to speak to a professional about the best course of action to get your home safe and dry again then our industry leading experts are just a phone call away. Give our specialists a call on 0808 273 2138 or complete our online contact form to receive a callback and get started resolving your Rising Damp problems.