Damp Problems

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Damp on walls

Given the amount of rainwater we are subjected to in the UK, it is no surprise that many of us will have experienced damp walls in our homes at some point. Whether it’s groundwater entering the building via rising damp, water ingress from the outside to the inside of the property, or simple condensation there are a variety of problems that can cause damp walls.

Our guide below will discuss the causes of damp walls, how to identify them and the best methods of treatment. If you have noticed damp stains or patches in the home, then talk to our specialists today on 0800 633 5712 or contact our damp proofing team using the button below.

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Causes of damp patches on walls

If you have noticed damp patches, peeling decorations or black spot mould appearing on your walls, then generally speaking the most likely culprit will be one of the three types of damp outlined below.

Identifying the cause of your damp walls is key to understanding the correct form of treatment you will require to resolve the problem, so continue reading to see if you can  establish the cause of your damp walls.

Damp walls caused by rising damp

Rising damp can only ever affect walls the property’s ground floor. The biggest tell-tale sign of rising damp is “tide mark” on the wall above the skirting. Another common symptom of rising damp is white marks left by salts that are drawn out of the brickwork. The salts and tide mark will often cause damage to paint or the peeling of wallpaper along with a damp musty odour.

Damp walls caused by penetrating damp

Penetrating damp refers to moisture ingress through a lateral wall. It is a damp problem that can penetrate walls at any level of a property. If water management systems like guttering or downpipes on the outside of your property look damaged or blocked then they are likely the source of a penetrating damp problem. Defective pointing and leaks in plumbing can cause penetrating damp. 

On your internal walls, penetrating damp will create damp patches that damage plaster, leave water marks and leave a damp musty smell.

Damp walls caused by condensation

Damp on walls caused by condensation will typically manifest as black mould spots on paintwork and wallpaper. Condensation problems are more likely to occur on cold, outside facing walls but can affect any wall in the property given the right circumstances. Condensation problems are more common in the autumn and winter months when people close their windows and increase the humidity and is particularly prevalent in bathrooms and kitchens.

Gallery of damp on internal and external walls

The images below show the different effects damp can have on the walls of a property. Although damp patches on internal walls are a common symptom of most forms of damp, other signs such as internal salt marks appearing on brickwork or plaster can be an indicator that rising damp is likely the cause of your worries. If you recognise any of the signs in the picture below then you may want to consider contacting us for some professional damp proofing advice.


Damp on walls

Damp on internal walls

While there is a degree of overlap in that all of the three main types of damp can result in some similar symptoms appearing on your walls such as paint cracking or deteriorating, or damp stains and patches appearing on the wall,  there are some specific traits to look out for to help you identify the type of damp in the property.

The appearance of black spot mould is usually a giveaway that condensation is the problem, while rising damp is commonly accompanied by a tide-mark that can reach anywhere from just above the skirting board to up to 1 metre in height across the affected area of the wall.

Meanwhile penetrating damp can appear at any level of the property but will have a corresponding defect on the external side of the property allowing the water ingress.

Signs of damp on external walls

Damp stains will often display on external walls as well. In the same way that rising damp can create tidemarks on the inside of the home, they will often be present on the external side of the property too.

Penetrating damp will frequently result in moss or vegetation growing on or around the source of the water ingress on the exterior of the building.

You may also be able to see salts that have been present either in groundwater or the building materials become visible on exterior walls.

How to fix damp walls

Damp is one of the most unpleasant problems a property owner can encounter. Damp problems can make a property feel miserable and ugly, and if they are left to fester they can lead to structural problems and potentially costly repairs.

In order to fix the problem and repair your walls it is essential that you apply the right form of treatment. If you can identify the form of damp you have from the list above, then you can see the most popular form of treatment for each below:

  • Rising damp problems - The most popular solution is to install a remedial damp proof course.
  • Penetrating damp - The first step is to repair the fault in the building that is allowing the water ingress and then you can deal with any damp or related problems like wetor dry rot on the internal side of the property.
  • Condensation patches and mould on walls : Condensation problems are caused by a lack of ventilation, our dedicated page has a list of DIY and professional solutions you can use.

You can read more about the different forms of damp treatment available using the buttons below.

Does cavity wall insulation cause damp?

Many properties in the UK have cavity wall insulation, and while it is perfectly functional most of the time, certain circumstances can lead to a link between cavity wall insulation and penetrating damp.

To find out more about damp problems created by poorly or innapropriately installed cavity wall insulation you can visit our dedicated damp and insulation page.

Contact us to treat your damp walls

If you are considering damp proofing walls in your property, we would always recommend a survey from a professional damp expert. Our damp surveyors are experienced, CSRT qualified and their damp proofing techniques are backed by the accreditation of Which?, TrustMark, The Property Care Association and more. The surveyor will draft a custom treatment proposal for you and if you are happy to go ahead then we have a team of local technicians ready to get started installing your damp treatment.

To speak to a Peter Cox damp specialist, call 0800 633 5712 today. Alternatively, if you would rather contact us online then you can do so using the button below.

Book a Survey Online for a £25 Discount

Next Steps

*Survey enquiries for your local branch will be directed to our dedicated central survey control teams across the UK. Calls to 0800 and 0808 numbers are free unless you are calling from a business phone, in which case the rate will be set by your provider.