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Rising damp is unhealthy, unsightly and can lead to timber decay and heat loss. Because it carries with it hygroscopic ground salts such as chlorides and nitrates, it can break down plaster and ruin internal decorations.
Rising damp is caused by ground water being drawn through porous masonry due to capillary action. The masonry joints containmany fine pores or capillaries allowing moisture to rise through it. The height to which rising damp will reach depends on several factors, but generally rising damp in a wall is considered to reach a height of one metre. Because the source of rising damp is ground water it often brings with it mineral salts (hygroscopic salts) – commonly nitrates and chlorides, damaging decorations and plaster in your property.
Hygroscopic salts are carried through the porous masonry with the rising damp ground water. When the damp has risen to it's maximum height, it evaporates from the surface of the wall, but the salts cannot evaporate, leaving high concentrations on the surface of the wall plaster. Being 'Hygroscopic' they can also absorb moisture from the atmosphere in the room, making the wall wet again. These salts often appear on the surface of the wall as white crystals, but when there is a high level of humidity in the room the wall will simply appear wet.
The rate which rising damp will occur depends on the type of wall or floor construction, the nature of the ground and water table, and the environment inside and outside of the building. Generally rising damp is a slow process and may be present for many years before any significant signs appear.
Although rising damp may be a slow process, there are a number of visual and sensory signs that you have a rising damp problem in your property.
If you spot any signs of rising damp on your property, you should contact Peter Cox to arrange a professional survey to identify the cause, and give advice on treatments and solutions.
It is also important to remedy any other likely causes of damp that exist within the property, such as loose slates and tiles, defective flashings, poor gutters, downpipe problems, cracked render, defective pointing and damaged brickwork.
For rising damp and damp proofing treatment it is recommended to seek professional advice. Our specially trained surveyors will be able to outline the severity of the rising damp problem in your property and how urgent the need is for a solution.