Wall showing signs of Rising Damp

Rising damp

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Rising damp

Rising damp is a potentially serious property problem that can affect ground floor walls in buildings of any age. If left untreated, rising damp can create a damp and unpleasant environment in the home, with damp patches spreading upwards from the base of the walls, spoiling skirting boards, paint, wallpaper and masonry. In some cases the added moisture can even result in wet rot or dry rot.
Thankfully there are a number of ways to treat rising damp and return your home or business to its natural dry and habitable condition. If you suspect a rising damp problem in your property, find out how we can help by filling in the online enquiry form below. Alternatively, continue reading this page for help and advice on spotting the signs of rising damp and how to stop it.

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What is rising damp?

Rising damp is the name given to the process of water in the ground entering a property by travelling up through the pores in brickwork. This phenomena has been documented as far back as Roman times and is known as ‘capillary action’. This water contains salts that travel up through the bricks and cause signs of rising damp such white marks forming on the internal wall.

This soaking up of ground-water is why you are more likely to notice rising damp problems after a period of prolonged or heavy rainfall as there is far more moisture in the ground to make its way into the property. This is is also why rising damp will only occur on the ground floor.

Causes of rising damp

During construction, a rising damp barrier (or damp proof course) should be installed into a mortar joint of low level brickwork to prevent water travelling through the brickwork to cause rising damp. However, over time these original damp proof courses can begin to breakdown or get damaged. Normally, you will not even be aware the damp proof course has failed until you begin to notice the typical tell tale signs of rising damp.

Another cause of rising damp is a damp-proof course being ‘bridged’. This means that either the external ground level has been raised above the barrier (for example laying a flowerbed or raising the level of the driveway) or new render and plaster work has overlapped the damp proof course.

Signs of rising damp

Being able to identify the signs of rising damp at an early stage will allow you to intervene and avoid the more serious consequences.

Take a look at our tips below on how to identify rising damp, and if you are worried your property may be displaying some of these symptoms you can give our specialist team a call to find out the best course of action to remedy the issue.

Rising damp on internal walls

Usually damp internal walls are the first symptom of rising damp that people notice. However, it is important to be able to distinguish between rising damp and other damp problems like condensation or penetrating damp.

Rising damp often causes “tide marks” that can stretch from the base of the wall up to around a metre above the floor.

Salts and other minerals that are left behind when the water in the internal wall begins to evaporate often causes bubbling of paint and white crumbly marks.

Generally you need to investigate the possibility of rising damp if you notice any of these symptoms on your internal walls:

  • Damp walls with stains and watermarks up to 1 metre high
  • Flaky/peeling wallpaper possibly lifting away from the walls
  • Skirting boards showing signs of decay
  • Rotting floorboards
  • Plaster that has become contaminated with salt or bubbled and cracked
  • Ground floor walls that feel damp to touch near the floor

Rising damp on external walls

Rising damp also shows on the external walls of a property. The most common signs of rising damp on external walls are pretty similar to inside, with metre high “tide marks” and salt deposits being visible.

You may also notice green and brown staining from external debri and vegetation, similar to the kind of stains that occur around broken downpipes.

Rising damp treatment

The most popular method to treat rising damp is installing a remedial damp proof course (DPC) via the damp proof injection method. Remedial damp-proof courses are injected into specifically drilled holes in the affected wall. Once injected the DPC is absorbed by the bricks and creates a water-repellent barrier as it dries.

A damp proof course is a popular way to treat rising damp for a few simple reasons - it has proven to be highly effective, economical and is accredited by all leading trade bodies in the industry. That said, there are other treatment methods available and you can find out more about these on our rising damp treatment page.

Before any remedial damp-proof course is installed, the most important part of the rising damp treatment process must take place - diagnosis. Before assuming there has been a failure with the original DPC, the experts at Peter Cox will carry out a full rising damp survey. Our specialist surveyors will be able to identify rising damp or any other conditions that may be causing a problem such as penetrating damp or condensation where a new DPC would be ineffectual and unnecessary.

How much does it cost to treat rising damp?

The price of any rising damp treatment is dependent on the severity of the problem. Naturally, if the rising damp problem is localised to one small area on a particular wall, the cost would be less than if all ground floor walls were affected and had led to a deep laying dry rot issues.

No reputable firm would be able to provide an estimate of price without first sending a qualified surveyor to attend the property to identify if rising damp is in fact the culprit. If you think you may have identified rising damp then you can discuss it with our contact team by giving your local branch a call, or sending us an online enquiry.

Buying or selling a house with rising damp

Any evidence of rising damp either in the home report or on a viewing is a clear red flag to buyers. Most are aware that rising damp will not resolve itself and some form of remedial treatment will inevitably be required.

In order to negotiate a fair value for the property it is advised that you act to treat rising damp before the property goes on the market. Meanwhile, if you are considering putting an offer in for a house with rising damp, it is in your interests to contact one of our qualified surveyors to visit the property and provide a full damp report along with an itemised pricing guide for any rising damp treatment necessary.

Our rising damp treatment reviews

We are very proud of our reputation as the UK market leaders in rising damp treatment. To demonstrate the high regard that our clients hold us in take a look at some of their comments on our rising damp services from the respected review platform Trustpilot.

Contact a rising damp specialist near you

If you suspect that you may have a rising damp issue, then we are here to help. Our fully qualified specialist surveyors will be able to determine the cause of the problem and recommend the most appropriate course of action. If necessary we have a team of experienced technicains ready to get started resolving the issue for you. 

Get in touch with your local Peter Cox branch or give us a call on 0800 633 5712 for some help and advice. Alternatively, book a no obligation survey online using the button below.

Author: Richard Walker AIWSc CSRT CSSW

Richard has worked for Peter Cox for the last 23 years and is currently our National Technical and Development Manager. With his wealth of experience in the diagnosis of damp and decay within properties, Richard has travelled the country providing rising damp CPD sessions for property professionals.

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