Wall showing signs of Rising Damp

Rising damp

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What is rising damp

Rising damp is a well known property problem that affects ground floor walls and creates a damp and unpleasant environment that leads to damaged plaster and skirting boards.
Although more common in older properties, rising damp can affect buildings of any age as it is essentially the process of moisture from the ground travelling up through the brickwork by the process of capillary action.
Thankfully there are a number of rising damp treatments and solutions available to return your home to its natural dry and habitable condition. Read on for more rising damp information or find out how we can help you by sending an online enquiry using the form below if you suspect you noticed the signs of rising damp in your building.

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Causes of rising damp

As previously mentioned, rising damp occurs when groundwater moisture is drawn into the porous brick of a property and travels up the walls using a process known as capillary action.

During construction, a rising damp barrier (or damp proof course) should be installed into a mortar joint of low level brickwork to prevent water from being absorbed and travelling through the brickwork to cause rising damp.  Over time however, these original damp proof courses can begin to breakdown or get damaged leading to moisture traveling through the brickwork or masonry and often resulting in the typical tell tale signs of rising damp.

Damp-proof courses can also be bridged due to new construction that has not taken the dpc into account. This is often due to external ground levels being raised, but it can also be caused by problems in the cavity wall or new renders and plasters over-lapping the original DPC.

How to spot rising damp

It is important to note that different forms of damp have different characteristics. If you suspect you have a rising damp issue, there are some rising damp visual clues you can use to help identify the issue prior to you contacting a rising damp specialist.  They include:  

  • Damp stains and water marks up to 1 metre high on the wall
  • 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
  • Wall feels damp to touch

Rising damp on internal walls - spot the signs

Rising damp is usually identified by signs of damp on internal walls. Rising damp often cause “tide marks” that stretch from the ground floor up to point on the internal wall where the water has reached - this will usually be about a metre above the floor.

Ground also contains salts and other minerals that are left behind when the water in the internal wall begins to evaporate. These contaminants will paint and paper on the wall and common signs of salt damage will include bubbling and a white crumbly marks.

Rising damp on external walls - spot the signs

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 meter 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.

How to treat rising damp?

The most popular treatment for rising damp is a chemical injection damp-proof course. Chemical 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 cures. The reason this treatment is popular is simple - its highly effective and economical. There are other treatments available and you can find out more about these on our rising damp treatment page.

Before any damp-proof course, chemical or otherwise, 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 damp-proof course, our surveyors will always look out for any other conditions that may be causing a problem to rule out conditions such as penetrating damp or condensation where a new damp-proof course would be ineffectual and unnecessary.

What our customers say about our rising damp treatments

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.

Can I get professional rising damp treatment?

If you suspect that you may have a rising damp issue, then we are here to help. Our internal term will be able to give you some help and advice and our fully qualified 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. 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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