What causes rising damp?
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What is rising damp? In layman's terms, the term ‘rising damp’ describes the movement of moisture from the ground through the structure of the building through the porous masonry by capillary action similar to water absorbed by a sponge. Any structure unprotected by adequately installed rising damp barrier will be susceptible to natural rising damp.
Any property unprotected by a rising damp barrier (or damp proof course) is susceptible to rising damp. In a nutshell, rising damp draws moisture from the ground. Along with groundwater, the porous masonry draws in moisture containing natural salts (hygroscopic salts such as nitrates and chloride) and if left unchecked can contaminate the wall plaster.
The moisture, trapped within the walls will continue to rise, typically to a height of up to 1 meter high leaving behind the typical tell tale signs of rising damp. The scale at which rising damp will develop will depend on many factors such as the building's material and the amount of moisture being drawn in.
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Rising damp only begins to show once moisture has already started to climb up the internal or external walls. The extent of the problem could take many months or years to manifest but has many distinct characteristics.
During the initial construction of a property a rising damp barrier (or damp proof course) would have be installed into the brickwork to prevent water from being absorbed into the masonry and thus prevent rising damp. Over time however, the rising damp barrier can be eroded or damaged leading to the original damp proof course failing.
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Rising damp can manifest without being noticed with the only visible signs appearing once moisture has broken through to the property’s internal wall surface. However, by knowing what to look for the signs of rising damp can easily be recognised. They include:
If it is possible to look at the exposed brickwork, you may be able to spot fluffy white salt deposits forming into the plaster. Salt deposits are almost unique to rising damp and are a typical indication of a rising damp problem.
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Prior to contacting a rising damp specialist, take the time to understand if it is an actual rising damp issue you have. Take a look at our what does rising damp look like and signs of damp web pages. These web pages should provide you with a good understanding of the type of damp problem you may have that may lead to you not having to do unnecessary repairs.
However, if it is the case you are sure that it is a rising damp issue that you have, click to visit our rising damp treatment web page for help, advice and professional guidance.
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Expert rising damp treatment
At Peter Cox, we have been treating rising damp for over 60 years. Our fully qualified CSWT surveyors and specialist trained technicians can create a bespoke treatment plan in line with your needs.
If you recognise the signs of rising damp, then our expert team is on hand to give you helpful expert advice you know you can trust. If we think you can benefit from a house inspection, we can arrange a rising damp survey with one of our professional surveyors to visit your property.