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Rising Damp and How To Identify It

Rising Damp and How To Identify It

Our homes might be able to keep the rain from affecting us, but unfortunately, houses are rarely 100% water-tight.

As a result, one of the most common problems homes face is caused by damp. Thanks to Britain’s rainy disposition, this is unavoidable. But, if you’re clued up and up to date with rising damp signs, you can sport any warnings your home is trying to give you.

Getting ahead of damp issues so they’re not left untreated can save you money, time and stress. To give you a helping hand, Rainbow International has put together a straightforward guide. Check out the information below for rising damp signs and an answer to the question – what is rising damp in the first place?

What Is Rising Damp?

Rising damp is defined as water entering your home’s brickwork from the ground, travelling up through the pores in the bricks. This is known as capillary action and rising dampness will cause problems with these pores until gravity or evaporation removes the water.

What Causes Rising Damp In Internal Walls?

Your home’s walls aren’t just made of bricks. They often have other materials surrounding them in external walls and internal walls such as timber, plaster and any wallpaper you’ve added.

This type of material is porous and welcomes water into your home very easily. Unfortunately, groundwater often contains salts that will also travel into bricks. These damp patches and salt deposits can cause damp patches and salt deposits on your home’s walls.

Capillary Action Explained

Quite a lot of building materials are porous, causing capillary action to occur when groundwater makes contact with your home. Within bricks, there are lots of gaps and pockets for water to be sucked up from the ground, where it can seep into the cavity wall.

This capillary action can also occur inside of your home, with rising damp happening within the floorboards, joists and skirting boards, causing wet rot in the timer.

What Are The Signs Of Rising Damp?

There are many rising damp signs that you can spot to avoid any damp patches that can cause future issues such as wet rot, peeling wallpaper and black mould.

Due to the salts being soaked up into walls through the groundwater, a ‘tide-mark’ can develop, sometimes up to a metre high. However, the height of this rising damp evidence can vary depending on the type of material used to build and decorate the wall. This tide mark often looks like white smudges on the walls, created by salt deposits.

Peeling wallpaper, and damp or wet patches on walls are also strong signs of rising damp, especially if they’re in the lower area of the walls. A distinctive musty smell or freezing cold temperatures are also signs of a potential rising damp problem within your home.

How To Treat Rising Damp

Correctly identifying the cause of rising damp in your home is key before trying to tackle the issue. By specifying the root cause, you can treat the affected area with the appropriate tools and products.

A quick fix such as painting over the damp is the worst thing you can do, as it will simply end up costing you more to fix a problem that has been left untreated, along with the cost of surface-level damage regarding the painting.

Instead, have a specialist surveyor inspect the damp problem and plan an appropriate response to deal to create the right rising damp treatment. This is often in the form of a Damp Proof Course for your property, being installed to either replace or repair the existing DPC.

What Happens If Rising Damp Is Left Untreated?

If left untreated, rising damp problems can begin to affect other areas of your home, leaving it at risk of black mould, peeling wallpaper and even structural damage.

In fact, the walls of your property can become seriously damaged due to rising damp, especially for older properties due to the large amounts of unprotected materials within them. Keeping walls dry is integral to their preservation, without immediate professional intervention, the timber can begin to break down and crumble away.

Of course, you’d have to deal with the cosmetic damage too, which can become costly and spiral out of control.

Living or working in any environment that has damp present can cause serious health issues, and even long-lasting problems. Rising damp is just as serious an issue, as excess moisture and humidity can lead to moulds developing. Anyone in close proximity for an extended period of time can begin to experience respiratory problems, allergies, asthma, pain and even lung diseases.

Can You Buy Or Sell A House With Rising Damp?

You can buy or sell a house with rising damp, however, it is important to have a surveyor assess the problem, the damage it has/could incur and the costs of resolving the rising damp issue.

Damp is a serious issue, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t sell or buy. Just make sure that you’ve got professionals supporting you through the process and have all the necessary facts available to allow both parties to make the correct and most informed decisions. is ok to buy a house with damp.

Is Rising Damp A Myth?

Rising damp is not a myth and it can severely affect homes, especially if the residents don’t take it seriously and leave it untreated. It can be difficult to diagnose and treat your home if it’s showing signs of rising damp. However, floor joists and brickwork can easily soak up and distribute moisture throughout your home.

How To Prevent Future Rising Damp Problems

There aren’t necessarily guaranteed ways to prevent rising damp problems, especially without the help of a professional. However, you can install a remedial damp proof cause by injecting a water repellent damp proof cream into the mortar bed joint of affected walls.

Protect Your Home With Rainbow International Today!

With decades of experience handling damp and mould issues, Rainbow International’s expert team have perfected damp diagnostics and remedial solutions.

Our team of experts understand how important your home’s safety is, so get in touch to enlist their help in preventing and treating rising damp issues.

Published: 19 Apr 2022
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