Rising Damp in Wall

What is Rising Damp? 

Rising damp can affect both internal and external walls. In this case, the source of the dampness comes from groundwater. The bricks and mortar in the normally dry upper parts of the wall can be affected by the capillary action of water from the ground, resulting in damp. Rising dampness will often only rise to 1.0-1.5M above ground level; however, it has been known to rise higher. Well maintained, well-constructed walls will have an efficient physical damp proof course (DPC) and are unlikely to possess dampness unless the damp proof course has been compromised in some way.

Rising damp in London buildings and properties is a fairly common problem, especially in older buildings or properties with poor ventilation. Additionally, buildings situated close to rivers, therefore with an increased chance of flooding, are also at greater risk of rising damp rearing its head.

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How Can a DPC Become Compromised?

There are a number of different ways in which a building's DPC can be compromised, all of which can result in serious damage to the wall and, with that, the structure of the building. The most common causes of damage to a DPC include:

  • Age or original use of poor materials
  • External materials such as a patios, paths, soil or rubbish abutting against an external wall, allowing the DPC to be bridged and ground water to take advantage of the imposed bypass
  • Existing DPC being breached by home improvements, such as adding a porch, conservatory or adjoining wall
  • Materials within the cavity of a cavity wall construction can bridge the DPC in an unseen way

Should you suspect that your building’s DPC has been compromised in any way, you should seek the assistance of a damp proofing specialist as soon as possible. Repairing the DPC can be a relatively simple task if an issue is diagnosed early, requiring an injection to replace the broken down material.

In the event of a compromised DPC, it is important that you do not try and fix the issue yourself. Instead, you should call in the help of a professional. Any work carried out incorrectly could cause further damage to the DPC, as well as resulting in severe damage to the structure of the building, thus requiring expensive refurbishment.

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Identifying Rising Damp

Rising damp leaves behind a number of tell-tale signs that there is a problem in the building, some of which are more prevalent than others, like condensation. Rising damp can be easily mistaken for an interior leak in the building’s plumbing, especially if the problem is noticed during heavy rainfall. To help you distinguish between rising damp and a leak, the symptoms you should keep an eye out for include:

  • Damp patches on external walls, which may exhibit moss or lichen growth and water staining on the exterior brickwork
  • Dampness may be felt and seen on the walls internally at low levels (from floor level up to 1.0-1.5 metres high in general)
  • Moisture and bands of salt to internal plaster and external brickwork

If you notice any of these symptoms of rising damp, you should seek out a professional opinion even if you are unsure if your home is suffering from a damp problem. At Garratt’s Damp & Timber, we offer free surveys and a no obligation quotation, where our team will inspect the property and give you expert advice on what is causing the issue and how best to treat it.

When is Rising Damp Most Likely to Strike?

Rising damp is more prevalent during the winter months in Britain. This is mostly as a result of the additional rainfall that comes in the winter months, meaning that there is a larger amount of moisture in the ground.

That moisture has to go somewhere and conditions mean that moisture does not evaporate as quickly as it would during summer. There is an increased chance of a DPC being breached, especially if there is already damage, resulting in a rising damp problem occurring in the building.

While winter is the most common time of the year when we are asked to provide rising damp solutions in London, that doesn’t mean there isn’t the possibility of an issue all year round. Areas that see increased levels of moisture are more likely to suffer from rising damp at any point during the year.

How to Stop Rising Damp 

The best way to avoid rising damp in walls is to ensure your DPC is in good condition and is up to date. The best rising damp treatment is a good DPC, and we can help with that.

Garratt’s Damp & Timber: Rising Damp Solutions in London

Once the damp proofing course has been compromised, remedial action is required as soon as possible because a continued presence of dampness will lead to deterioration of the brickwork and internal plaster or decor. Over time, without treatment, this will result in the need for more invasive action to be needed, potentially requiring you to seek out alternative accommodation during expensive refurbishments.

Internal plaster in the home can break down quickly when exposed to dampness. This can look unsightly and replacement is sometimes required for effective treatment, as well as to restore the aesthetics of the property.

How to Fix Rising Damp

After a survey to identify the type of damp concerned, some or possibly all of the following actions may be necessary to fix rising damp:

  • Bridged DPC: requires the removal of the soil or bridging materials to ensure a minimum 150mm clearance below the DPC, dependent on internal floor levels/construction
  • Injection of a chemical damp proof course, close to the original DPC in most circumstances
  • Replacement of joists or rotten internal flooring in contact with the damp
  • Removal and replacement of damaged and/or salt contaminated internal plastering

You should be wary, however, as many of these signs can also point to a different diagnosis. Water ingress from defective render, poor guttering, pipes and roofing (penetrating damp) plus plumbing leaks will also exhibit moisture patches. These will not be cured with a damp proofing course. Seeking out quotes from professionals like Garratt’s Damp & Timber Ltd is the best way to ensure you receive the correct rising damp solution in your London home.

To book your free home survey with Garratt’s Damp & Timber today, simply get in contact with us by sending our expert team a message or call us direct on 0208 535 7536.

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