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 damp 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 hold damp 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 several 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 patios, paths, soil, or rubbish abutting against an external wall, allowing the DPC to be bridged and groundwater 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, you mustn’t fix the issue yourself. Instead, you should call for the help of a professional. Any work carried out incorrectly could cause further damage to the DPC, as well as result in severe damage to the structure of the building, thus requiring expensive refurbishment.

Learn more about Damp Proof Courses (DPCs)

Rising Damp FAQs

How do you identify rising damp?

Rising damp leaves behind several 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

How do you prevent 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.

Can damp affect the value of your house?

Damp can have a significant effect on the value of a house. A property with damp issues can lose up to 53% of its value.

What causes damp in a house?

Rising damp is more prevalent during the winter months in Britain. This is mostly 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.

Can damp make you ill?

Yes. If dampness is present in your property, it contributes to the likes of asthma, allergies, and respiratory problems and infections. Meanwhile, your immune system can also be affected.

Does cavity wall insulation cause damp?

Cavity wall insulation won’t cause damp if it’s installed correctly by a professional; however, incorrectly installed cavity wall insulation in unsuitable properties can lead to the presence of damp in your home.

How is rising damp fixed?

After a survey to identify the type of damp concerned, some or possibly all 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

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.

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

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