Rising damp is the movement of moisture upwards from wet ground through the mortar and bricks or stones of the walls of a building.
Liquids are very persistent and can defy the law of gravity to move upwards via capillary action, much like the oil drawn upwards through the wick of a traditional lamp or cigarette lighter.
Rising Damp can be destructive to the structural integrity of a building, costly to threat and to remedy as well as harmful to the health of the inhabitants of any dwelling it affects.
What Causes Rising Damp
All modern houses have a damp-proof course (DPC) installed during construction.
This is typically a waterproof membrane, made of strong PVC or similar, used to form a physical waterproof barrier in the walls at least 150mm (6 inches) above ground level but below the level of the ground floor.
Sometimes a chemical DPC is used, that infuses a course of bricks with waterproofing and water-repellent properties.
These eliminates the possibility of moisture travelling up into walls of the building.
Older properties may use a single or double layer of slate, bitumen, or hessian. Very old properties may not have a DPC of any kind.
If the DPC is damaged, moisture can find a way through any breach and Rising Damp will occur.
If soil is piled up against an outside wall, for example to create a raised flower bed, it might come above the level of the DPC and then moisture can freely travel up into the walls.
Alternatively, with cavity walls, if rubble falls into the cavity and accumulates at ground level, it can build up to above the DPC, creating a route for moisture to travel upwards into the walls.
What Are The Dangers Of Rising Damp
Can cause Wet Rot or Dry Rot, both extremely destructive to structural timbers of a building.
Can cause mould, which is unsightly and a health hazard in its own right, as the spores it emits can aggravate or even cause respiratory problems and other health conditions.
Of course, excess moisture in a building can also start electrical fires through short circuiting, cause serious damage to walls, fixtures and furniture, break down internal plaster and decorations as well as cause heat loss and energy inefficiency.
Rising Damp can present a brown/yellow “tide mark” at the top of its reach, typically around 1.5 m, caused by the salts it has transported.
Indicators include: damp patches starting at the floor of a wall; sodden carpets or lifting floor coverings, such as tiles or vinyl; peeling wallpaper or paint; damp or rotting skirting boards; white, powdery efflorescence on the surface of the wall, on the lower half.
N.B Accurate Diagnosis
It is important to investigate thoroughly the true cause of damp. It is easy to mistake another cause of damp for Rising Damp.
Similar symptoms may present as a result of penetrative damp; Wet Rot; Dry Rot; a combination of condensation and lack of ventilation; plumbing leaks, or even structural faults This leads to expensive measures to eliminate one problem that is completely ineffective, so you can end up paying all over again to remedy the real cause.
You should always contract a qualified professional to survey your home and investigate all the factors that lead to any problem concerning damp.
Speak to A Rising Damp Specialist
If you notice signs of damp in your property then give us a call.
LC Joinery, Roofing and Building Work have many years’ experience of dealing with Rising Damp, Penetrative Damp, Wet Rot, Dry Rot, etc. problems and all our surveyors are fully trained and professionally qualified to diagnose the real cause of such problems.
Using specialist surveying equipment, we can even investigate unexposed areas within a property such as behind walls or below floorboards.
Accreditations and Guarantee
We can fully guarantee any and all work that we do, as we only ever employ fully insured, time-served, qualified, experienced professional tradesmen.
LC Joinery, Roofing and Building Work is a member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen, the Federation of Master Builders, the Construction Skills Certificate Scheme, and is a Which? Trusted Trader and a licensed asbestos removal contractor.
We have been in the same permanent premises, with a landline telephone number since 2008, building our reputation as honest, trustworthy dependable builders and we’re not going anywhere.
Our guarantee means something, as our customers know where to find us if we are needed after the job is done.