One of the most controversial types of damp is rising damp. If you are concerned that you may have a rising damp problem, you have come to the right place. You will learn how to identify rising damp, its causes, and how to effectively deal with it in this How To guide.
Most of this guide is dedicated to helping you identify rising damp in your home, as well as how to distinguish it from much more common damp issues. Several myths about rising damp and its treatment of rising damp are also dispelled.
What is Rising Damp?
Generally, rising dampness is a relatively rare form of damp that affects the walls of buildings. Capillary action occurs when moisture from the ground travels up through the walls. The bricks act as a series of straws, sucking up groundwater through tiny tubes. Salts in this water also travel through the wall.
Around the affected wall, there are other porous building materials such as plasterwork and timber found in floorboards, joists, and skirtings. You may also find evidence of wet rot in the timber due to the inability of these materials to absorb the groundwater.
Most often, rising damp is detected as a result of damage caused to the internal walls of a building. There is a possibility that plaster and paint may deteriorate and any wallpaper may become loose. At the point where the ground water has reached the wall, a visible stain appears as a tide mark. It is also possible to observe salt blooms on the internal surface. This is often associated with rising damp and can result in paint or plaster debonding. Mortar may crumble externally, and white salt stains may appear on the walls.
When do you need Rising Damp Treatment?
Before we explain about treatment of rising damp, it is vital to obtain an accurate diagnosis before implementing any remedial measures. A failed, broken, or missing damp course is the only cause of rising damp. Capillary action provides an entry point for groundwater into the building. When dampness is present in your property, but the DPC is intact, the root cause is likely condensation moisture, mould, or penetrating damp. You must have the problem diagnosed by a qualified professional before installing a remedial DPC in such cases.
Causes of Rising Damp
Most buildings have some form of barrier at the lower level of their walls to prevent water from rising. It is known as a damp proof course (DPC). Based on the period in which the property was constructed, it can be made of non-absorbent, water-resistant materials, such as slate, bitumen, and plastic. These physical DPCs may fail over time; in older houses, they may not exist at all. There is nothing that will prevent the water from traveling up your wall if you do not have a DPC or there is evidence that it has failed.
DPCs can sometimes remain intact, but they can also be bridged. As a result of a construction defect, damp from the ground can travel up past the DPC.
Examples of this include:
- Wall cavities and subfloor voids may contain debris.
- Overlapping renders or plasters on the inside or outside of the DPC
- The external ground level is raised above the DPC.
- The cavity is insufficiently insulated.
- Solid floors
- An intersection of masonry structures or an abutting garden wall.
What Causes Rising Dampness in Internal Walls?
As with rising damp, rising damp in internal walls is caused by the movement of ground water up through the brickwork through capillary action. This occurs as a result of a failed or non-existent DPC or when the DPC has been bridged.
Rising Damp External Walls
There is the possibility of rising damp affecting both internal and external walls. Keep an eye out for tide marks when looking for evidence of rising damp on external walls. Additionally, you may observe some mortar crumbling between bricks or stonework and salt deposits.
Signs of Rising Damp
A correct diagnosis is necessary for the correct treatment of rising damp, which is a relatively rare form of damp. The most important thing is to obtain a professional diagnosis from a qualified surveyor – this will involve a rising damp survey of your home, including a salt analysis. Rising damp can be difficult to distinguish from other types of damp, such as condensation and penetrating damp.
Here are some of the more common signs of rising damp that you should be aware of:
- The tide marks left by salts
- For a better indication of rising damp, you should determine whether the brickwork/masonry is wet and not just the plaster or wallpaper.
- Wall coverings are stained, the wallpaper is peeling, and the paint is blistering.
- There is a strong smell of dampness and must.
- Plaster discoloration and fragmentation.
- Timber that is deteriorating, such as skirting boards, floor boards, and floor joists.
Treatment of Rising Damp
The signs of growing moisture can also be seen on the outside and the walls. For instance, if water levels are rising above the moisture barrier, difficulties that result from increased ground levels may be resolved by simply removing extra soil below the moisture barrier. It is possible to treat moisture in this manner using a proper method.
Damp Proof Injection
Waterproofing injection can only begin once all inside and outside walls have been prepared.
Any plaster that has been damaged by moisture or absorbent elements must be cleaned, as well as skirting boards and wall fixings that are decomposing. A specific depth and thickness are determined for the openings cut along the plaster base joints. Each hole must be 125mm in diameter for the injection to be effective. After the openings have been made, a gel containing the silicone-based chemical damp-proofing lotion is inserted.
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How to prevent the rising dampness?
The first thing you should check is whether your home is waterproof. On the outer wall, there is a definite line that is six inches in height. Is the DPC of the next property greater than yours? Do you have any stairways, ramps, or nearby houses that connect to the external wall that is taller than DPC? Can any internal connecting elements, such as structural closets, staircases, or heaters, reach higher than the DPC of the hollow walls? It is through these instances of inner and outer bridging that we can understand.
A rise in dampness can be caused by moisture or water flowing through or rising beyond the DPC System. It is also possible that waste from the time the building was constructed might accumulate at the base of the structure and increase dampness. Check for dampness caused by overriding DPCs with a local professional if you have any doubts.
Who to call for the treatment of rising dampness?
When you suspect your walls are damp, hire a professional to check your suspicions. Choose experts who specialize in dampness injection treatment, technicians, or rising damp repair. They will conduct an inspection, conduct a thorough analysis, and then develop a plan of action. You should check for relevant requirements when selecting the professionals who will solve this problem.
Experts in the following fields should preferably hold locally recognized qualifications:
- Hold certificates for remedial treatments in the repairing of property.
- Professionals who are qualified in structural waterproofing identify issues with water-reaching patterns underground.