Do you suspect your property has rising damp issues?
Would you like to learn about the causes of those problems and the best ways to prevent them?
Then you’ve come to the right place today because this in-depth article is going to fill you in on everything you need to know.
With a bit of luck, reading all this information will ensure you can deal with your rising damp because it causes mould and potentially many structural issues.
In most instances rising damp affects old houses more than new ones due to improved drainage and other advancements.
However, nobody is 100% protected from the damage damp can cause, and that is why reading this article is critical.
Need help with rising damp? Speak to an expert now:
What is Rising Damp?
Rising Damp was a 1970s TV comedy show starring Leonard Rossiter that was exceptionally popular in the UK for many years.
However, being as you’re reading about property maintenance, we’ll presume that isn’t the rising damp you’re dealing with at the moment.
When it comes to houses and other buildings, rising damp is moisture that forms on your walls as a result of groundwater.
It tends to happen when there is a slope towards your home, and rain gathers underneath or next to the walls.
The moisture rises through the fabric of the structure regardless of the material. So, that can become an issue for houses built using bricks, stone, or just about anything else.
The scientific term for water rising up the walls is capillary action, and that explains how the liquid works against gravity to cause problems in your home.
At some point, gravity counteracts capillary action, and that is where the damp should cease to move any further.
Rising damp can reach heights of one or two metres in many instances, and so it can ruin a workplace or a family home by encouraging mould and decreasing the strength of the structure.
In many situations, the effects of the damp will reach higher up the wall than the moisture itself.
What Are the Signs of Rising Damp?
If you think you have a rising damp issue at the moment; you just need to take a look for any of the following warning signs.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it makes sense to look for remedies or get in touch with professionals as soon as possible.
People who waste time will only make the situation worse and cause themselves more hassle.
The cost of solving the problem could also increase if you don’t deal with it promptly.
Signs of rising damp:
● Sometimes you will notice a damp and musty smell before encountering any evidence of damp inside the property.
● In many situations, people with a damp problem at home will see mould and other fungus growing on the affected walls.
● If you have wallpaper, there is a decent chance that moisture could cause it to peel, and those with painted rooms might see blisters.
● Dark patches and wet walls are a sure-fire indication that you have damp issues in the home you need to resolve.
● Discoloured or damaged plaster is another sign of which you need to keep your eyes peeled. Most people notice that when the time comes to decorate and they remove wallpaper from their walls.
● The decay of any wood in the structure could also highlight the need for some damp treatment. That tends to happen around window and door frames.
● Skirting boards can often show the signs of damp before anywhere else. That is because they sit at the bottom of the wall, and that is the area in which the moisture is most prevalent.
● Salt stains on the exterior brickwork of your property could mean those structures have become wet.
● Lastly, if you notice that mortar on the outside of your home begins to crumble, it’s probably time for a damp check!
What Causes Rising Damp?
In many instances, rising damp manifests when a property doesn’t have a damp-proof course or that protection becomes damaged. A damp-proof course is a waterproof layer in the walls of a home that repels rainwater.
Ideally, it should sit around six inches above the exterior ground level, and the item will stop any rising moisture in its tracks. If your damp-proof course doesn’t function as expected, there is a decent chance that rising damp can occur.
In situations where the damp-proof course works perfectly, damp can happen because of a breach in the DPC. That means something lodged or attached to the walls enables liquid to move around the damp-proof course and penetrate your property.
The damp will continue to rise until gravity takes hold and prevents it from going any further. Experts claim that often happens when the ground outside the building rises over time and exceeds the height of the original damp-proof course.
There are also cases in which rising damp happens due to wall cavities that contain lots of waste or building materials. That can create somewhat of a bridge for moisture to move from the ground upwards.
Internal plaster connected to a solid floor produces the same effects in many instances.
How Do I Treat Rising Damp?
There are many different options on the table when it comes to treating rising damp, and the best course of action will depend upon the cause of the issue.
So, it’s vital that you identify the problem ahead of time and work out why it’s happening. You can then select the most appropriate treatment from the suggestions made below. Using the wrong solution could mean you spend a fortune and never manage to resolve your moisture problem.
Whatever happens, make sure you don’t opt for a quick fix like painting over the mould and damp on your walls because that will just make the situation worse and cause more spending in the long run. Instead, you need to work out the cause and deal with it accordingly.
If the rising damp is caused by a blocked cavity wall
If you determine that your issue relates to blocked cavity walls; you just need to make a small hole in the structure and unblock it.
You can call a professional to assist with that process if you don’t feel confident with the idea of putting holes in your home. Their services should not break the bank, and the job should take no longer than a few days even in the most extreme cases.
If the rising damp is caused by a bridged damp-proof course
Homeowners who recognise their damp-proof course is bridged in some way just need to reverse the issue. For this post, let’s presume the ground outside is now higher than the DPC.
In that instance, you just need to dig a small trench around the perimeter of your house and ensure the earth no longer reaches above that section of the structure.
Just be sure to slope the bottom of the trench you dig so that water does not accumulate in the area. You could use a French drain or something similar if that becomes a problem.
If you can’t remove the objects bridging your damp-proof course
In some situations, you might struggle when it comes to moving the earth or other material out of the way that is blocking your DPC. Still, there is no need to stress because you can always improve the protection you have and prevent further rising damp.
You just need to add a new damp-proof course to your walls for the best results. Nothing is wrong with installing a DPC above your existing solution or adding one to the property for the first time.
With a bit of luck, that will help to ensure your house does not suffer stability issues or mould infestations in the future.
Are There Different Types of Damp-proof Course (DPC)?
Yes! There are three main variations of DPC of which you need to become aware if you want to get the damp treatment right.
When building a house, the construction workers will usually use a sheet made of metal or plastic to protect the structure.
Unfortunately, that is challenging once the home is already complete, and so you have to take a look at some of the other options on the table.
Rising Damp Solutions
- Some people choose to make use of water repellent chemicals they can inject into the affected areas of their walls to provide some extra protection. That often works well, and the products come in many different forms including gels, pastes, and creams.
- Those who want to go a little further might consider using a pore-blocking salt concoction. You’ll have to inject that into the walls again, but the salt should help to soak up any moisture that makes its way into the cavity.
- Lastly, the technique of osmotic water repellency tends to perform well in professional situations, and that involves the use of embedded wires. You probably won’t have to use that last suggestion in most instances.
What is the Process of Using Water-repellent Chemicals?
If you plan to try water repellent chemicals when dealing with your rising damp problem this year; you just need to follow the step-by-step guide outlined below.
- Firstly, you need to drill holes in your wall that are around 11mm in diameter for the best outcomes.
- Next up, you’ll have to drill through the external and internal walls.
- Take a moment to sit down and read the instructions on your water repellent chemical product before applying it as the manufacturers recommend.
- Inject the chemicals using a specialist pump that you can buy from most decent DIY stores. Just ask the staff for advice if you get stuck.
- Fill all the holes you made with cement or mortar.
What is the Process of Using a Pore-blocking Salt Mixture?
If you intend to try a pore-blocking salt mixture in your walls, the process you need to follow is quite straightforward. Just use this guide.
- Drill holes in your walls that are around 20 mm in diameter for the best results. Do not do that if your walls are not stable and thick because you could cause structural damage. Indeed, that is why it’s sensible to consult a professional before starting this job.
- Mix the pore-blocking salt mixture and inject it into the holes using an injection gun that you can buy from your DIY store or online. Make sure you get a heavy-duty item that can handle the weight of the solution because some of the cheap products on the market are likely to break when undertaking this application.
After Treating the Walls, How Do I Repair Them?
Damp causes many issues both inside and outside of the property, and so you’ll need to deal with them following successful treatment.
You’ve managed to prevent any further moisture from forming, but you will have to rectify the damage caused. The best way of doing that is to use some specialist mould cleaner on your walls before letting them dry and hanging some new wallpaper.
If you find it impossible to remove the stains, just paint the wall or the worst affected area. You can also use a salt neutraliser if you’re concerned about deposits on the exterior or interior of your home.
In most instances, that is all you need to do to get things back on track. Other than that, some people like to strip the plaster and replace it in extreme cases. It all depends on how much damage the damp creates.
You should now have a reasonable understanding of the nature of rising damp and how it forms.
You should also know a little more about the best ways to dealing with the problem and making your home or building safe again.
Mould and other fungi can pose many health risks to human beings, and that is why you need to rectify any damp issues as soon as possible.
The last thing any homeowner wants is for their children to end up in the hospital with breathing problems related to mould spore inhalation.
So, use the information from this page to ensure you make all the right moves.