Rising Damp – Causes, Effects, Prevention & Solutions

Your home is a place that you would want to be clean, comfortable and attractive. But sometimes, that may not be the case. There are common problems that may arise and deprive you of that comfort and beauty that your home should have. One of the problem that commonly arise is “Rising Damp”.

What Causes Rising Damp

damp proofing

Rising damp can affect all parts of a property, moving from room to the other if it is not treated properly

Many people often wonder about the cause of rising damp. Rising Damp can be attributed to quite a number of things. The major cause of this is the failure or inability of your Damp Proof Course (DPC) to perform its role. Normally buildings have Damp proof course at their foundation. This simple and impermeable barrier is included between the foundation and the base of the wall.

This material has the ability to stop moisture and water from rising above the foundation. In many cases, the absence or failure of this proof leads to Rising damp. However, other defects and conditions that could result in rising damp include; inadequate or defective drainage, plumbing leaks, floods and accumulation of moisture at the foundation. Furthermore, groundwater salts like nitrate, chloride and sulphates when finding on walls, have the tendency of absorbing water and moisture from the surrounding environment. If this condition is not controlled it will lead to the accumulation of moisture on the wall. Constant moisture on the wall leads to a lot of issues such as; weakening of the wall and even, the growth of moulds and fungi on affected places. This poses health dangers to the inhabitants of the building.

Effects of Rising damp on Houses & Buildings

In houses experience damp issues, rooms or walls are likely to be affected and this is caused by capillary action or hydrostatic pressure. The action ends up in causing the moist and water from the ground to enter the structure. Due to the porosity of building materials, moisture rises up to the walls of the building. This rise continues unless a barrier is introduced, to stop it from progressing.

Rising Damps are the major cause of decay to materials such as wood, bricks and mortar. When it is mild, it causes crumbling of outward masonry and destroys the wonderful interior finishing such as; paints, paper walls, ceiling and veneer. Furthermore, in severe conditions, it could affect the foundation of the building and this ultimately leads to the general weakening of the building.

There are two ways by which a house can be dampened;

The first way is through condensation. This is caused by faulty ventilation, bathing, faulty heating systems and cooking. These activities lead to deposition of moisture on the walls and structure. This type of damp can be easily taken care of. In many cases, installations of humidifiers and improving ventilation systems take care of the problem.

The second is attributed to the penetration of moisture via the walls, foundations and even floor. It could also be caused by leaks or blockage in the gutter. It could also be caused by groundwater rising up the walls of the buildings by capillary action.
Of this method of attack, it is obvious that the latter is more severe of the two. However, getting rid of the damp is very important irrespective of the cause and type of the damp.

Correction often requires Diagnosis


Correction of the problem requires a proper diagnosis of the situation. The diagnosis is usually done by a damp proofing specialist. Specialists in this field have 3 ways of investigating or diagnosing the problem.

Visual inspection-This is usually done to find out the causes of the dampness. A visual inspection and assessment are carried out. The specialist check for faulty gutters cracked rendering and generally visible cause of the damp.

Electric moisture meter – This is a specialized technique used by the specialist to identify the pattern of the moisture and possibly the cause of the damp.

Calcium carbide meters – This is often used to detect the amount of moisture in a sample taken from the house. This will help in determining the level of dampness and the possible source of the damp.

Dealing with Rising Damp – Damp Proof Chemicals

After a thorough diagnosis of the affected areas of the house by a damp proof specialist, the next step will be to fix the issue and ensure that preventive measures are put in place to stop future occurrence.

Damp proof treatment could be achieved by the installation of a new Damp proof course (DPC). In some cases, the use of damp proofing chemicals will stop and prevent the effects of the moisture. There are several chemicals and solution that are available for this purpose (. However, it is recommended that you seek the advice of a specialist before you use any of them, though many of these solutions and chemicals are not hazardous nor inflammable. Majority of them are suitable for all weather. After the treatment of the problem, prevention is the next thing you should do.

Below are a few things you should do to prevent future occurrence;

  •  Paving of the house should slope away from the house.
  •  Storm and surface water should not be allowed to lie against the base of the wall.
  •  Create adequate drainage for stormwater. This will prevent the accumulation of water.
  •  Ensure that there is proper ventilation at the underfloor.

Rising damp is a common house problem that should be tackled immediately they are noticed. You don’t have to sit and allow water and moisture attack your foundation, walls and beautiful interior and finishing. Irrespective of whatever damp problems you may have, there are professionals that can help you take care of them and provide solutions to prevent further and future occurrences.

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