When you hear the term Rising Damp, does it give you a feeling that it is a Hollywood movie with rugged cowboys or an action flick shot in the desert? Honestly, that’s what I visualised when I first heard the term. But it is not so. This term is a nightmare for the home/property owners as it affects any property very severely.
So now that we know, it’s not a Hollywood movie, let’s find out what exactly a Rising Damp is?
Rising Damp is caused due to a process called Capillary Action and surface tension. Rising Damp normally takes place less than 3 feet from the bottom. So water gets in through the brick walls in the form of moisture. Since it enters as moisture, we are unable to see it. It basically starts from the bottom of the internal wall and slowly rises upwards because of capillary action and surface tension. In the case of a property, materials such as cement, brick and mortar act like a straw and absorb and suck water upwards. These materials also act as a sponge and suck up the water. The walls retain the moisture and remain moist permanently prompting timbers to damage and most of all the growth of mold. The problem is also very rampant in properties where the level of the street/ road/ ground has been modified.
Spotting Rising Damp
Let us look at some signs and symptoms of rising damp. There can be many signs which point towards a rising damp issue. If the symptoms listed here match with what you see, then it’s probably a rising damp issue but to be on the safer side please take professional help to be 100% sure. An accurate diagnosis is required as soon as possible to combat the problem.Please understand it is really difficult to make a proper distinction as to whether it is a rising damp or just penetration damp or condensation for the untrained eye. You will notice:
- Damp patches appearing from the bottom of the wall
- Mold, tide marks, damp stains, peeling of wallpaper and paints, and crumbling plaster at the top of skirting
- Discoloration of plaster, powdery residue left behind by water as it contains salt
- Decaying of floorboards and skirtings
- Musty Odour
- Black Mold
- Rusting of steel fasteners and iron
How to prevent Rising Damp?
When any property or building is constructed, a waterproof layer or a DPC (Damp Proof Course) is done throughout the bottom of all the ground floor walls. During the Victorian times, a thin layer of impervious rock such as slate was used. Then it was replaced by roofing felt and then by plastics. The DPC helps to prevent the water from soaking in the walls. DPC can be said as a barrier that is installed at the lower level to disallow water from rising up.
Causes of Rising Damp
Let’s discuss a scenario in which DPC can remain perfectly intact and fine but can be bridged. In this case, the damp from the ground can travel upwards, passes the DPC due to a construction fault. Some causes are mentioned below:
- Plaster overlapping the DPC / External or Internal Renders
- Failure to successfully inject DPC
- Debris in the wall cavity or subfloor void
- Intersecting masonry structures
- Inappropriate insulation material in the cavity
- External ground levels being raised above the DPC
- Solid floors
Dealing with Rising Damp
There are no on the spot or swift solutions to tackle rising damp. But before taking any decisions, you should contact a home/property care and repair expert and discuss the matter with them. Because a wrong diagnosis will cause a lot of unwanted problem. Our specialized team of engineers will do the needful in a cost-effective and timely manner. Proper survey of the area needs to be carried out to confirm that it is rising damp and after that the treatment will be based on the condition of the property and the type of the property. Treating rising damp needs a lot of attention and care since it’s a serious problem. The source of the problem needs to be found out and rectified accordingly.
The DONTs in Rising Damp
- Electric currents in copper wires don’t work
- Waterproofing the surfaces of a wall does not work
- Injecting silicone usually fails
- Tiling walls does not solve the problem
Rising Damp as explained can pose a serious threat if it is left without any treatment. It can also lead to structural damages. Any kind of damp is not good for health. It creates respiratory problems along with other problems. Contact Healthy HomesNow to get the best solution for your Rising Damp Problem and Damp Proof Course (DPC).