Identifying rising damp in your property can be difficult, as it can appear to be the same as many other types of damp. This article points out the causes and effects of rising damp, including the signs to look out for, and tips on how to treat it. If you suspect you have rising damp in your home, it's important to get it properly diagnosed and treated quickly.  

What is rising damp? 

Rising damp is a form of damp that effects the walls of your building. This occurs when moisture from the ground travels up through the walls. Materials around the affected wall, such as plasterwork, timber floorboards, joists and skirtings are damaged as a consequence. These materials absorb the ground water easily, causing damage such as wet rot in the timber. 
Man cleaning driveway

Causes of rising damp 

Most buildings have a barrier called a Damp Proof Course (DPC) in the lower level of the wall to prevent water rising. Sometimes, these physical DPC's fail over time, and older houses may not have them installed at all. If your property doesn’t have a DPC, or it has failed, theres nothing to stop water from travelling up your wall. 
Your properties DPC can also be bridged, meaning moisture from the ground can travel up past it. This is usually due to construction faults. This can occur for many reasons. For example, there may be inappropriate insulation material in the wall cavity, or the external ground levels have risen above the DPC. 
Rising damp in internal walls is caused by ground water moving up through the brickwork. This is often the result of failed, non-existent, or bridged damp proof course. 
Domestic driveway being built

Signs of rising damp 

Rising damp is usually first noticed by the damage it causes to the internal walls of a building. Plaster and paint begin to deteriorate, and wallpaper in the affected area can begin to loosen. A visible stain can often be seen on the affected wall in the form of a tide mark. Rising damp can occur up to 1.5 meters above your skirting board. The water from the ground contains slats which are then left of the wall when the water evaporates. This can cause paint on the wall to bubble, leaving a fluffy white residue to be left on the surface. 
On external walls, look out for tide marks, salt residue, and mortar crumbling between bricks ad stone works. 
It can be hard to distinguish rising damp from other forms of damp, so its important to know what youre looking for. Here are some more common signs of rising damp that you can look out for: 
Damp, dark patches on the walls. 
Stains on wall coverings, peeling wallpaper and blistering paint. 
A general damp musty smell. 
Decaying timber, such as floorboards, skirting, or floor joists. 
If left untreated, rising damp can lead to serious structural issues for your property. As with most forms of damp, rising damp is not good for your health, especially if you have existing raspatory conditions. Not only this, but it can also lead to higher energy bill costs due to an increase in heat loss. 

Rising damp treatment 

The most effective way of treating rising damp is a damp proofing injection. These are injected into the mortar course, penetrating the bricks, and absorbing the moisture. This creates a powerful, water-repellent barrier, creating a new chemical damp proof course that stops water from rising up the wall. Another option would be to install a new damp proof membrane to act as a damp proof course. This process involves taking out each brick along the failed mortar course and installing a new physical damp proof membrane. 
If you suspect your home or property has signs of rising damp, you must confirm this with a professional diagnosis from a damp specialist. The specialist will conduct a damp survey. Within this they will complete a thorough analysis and recommend a damp treatment based on their findings. For those living in rented properties, the landlord is the one responsible for dealing with your rising damp issues. They should also hire a professional to diagnose and treat the damp problem. 

Rising damp specialists 

SR Gill Builders are trusted damp specialists. Our years of experience give you peace of mind that we will correctly identify and solve your rising damp issues. We offer thorough damp surveys, helping to identify, diagnose, and solve our rising damp problems. 
We are here to help. If you have any questions, or are worried about rising damp in your home, give us a call. Our expert team are here to solve your damp issues quickly and to a high standard. 
If you’d like to discuss professional damp proofing for your property, or to book a damp survey, call us on 01604 380 930. Or email us at
Tagged as: Blog, Damp, Damp proofing
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