The term “rising damp” describes the process whereby ground water is drawn upwards through the mortar and masonry of a building by means of capillary action. Porous building materials such as bricks and sandstone are the most likely to be affected.
All building materials have complex pore structures and the smaller the pores, the higher the water can rise. This moisture often brings groundwater salts and other contaminants with it, and these deteriorate building materials and decorative fixtures and fittings.
In most cases rising damp is a slow process and may be present in a building for several years before any signs of a problem appear. The speed at which the moisture rises up the walls will depend on several factors including:
There is a school of thought out there that suggests rising damp is a myth, this is simply not true. Water rising through porous stone and brick via capillary action has been observed for centuries and is easily replicated by putting common building materials into water.
The reason there is controversy around rising damp is due to the high number of tradespeople who lack the experience and qualifications to correctly diagnose and treat this damp problem.
When other problems like condensation or penetrating damp are treated as though they are rising damp it is inevitable that the treatment fails and the property suffers.
So, it goes without saying that where rising damp is the genuine cause of the damp problems in your property it requires a survey and treatment plan from qualified professionals.
Most properties have a barrier installed in the ground floor section of the wall to prevent rising damp. This is called a damp proof course or DPC for short. Sometimes these damp proof courses can fail and in old properties they may never have been installed. In the event of a damaged or absent damp proof course a property has no protection from ground water being absorbed by the porous materials that make up your wall.
A common cause of damp proof course failure is when the ground outside your property has been raised and bridges the existing DPC. Rising damp problems like this can often be fixed by simply lowering the external influence to below the DPC. However, when damp proof courses become deteriorated or damaged they will need repaired or replaced.
Rising Damp can be caused by the lack, breakdown or bridging of a physical damp course, or the absence or damage of a damp proof membrane. Without these, water rises up the wall of a building in the same way that oil rises up through the wick of a lamp.
Rising Damp Technical Information »
Rising damp can be pretty serious. Beyond the aesthetic issues of damp marks on internal walls, a rising damp problem that is left untreated can lead to structural integrity issues. Rising damp can also have adverse effects on existing respiratory conditions of anyone staying in the property.
It can be difficult to identify rising damp because some of its symptoms are easily confused with those of other damp problems such as condensation or penetrating damp.
That said, you can look out for the following signs that are typical of a rising damp problem:
The signs of rising damp listed above would typically be evident to a height of about 1 metre (3.3 feet) from the ground.
If you are interested in a property that has rising damp listed on the home report it is certainly something you should have surveyed. The qualified and experienced surveyors at Rentokil Property Care will be able to establish why the rising damp is occurring and the best form of treatment to stop it.
The best way to stop rising damp becoming a serious problem is to arrange a property survey with Rentokil Property Care. If you think your property is suffering from rising damp then our qualified and experienced surveyors can assess your property, properly diagnose the problem and build an effective treatment plan specific to the needs of your property.
Providing all of our customers with the highest quality of service is our highest priority. This is why we ensure all our surveyors are Certificated Surveyors in Remedial Treatment (CSRT) and our technicians are trained to Property Care Association (PCA) standards.
Our team of experts will assess and correctly diagnose the extent of your rising damp issue. From this, we provide recommendations on specific damp proof treatments for the most effective ways to treat your problem. You can contact our expert team at Rentokil Property Care today on 0800 0121 437 or click the button below to book a survey online.