Rentokil Property Care

Rising Damp

Call to Book a Survey 0800 012 1437  or Contact Us Online

What is Rising Damp

Rising damp is the general term for moisture that rises up through the fabric and brick walls of a building after being absorbed from the surrounding ground. This process is called capillary action.

This can be caused by a failure of a damp proof course,  a bridged DPC, or a DPC that is missing altogether.

Our rising damp guide provides everything you need to know. We will explain how to identify rising damp, understand what causes it, and the best treatment methods.

Causes of Rising Damp

The majority of buildings have a DPC in place to prevent water rising up through the brickwork. In older buildings, the original damp proof course in place can begin to break down over time. Normally, you may not realise the damp proof course has failed until signs of rising damp begin to appear.

If you have rising damp in your home, that means a broken, bridged or missing damp proof course is allowing groundwater access to your ground floor walls through capillary action. Naturally, this will result in damp stains on your internal walls, but it can lead to more serious property issues than that.

If it is left untreated, this moisture can lead to structural damage caused by wood and timber degrading wet rot or dry rot infestations.

How Do I Know if I Have Rising Damp

If you are worried that the stains on your walls might be evidence of rising damp, then our guide below will explain the tell-tale signs to look out for. The signs below will help you differentiate it from other problems like penetrating damp or condensation.

Serious example of rising damp problem

Top 5 Signs of Rising Damp

  1. Damp tidemark on the wall
  2. Hygroscopic salts on the wall plaster
  3. Wallpaper peeling and paint flaking from wall
  4. Damaged timber on skirting board
  5. Damp smell
Rising damp tidemarks on wall

Tidemarks & Damp Patches on Walls

Perhaps the most typical sign is evidence of a tide mark effect where dampness stains appear above the skirting boards on the ground floor of a building. This can occur up to a potential height of 1 metre.

As you would expect, this would leave the walls or masonry damp to touch.

rising damp salt deposits internal wall

White Salt Deposits on the Lower Wall

Known as hygroscopic salts, this occurs because as the water is carried into the building through capillary action, it carries with it ground salts that remain deposited on the plaster walls once the moisture begins to evaporate. These salts often have the appearance of fluffy white deposits on the wall. These salts can also appear on external walls on brickwork or masonry.

Damp peeling wallpaper and flaky plaster

Damp, Peeling Wallpaper and Flaky Plaster

The repeated presence of moisture in the wall will cause damp patches on walls to deteriorate into the wallpaper beginning to peel from the wall itself.

Another common symptom of rising damp is that the dampness behind the wall will cause the plaster to eventually begin to bubble and flake from the wall.

decaying timber and skirting boards

Decaying Timber e.g. Skirting Boards, Floor Boards & Joists

If rising damp is allowed to go untreated then you may find that associated problems like wood rot begin to take place on any timber surfaces affected by the moisture over a long period of time.

A rising damp specialist will be able to diagnose if the damp has led to wet rot or dry rot problems.

rising damp and musty smell

Damp Musty Smell

Once a wall has been affected by rising damp then it means water and moisture from the ground has access to the internal walls of the property. Naturally, this will result in a wet and saturated wall that, given time, will create a damp atmosphere in the room and a musty smell will eventually develop.

The only way to eradicate this smell is to install a form of damp proofing that will prevent water from entering the home through capillary action.

How to Repair Rising Damp

The process of controlling rising damp involves:

  • Drilling holes in the mortar joints approximately 125mm apart. Brick injection is only used if the motor joints are unsuitable.
  • After injection, the siliconate fluid diffuses throughout the mortar joints and works by reducing the capillary action of the wall.
  • When drilled externally, the holes are filled with mortar to ensure a neat finish.
  • After treatment, Rentokil Property Care can offer a re-plastering service for internal walls, leaving them clean and ready for decoration.

You can read more about our rising damp treatment process and our 30-year guarantee on our dedicated pages.

Is Rising Damp Covered By Insurance

It is very unusual for standard buildings and contents home insurance policies to cover rising damp, or indeed problems like water ingress or condensation and black mould problems. Typically this is because insurers insist that your property is in “Good Condition” before they will enter into an agreement with you.

To provide complete peace of mind that your property will be free from rising damp after our specialist treatment process, Rentokil Property Care not only backs our damp proof course injection solutions with long term guarantees, but we also provide a comprehensive rising damp insurance policy to ensure you are completely protected going forward.

Is Rising Damp Real?

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 and subsequently misdiagnose the issue as another type of 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 damp specialist professionals.

Buying & Selling a House With Rising Damp

It is not uncommon for older properties or houses in a state of disrepair to be sold with evidence of damp problems on either external or internal walls. Unfortunately for prospective buyers and sellers, it has been known that some mortgage providers will minimise their risk by refusing to lend the mortgage until the rising damp has been fixed or treated.

If rising damp has been indicated on a home report for a property you are interested in buying or selling then contacting our damp proofing specialists will enable you to receive a full and thorough damp and woodworm property survey along with a treatment plan to resolve the problem and leave your home with a clean bill of health for a more straightforward sale or mortgage application.

Your Local Rising Damp Specialists

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.

Identifying rising damp requires more than the use of a simple moisture meter. Our team of experts will assess and correctly diagnose the extent of your rising damp problem for you. From this, we provide recommendations on how to treat the issue and solve the problem. You can contact our expert team today by clicking the button below to book a survey online.