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Bedroom damp caused by poor air circulation

Left untreated, damp can be bad for both your health (the mould and spores can aggravate respiratory problems such as asthma) and the health of your property: If any form of damp is left unchecked it can cause a number of potentially serious issues, including damage to decorated surfaces, or timber decay and even wet rot, which can lead to structural deterioration, and may necessitate major repair costs. More »

Penetrating damp in brickwork can cause major wall instabilities

Whether it’s damp proofing walls to prevent penetrating damp, treating rising damp, or dealing with condensation problems, damp proofing costs needn’t be prohibitive, though selecting the appropriate treatment will depend on the results of the damp survey. More »

Deep wall damp can be almost hidden behind plastering and wall paper

Penetrating damp: Once the source of the water ingress has been identified and repaired, treatments such as silicone water repellents, bitumen coatings, or a waterproof membrane can be applied to guard against future damp problems. More »

Brickwork affected by damp can cause serious problems for your home

Rising damp: Specialist creams are injected into the brickwork to form a waterproof barrier at the base of the wall; this will prevent water rising and penetrating into the building. Once the brickwork has dried out, the interior walls are re-plastered with plaster containing a waterproof additive. More »

 

Rising Damp

Unlike the 1970s sitcom of the same name, rising damp can be no laughing matter. And while nowadays, damp proofing specialists are able to successfully treat the problem, obtaining expert, professional advice is vital to avoid future complications.

What is rising damp?

Typically a problem in ground floor exterior walls, rising damp occurs when water rises up via capillary action through brick or stone, which are both naturally porous materials.

Internally, visible signs of rising damp include damp walls, spoiling of or damage to decoration (including discoloured or bubbling paintwork, stained or lifting wallpaper, and/or mould on walls) and softening plasterwork, usually to a height of around a metre. Left untreated, it can rise even further, and may eventually lead to rot in skirting, floorboards, or even floor joists.

Externally, there may be a visible ‘tide-mark’ on the wall, accompanied by white deposits from salts that have been carried up as the water rises, then left behind when it evaporates. These salts can themselves attract moisture, thus worsening the problem and leading to further damage. Additionally, damp walls have increased conductivity, promoting a faster rate of heat loss and a corresponding rise in heating bills.

How does rising damp occur?

1) If there is no damp proof course (a waterproof barrier or membrane built into the wall). This is more often the case in older buildings as post 1875, all new houses were constructed with a damp proof course as standard.

2) If the damp proof course is faulty.

3) Where something like a new driveway, patio, path, or elevated flowerbed has raised the external ground level above the existing damp proof course.

How is rising damp treated?

A professional survey needs to be performed to ascertain whether any damp walls are in fact due to rising damp and have not been caused by other issues, such as penetrating damp from faulty/blocked guttering or leaky plumbing, or even condensation problems due to the room being inadequately ventilated. Once these possible causes have been eliminated and the diagnosis confirmed, the two-part remedial process can begin.

Firstly, a new damp proof course is installed, usually by drilling a series of holes into the wall and injecting a specialist cream. This cream penetrates the brickwork and forms a water-resistant barrier at the base of the wall.

Alternatively, if the problem has been caused by a raised external feature such as a flowerbed, the damp can be treated by reducing the height of the feature to below the damp proof course, then allowing the wall to dry out by heating and ventilating the room.

Secondly, any internal plaster that has been affected by the rising damp will have to be replaced, otherwise contamination within the plaster will lead to future decoration problems. Any rotten skirting should be removed, then the damaged plaster can be stripped away to a height slightly above the extent of the rising damp damage. The wall should then be re-plastered with plaster containing a waterproof additive.