Rising damp is a common problem throughout the UK. The damp and humid conditions make it all too easy for properties to become infiltrated with moisture. If left untreated, this can cause severe damage and an unpleasant smell. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to help fix the issue and prevent it from becoming worse.
What is rising damp?
Rising damp is caused by moisture rising up through the masonry walls of a property. It comes from the ground and can pass up through any porous material, such as brickwork or stone. This dampness will then be drawn into the internal wall fabric, resulting in damage to plaster, wallpaper, wooden flooring and even furniture.
Can you repair rising damp?
The good news is that rising damp can be repaired. The most effective way to do this is by installing a chemical damp-proof course (DPC). This will act as a barrier between the ground and the property, stopping any further moisture from entering your property. This is a step that needs to be left to the professionals, so it isn’t really a suitable DIY project.
However, once the professionals have dealt with the underlying cause of the damp, you can DIY the final cosmetic remedy work. You may need to remove damaged plaster and replace it with a breathable damp-proof membrane. This is crucial as you want the wall fabric to be able to breathe, preventing any further dampness from entering your property.
If the problem persists and moisture continues to enter your home, then you may need to consider more complex solutions such as improving ventilation or upgrading your heating system.
What happens if rising damp is left untreated?
Rising damp can cause a lot of damage to your home if left untreated. Not only will it cause the walls, wallpaper and flooring to become damaged and unsightly, but it can also lead to problems with mould and rot. It is vital that you tackle the issue quickly before any further damage is done.
Damp will impact the value of your property and will make it more difficult to sell. Buyers will be wary about purchasing a property with damp as they won’t know how extensive the problem is.
It will also make your property more difficult to rent out, as tenants are protected from living in poor conditions such as damp. It is important to take swift action if you identify rising damp in your property. Professional help should be sought to stop the issue at its source and then you can DIY the cosmetic repairs. Failing to address this problem could have a serious impact on the value of your property.
How do you find the source of rising damp?
If you believe that your property has rising damp, then it is important to identify the source of the moisture. This can be done by a professional surveyor who will use specialist tools to find the source of the moisture ingress. This will reveal any areas where water is entering or leaving and help pinpoint exactly how extensive the damage is.
Once this assessment has been carried out, you will know what needs to be done in order to fix the problem. Professional help should be sought for more complex issues such as replacing damp-proof courses, while DIY work can be carried out on cosmetic repairs.
How do you repair rising damp walls?
Once the cause of the rising damp has been identified, it is time to get to work on repairing any damage caused. The walls may need replastering, depending on the extent of the damage, and a damp-proof membrane will need to be installed. This will stop any further moisture from entering your property and ensure that your home remains dry and safe.
Damp-proof courses should only be installed by a professional, as the risk of failure is high if they are carried out by inexperienced installers. If you are going to invest money in repairing the damage, you want to make sure there is low risk of the damp returning.
How long does it take to treat rising damp?
The length of time it takes to treat rising damp will depend on the extent of the problem and what work is required. If you are taking a DIY approach, then this can be done relatively quickly once the underlying cause has been remedied. However, if professional help is needed in order to install a chemical DPC or replace existing damp-proof courses, then this could take up to several days for the job to be completed.
It is important to remember that treating rising damp isn’t always a quick fix. Depending on how extensive the damage is, it may take some time before your property is completely dry again. However, addressing any issues as soon as they arise can prevent further damage to your home and possessions. You can use dehumidifiers to begin to extract moisture from the air and make the environment more habitable.
Can rising damp spread?
Damp can spread throughout your home and into neighbouring properties if left untreated. While your neighbour’s damp proof course may be intact and functioning, if damp is allowed to spread up through your property, neighbouring walls could be impacted.
It is important to tackle any damp issues quickly in order to avoid damage to neighbouring properties. Treating rising damp can be an arduous process, but it is essential for the health and safety of everyone living in your home.
Taking swift action will help stop the problem from escalating and prevent further damage from being caused. Professional help should be sought if you are unsure how to address the issue, as this could save time and money in the long run.
Once treated, rising damp can be prevented from returning by improving ventilation, insulation or upgrading your heating system. These measures will ensure that your home remains dry and free from any future damp issues.
Rising damp can feel like an overwhelming problem, particularly for first-time homeowners. However, it’s important to remember that it is very treatable. If you act quickly at the first signs of damp in your home, you can limit the damage to your property and make remedial work much easier to manage.