If you’re noticing damp patches on your walls or a musty smell in your home, you may have a problem with rising damp. Rising damp is caused by moisture rising through the foundations of your property, and it can be a real nuisance.
Left untreated, it can even cause structural damage to your property. While you might be able to keep on top of the cosmetic issues, the root cause of the rising damp will not be resolved without professional intervention.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to stop it. In this blog post, we’ll share with you our top tips for tackling rising damp. From professional interventions to DIY methods to help get rid of the damage left behind by rising damp, we’ll help you to restore your home to its former state.
What is rising damp and what causes it?
Rising damp is a common problem in homes around the world. It occurs when moisture from the ground gets into walls, typically close to ground level, resulting in discolouration, rot and other damage.
Luckily, rising damp is treatable if it’s caught early. The main causes of rising damp are:
- A lack of a damp-proof course
- Defective damp-proof course
- Damage to the exterior, including pointing or sealants
- Blocked or broken pipes leading to increased groundwater
Poor ventilation can also be an issue, allowing excess moisture to accumulate in your walls. To prevent this from occurring you should make sure that all openings below ground level are sealed properly so water can’t get in, plus ensure these areas are well-ventilated to allow excess moisture to escape.
How can you spot the signs of rising damp?
Rising damp is a serious problem that requires attention and action. It is caused by water which rises through the walls and floors of a building, often due to poor building foundations. Fortunately, this issue can be fixed with some simple solutions. Symptoms of rising damp include:
- Damp patches on walls
- Salt formation on plaster
- Flaky or bubbling plaster
- Rotting skirting boards and flooring
- Damp, musty or earthy smells
- Rusted iron or steel fasteners
- Crumbling brickwork and mortar
If these signs occur in your home or workspace, identifying and correcting the issue at its source is essential for preventing any long-term structural damage from developing. With help from professionals who specialise in the remediation of rising damp, you should have no trouble getting it sorted out quickly and efficiently.
How to prevent rising damp
Rising damp presents a difficult challenge when it comes to home maintenance, however, there are a few helpful steps you can take to prevent damp from happening in the first place.
To start, it’s important to make sure that your external walls have been treated with waterproof render or paint so moisture won’t be able to pass through. In addition, it’s a good idea to also ensure that all gutters and downpipes are clear of debris and remain well-maintained. This step is vital as any blockages could result in water gathering against the base of your property.
Finally, if necessary look into having your roof re-tiled or repaired, as moss, cracked tiles and other damage could allow rainwater to penetrate the foundations and cause rising damp inside.
The best treatments for rising damp
Rising damp can be an overwhelming problem that many homeowners find difficult to tackle. But the good news is, there are some great treatments and solutions available.
One of the best ways to prevent rising damp is a chemical damp-proof course, which works by forming a barrier to protect walls from water intrusion and moisture. Damp proof courses are standard in all new builds and have been since 1875, so homes built before this could be vulnerable. However, it’s worth noting that damp-proof courses can fail, so just because your home has one, it doesn’t mean it is immune to damp issues.
Alternatively, you could try a membrane system – also known as tanking – which involves putting durable plastic sheets into wall cavities and plastering over them. This will create an effective waterproof barrier while still allowing the walls to breathe. This is commonly used in basements and cellars during a conversion.
Can rising damp spread?
Yes, rising damp can spread throughout your property and into adjoining properties. This is why it is vital to intervene at the first signs of damp in your home. The issue many homeowners face is that the damp isn’t visible immediately, because it is contained to less visible areas in your home.
If you notice a damp smell in your property, it’s important to look for signs of damp and mould and then investigate this further. While damp can be caused by condensation and poor circulation in the home, it could also be a structural issue that needs to be addressed.
What can happen if I ignore rising damp?
Ignoring rising damp is not a wise move. While you might be able to keep on top of the cosmetic issues related to rising damp, the underlying issue cannot be addressed by simply cleaning the mould. Instead, you need to take steps to stop the rising damp from spreading before addressing the cosmetic issues.
Homeowners often find that their home will remain damp, even after correcting the damp-proof course or installing tanking. This is because the moisture is already trapped in the structure. You’ll need to focus on good ventilation and install dehumidifiers to help draw out the moisture before you address things like peeling plaster or paintwork.
How long does it take to stop rising damp?
The process of istallaing a damp proof course can be completed in around 3-4 days, and you’ll then need to wait for the property to dry out before completing any remedial and decorative work. If you act quickly, the problem will be easier to fix than if you leave it to spread and get worse. If the rising damp has caused structural problems, then this will need to be addressed, and this could take much longer.