There are a few problems that homeowners and property owners don’t want an expert to tell that they have. One of them is rising damp but it is a problem that can affect almost any property due to one of a number of reasons. So how do you spot the signs of rising damp and know when it is time to contact a damp expert to deal with the problem?
Why rising damp occurs?
The bricks of homes and buildings are under constant assault from water. There’s the water in the ground, known as groundwater, then there is the rain and other sources of precipitation that deposit more water on the walls and the ground around properties. While this might not seem like too much of a problem, the issue is that bricks and stone are somewhat porous – meaning it naturally absorbs water.
In the normal course of things, bricks absorb some water then the rain stops or the groundwater level goes back to normal. The sun causes evaporation of this water and the problem stops. And to prevent the water gaining access to the property, something called a damp proof course is used.
What is a damp proof course?
You can often spot the damp proof course (DPC) in your home without realising what it is. Look at the bricks around a foot or two from the ground and you will see a fine black line – that is the damp proofing course in your property. Sometimes you might not be able to spot it but that doesn’t mean it is missing – damp proof companies can easily assess that you have a course in place and that it is working.
Most of the time, this DPC acts as an impenetrable barrier that stops the progress of that water until it evaporates. Like a dam stopping a river, the DPC prevents the excess water from being absorbed by bricks above a certain level of your home until the water levels drop back to normal. However, if the DPC is missing or doesn’t work properly, then you can end up with a problem known as rising damp.
The problem of rising damp
Put simply, rising damp is when the DPC doesn’t work or isn’t present and the water continues to be absorbed up into the walls of the home. It can also get into the plaster work of the interior of your home and this is where conditions such as mould can begin.
Rising damp increases the moisture levels in the home and this can lead to the decay of any timbers in the building. Damp timbers also allow conditions such as wet and dry rot to gain a foothold. If you haven’t encountered dry rot, any damp expert will tell you that it is a potentially destructive type of mould that can affect wood, metal and other materials throughout the entire house if left unchecked.
Signs of rising damp
So how do you spot rising damp and know it is time to call out one of those damp proof companies? One of the classic signs is called damp staining or tide marks. These look a bit like you have had a flood with dark marks on walls. Peeling wallpaper and deteriorating skirting boards can also indicate that damp is rising unchecked from the ground. As water evaporates, it leaves behind salts and these can also leave marks on the walls that indicate a problem with damp. Finally, the most serious sign is black mould – those black spots that appear on walls when they are damp and the mould can grow in perfect condition.
If you spot any signs of rising damp or anything that might indicate you have a damp problem, you should call damp experts such as Tapco HomeDry as soon as possible to stop the problem progressing.