Exterior view of house and garden covered in a thick layer of snow

Can Snow Cause Damp?

17 January 2023

Damp is a leading cause of property care issues in the UK, as you might expect with the amount of rainfall that the country receives literally all year round.

What many people might not understand though is the impact that snowfall can have on the damp levels in your properties walls, and how it can effect your properties overall health.

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Can Snow Cause Damp in My Home?

The short answer: yes. Snow is just frozen water, and once melted it is going to behave just like regular rainfall might when on the ground near and around your property.

This means that if there is any level of snow on the ground around your property, then you may be at risk of having that snow  potential damp problem. This might happen in a few different ways, but as soon as the temperature rises and the snow begins to melt you might begin to see damp appear in your walls.

What you might not realise though is that snow might not cause the tell-tale damp patches to appear in your property immediately.

As long as the snow is frozen, the moisture isn’t going to be absorbed into your property as readily as rain might be. That means that whilst you might notice some small damp patches in your properties walls when the snow is falling, or fresh on the ground, but you aren’t going to see the full extent of it in your walls until it begins to melt.

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How Can Snow Cause Damp?

As we mentioned, snow might melt down into water which in turn enters a properties walls and turns into damp after it falls. That’s the simple explanation, but how exactly does snow turn into a damp problem?

Snow Causing Rising Damp

Rising damp on external brickwork of cottage

The first way in which you might see snow cause damp is via what’s called rising damp. Usually, rising damp is found in properties that aren’t protected by a damp proof course – or in properties where the damp proof course has failed.

Rising damp is a form of damp which is caused when moisture enters a properties walls or foundations at or below ground level, and then through a process called capillary action, this moisture travels upwards through the buildings walls and turning into the recognisable damp patches you may be familiar with.

This also means that you are never going to find rising damp on a second floor, as the moisture needs to rise up from the ground. In fact, one of rising damps most recognisable traits is that it never rises more than about a meter above ground level.

How might snow contribute to rising damp though?

Well, when the snow on the ground melts that new liquid is going to have to travel somewhere. In many cases, this might be down into the ground, and towards your properties walls or foundations. In this instance, what was once snow has now become the moisture which causes rising damp to appear.

Snow Causing Penetrating Damp

Penetrating damp on walls outside a home

 

Penetrating damp might seem like the same thing as rising damp, but realistically they are quite different.

The main way that penetrating damp and rising damp differ is in how they occur. Penetrating damp, unlike rising damp, can happen anywhere within your properties walls. The method through which the moisture enters your properties walls could be down to any number of defects or failures in the weatherproofing of your property.

Leaky gutters, blocked drains, bowed or failed lintels – all are potential ways in which moisture might find its way into your property.

So, if you notice that following a snowfall that areas of your property have started to develop damp patches, or that damp patches are noticeably growing following snow, you may well have a penetrating damp problem.

For example, if you have a blocked drain outside your property you may find that the walls around the drain become damp when the snow begins to melt, and cannot drain away properly. This is penetrating damp, and it won’t disappear from your property until the flaw allowing the damp into the wall is taken care of.

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Need a survey? call 0800 288 8660 or

How To Stop Snow from Causing Damp

Engineer applying damp proof course to exterior wall

When it comes to stopping snow from causing damp there are a couple of options available to you.

First, there is the instance of rising damp. When it comes to rising damp, you are going to need a PCA accredited surveyor to come out and check your property to see how your damp proof course is holding up, if it exists, or if you need to have it mended or installed.

This will, in most cases, stop the damp from rising up into your property.

When it comes to penetrating damp though, the solution might be a little more complicated. Once the surveyor has inspected your property and discovered what it is that’s letting the melted snow into your property, they will produce a report that outlines the actions you will need to take to make sure that your property is protected.

Of course, if your property is protected from the likes of melted snow causing damp, it goes without saying that it will also be protected from rain and other external sources of moisture causing damp.

So, whilst it is true that snow can cause damp to appear in your property, you don’t have to worry because the damp can be remedied. Just get in touch with our team, and we can see about setting you up with a survey to help eliminate damp in your property.