Treating Rising Damp
What is Rising Damp?
Rising damp is the term used for the movement of water from the ground rising up through the outer walls of the building via capillary action.
It is a particular problem in older buildings where the damp proof course (DPC) has become damaged or when the ground level around the house has been raised by the addition of a path or driveway.
Dampness in the house isn’t necessarily caused by rising damp as there may be another source of water that you are unaware of causing the problem. This is why it is important to contact a fully qualified surveyor so a full rising damp inspection and treatment can be carried out.
Branch Manager and Waterproofing Design Specialist CSRT CSSW
What The Causes of Rising Damp
If your property is not protected by a rising damp barrier (otherwise known as a damp proof course or DPC) then rising damp is more than likely going to occur at some point.
Rising damp occurs by drawing moisture from the ground via capillary action. The moisture will only reach a certain height though approx. 1 meter.
Salt deposits may be found higher in the wall, this is as a result of the use of paints, vinyl wallpapers and tanking systems.
Rising damp can occur as a result of groundwater finding its way into your home through brickwork or stonework.
This ground water contains soluble salts, which deposit on the interior and exterior walls of the property. In turn, these salts draw moisture from the atmosphere giving a permanently damp feeling to the wall.
Most groundwater contains small quantities of salts which are, in most cases, at an acceptable level.
What Problems Does Rising Damp Cause?
Rising water causes problems of decorative spoiling and especially rot in skirtings, floor joists, floorboards and wall plates where present. Significantly, ground water salts will be deposited within the masonry and the surfaces especially plasters and decorative finishes.
Most groundwater only contains very small quantities of salts at levels which are generally at an acceptable level.
However, as the water rises within the wall these salts are carried up into the wall and left behind as the water evaporates. Over, say, periods in excess of 50 years the continual water rise and evaporation cause these salts to build up to quite significant quantities.
And here is where a further problem with long term rising damp occurs. A proportion of the salts are hygroscopic. This means that they can absorb water from the air.
In some cases, these salts are concentrated to such levels that sufficient water is absorbed from the air to cause contaminated finishes to appear damp.
This will cause future problems in that if the rising damp is stopped, materials may still remain damp solely due to the hygroscopic nature of the contaminated material. Any decorative finish applied to such contaminated substrates would almost certainly spoil with time.
If rising damp starts to affect the timber structures of your building then one of the outcomes that can be caused is dry rot. Dry rot is a wood rotting fungi that can spread throughout your property causing damage to the structural integrity of the building.
How to Identify Rising Damp?
There are certain checks that can be made by yourself without the assistance of a damp surveyor.
The simple procedure of looking and running your hands around the suspected rising damp areas will allow you to identify a rising damp problem. The typical signs for spotting rising damp include the following:
- Horizontal brown or discloured marks to be seen up to 1 meter in height on interior walls. These will be damp to touch and otherwise known as ‘Tide Marks’
- Plaster will bubble and peel away from the interior walls
- Wooden beading and skirting boards will become brittle and eventually show the signs of deterioration
- Mould on walls
- Walls will feel damp when touched
Still unsure on identifying the signs of rising damp then get in touch with Timberwise where our expert team of surveyors can provide you with the right treatments to eradicate any damp problems you may have. Call 0800 288 8660 or request a property survey by clicking the link below.
Types of Rising Damp Treatment
Any form of rising damp must be stopped at the source to be sure that the damp problem is fully rectified.
Carrying our quick fixes will only cover up the issue for a short-term period and therefore make it more expensive for you to solve in the long term.
To solve the issue of rising damp in your property you may require the installation of a damp proof course. For a professional rising damp treatment service, Timberwise will provide an experienced surveyor who will visit your property and outline potential damp proofing treatments and costs.
- Rising Damp Survey- Treating rising damp should be carried out by a specialist surveyor. Having a surveyor who has the experience and knowledge of damp will inspect the property for all damp issues and provide the best rising damp treatments for your property.
- DryTek Damp Proofing Injection Cream- The DryTek Damp Proofing System is a unique product to Timberwise, this damp proof injection cream is applied into old brick and stonework structures and into granite boulder walls.
This creates a barrier that moisture cannot pass, the cream will tend to fill any fine cracks and this forms a solid plug. This product comes complete with a 20 year guarantee giving complete peace of mind.
- Damp Proof Course- Most modern properties are often built with a damp proof course installed, usually in the form of an impermeable plastic membrane, which is placed along a mortar line near the ground. Older properties, however, are often built with no damp-proof course, or the original course has failed over the duration. If your property is in need of a damp proof course there are a number of methods that our team of qualified technicians can implement. We provide a variety of damp proofing systems to suit different property requirements, for example; a property constructed with stone may require an electro-osmosis system, whereas a property with brickwork construction may require a pressure injection.
- Injection Mortar- This grouting type of material is ideal for many applications, particularly where a good sized bedjoint is in evidence. The damp proofing agent is carried into the porous mortar beds and rubble by the rising damp, where it crystallises to form an impermeable barrier to control subsequent water rise.
- Timberwise EOS (Electro Osmosis System)- The Electro-Osmosis System introduces a very small electric current into the wall just above the ground level. The current repels rising moisture back down the wall. As long as the charge is maintained the walls will remain dry and free of damp.
For more information visit Electro Osmotic Damp Proofing page.
What is the Cost Of Treating Rising Damp?
“How much does rising damp cost to treat?” It is perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions by homeowners with a damp issue. The cost of damp proofing is subjective to a number of variables including; property size, location and accessibility.
The type of damp proofing system to be installed also has an effect on cost. Physically replacing the injected damp proof course is a very difficult process that would definitely involve large amounts of structural work taking place – for that reason, the most common and cost effective treatment for rising damp is to install what is known as a chemical damp proof course (See our DryTek Damp Proofing System above) or dependent on the situation an electro osmotic damp proofing system.
What Happens If Rising Damp Is Left Untreated?
If rising damp is left untreated then it can lead to serious issues with the structural integrity of your property. If you left, the rising damp problem will worsen and the cost of damp proofing will only continue to rise.
Any decoration that you have added to your home, such as wallpapering and plastering, will deteriorate increasing the costs further. If you are in the process of selling your home a damp issue makes the process longer for you and delay a sale.
Can Rising Damp Cause Health Issues?
This question is one that is asked by many customers. In many cases if treated in good time then damp won’t be a concern for your health.
If left unchecked it can lead to other issues forming, such as mould, that can have implications on health. Having a damp smell in your property isn’t pleasing and the health risks aren’t a real issue.
How to Prevent Rising Damp?
Most of the modern buildings in the UK have a damp proof course which can act as a barrier water penetration. However, there are some cases where there is damage that affects the building and damp can become a problem. All the external masonry, guttering and rainwater pipes should be properly maintained.
There should be regular checks for signs of dampness on internal surfaces on the ground floor surfaces and skirting boards.
Checks should also be made on ensuring that external roofs, gutters and roof pipes should be free from debris as much as possible. All air vents must be free from obstruction to allow air to flow freely out of the building.
Need the assistance of a Rising Damp Specialist?
The age-old problem of damp is not an issue for our rising damp specialists. From seeing the initial tell tales signs of damp patches and stains that appear on the walls to the salts forming on the brickwork outside, property owners know there is only one name they need to know to solve their rising damp problems, Timberwise can help! Need a survey? Find out how our Timberwise surveyors carry out a damp proofing survey.
With over 50 years of experience in the installation of damp proof courses, and having eradicated rising damp problems in thousands of homes, you can trust Timberwise’s damp proofing solutions to remove your damp problem for good.
Utilising the most up-to-date methods, Timberwise offers a long-term guarantee to give you complete peace of mind that your rising damp will be a thing of the past.