Help and Advice on Treating Penetrating Damp
Penetrating damp is the process of moisture being built up horizontally through walls of the building.
Often misdiagnosed as rising damp, penetrating damp can lead to further, more serious issues such as wood rot, increased heat loss, frost damage into masonry and unsightly water damage on both the outside and inside of a property.
Branch Manager and Waterproofing Design Specialist CSRT CSSW
What are the Causes of Penetrating Damp?
Penetrating damp is essentially water that has found its way through the fabric of a structure, usually because of an external defect. Defects come in various guises such as damaged rainwater goods (for example blocked gutters) defective pointing, porous masonry, faulty roof fabric or cracked and broken render.
When it rains, rainwater usually evaporates out of the brick / stone work. However, in certain circumstances, such as periods of heavy rainfall or when the property suffers from an external defect (as mentioned above), the moisture fails to evaporate and is allowed to pass through to the inner surface.
For further information check out the causes of penetrating damp page
Did You Know?
“One of the main causes of penetrating damp is the failure of a cast iron soil and rainwater pipes. This is often due to the rusting around the back of the pipe, due to the back been inaccessible it often proves difficult to paint and maintain the pipework.
This is can be a nightmare for properties as cast iron needs to be painted thoroughly to prevent rust forming. Once rust occurs, a penetrating damp problem is not far behind.”
How To Identify Penetrating Damp
Fortunately, there are several indicators which make identifying penetrating damp relatively easily. In particular you should look out for:
- A presence of a damp musty smell
- Damage to internal walls (skirting boards) or external (roofing)
- Patchy black mould appearing internally on walls
- Watermarks that may appear on the masonry
- Damaged timber as a result of the wood being saturated by damp (which could possibly have the potential of providing the ideal conditions for a wood rot fungus to germinate)
Is Cavity Wall Insulation a cause of Penetrating damp?
Cavity wall insulation is a popular method of improving the heat retention in your property however, there is a risk that it can also cause penetrating damp. The chances of cavity wall insulation causing penetrating damp are quite small but, it is something you should be aware of. According to Which? damp can penetrate the property due to the following factors:
• Home is not in a sheltered position e.g. not covered by buildings or trees
• The external walls are poorly constructed or have been poorly maintained e.g. cracks in the brickwork
• The property is exposed to high intensity winds e.g. properties located on the west coast of the UK.
If the cavity is fully insulated, then there is an increased chance of penetrating damp. This is due to moisture bridging the cavity from the insulation installed which will then penetrate through the inner walls of the house.
Can Penetrating Damp Cause Health Risks?
If the penetrating damp problem is sorted in an efficient amount of time, then you should not worry about the health effects of penetrating damp. As described earlier the main signs of penetrating damp are a musty smell and stains on the walls which, although they look unpleasant, are not a health risk.
Living with damp conditions is not ideal and damp problems should be sorted out as soon as possible. If you are suffering from severe penetrating damp problems then this can also lead to condensation issues occurring, with black mould being one of the symptoms.
How To Treat Penetrating Damp
The most important step in penetrating damp treatment is establishing and rectifying the source of moisture/ water ingress. It is more than likely that the cause of penetrating damp is down to property issues. There are on average five potential points of water ingress that can affect a property - even in new build properties.
- Defective pointing
- Porous brickwork
- Cracks in render
- Defective rainwater disposal goods
All of these areas must be kept in tip-top condition and any issues identified and problems rectified to prevent the masonry from becoming saturated.
Identifying if Masonry is Porous
When dealing with an issue such as penetrating damp it is best to leave it in the hands of the specialists. Firstly, your Timberwise surveyor will need to identify if your property is susceptible to dampness. Our trained surveyors can then perform a water-absorbancy test on the outside of your property. This simple test will give a clear indication of how porous the brickwork/stonework is. Our surveyors will then share their findings with you.
How is a Penetrating Damp Survey Carried Out?
It is important to have a specialist to provide a damp survey on your property for any penetrating damp issues you may have. Timberwise have surveyors are fully qualified by the Property Care Association. Our surveyors are CRST(Certified Surveyor in Remedial Treatment) qualified meaning they are highly trained in providing solutions to all forms of damp issues that could be affecting your property.
Once the damp inspection has been carried out by the surveyor they will provide a report on all the damp problems that were found during the survey. This will detail the causes of the issue and the treatments that are needed to rectify the penetrating damp problem.
Contact our Penetrating Damp Specialists
It is important that penetrating damp is identified as soon as possible to ensure that the property structurally isn’t severally damaged, call our penetrating damp specialists today on 0800 288 8660 to receive the right penetrating damp solutions or click the link below to arrange a survey online.
Alternatively, you can visit our damp proofing page for the types of treatments used by Timberwise to get rid of damp. Timberwise has over 5 decades of experience in identifying and providing treatments to damp using techniques.