Rising damp Treatment & Services

What is rising damp? Many people talk about rising damp as though it was the plague. Granted, it is one of the most controversial types of damp you’ll ever encounter; a debate is something we’d instead not get into, at least in the interest of keeping this article informative.

To start with, if you think that your home or place of business may have a rising damp issue, then this is where you will learn more about it. This article will help you identify signs of rising damp, understand its causes, and how best to deal with it. A big part of this guide goes over identifying signs of rising damp and how it differs from other damp-related issues.

We will also talk about how a rising damp survey works and why you might want to consider getting it even if you think your structure is damp-proof.

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damp and mould on walls and showing black stains and badly affected skirting board
Pink paint has cracked and been blown becuase of underlying damp problems in the walls


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What is Rising damp?

Over the years, we’ve discovered that most people have no idea what rising damp is, despite them hearing a lot about it. It is a rare form of damp invading a few walls and buildings. It generally occurs when moisture is soaked up from the ground and gradually travels up the walls. It follows the same principle we were taught in high school, referred to as capillary action, in which case, the tiny channels in the bricks serve as capillaries. Since the water is mainly groundwater, it will contain salt, which travels with it through the walls.

The affected wall is just one area this can affect because the damp can just as easily travel through other materials such as plasterwork and even the timber in the skirtings, floorboards and joists. As the water gets absorbed into these materials, it leads to rot, especially in areas where wood is used.

Most times, the first signs of rising damp can be seen via the internal walls of a structure. The first things to start deteriorating are the wallpaper and plaster, which starts to get loose. If you’ve painted the walls, then the paint starts peeling off. You may also experience that characteristic rising damp smell, which you’d know if you’ve smelt it before.

As the paint starts to peel off, you’ll see a visible stain on the wall, a so-called tide mark forms where the groundwater has penetrated. In addition, you’ll see signs of salts around the surface. This is a sure sign of rising damp and often what causes paints and plaster work to peel off. We have dedicated a section in this article that details how to spot rising damp. 

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Advanced Damp offer Specialist rising damp treatment and comprehensive damp protection for your home!

experienced rising damp experts

What causes rising damp?

Well, there can be multiple reasons for rising damp in your structure. Most buildings today have some barrier installed, especially at the ground level, to prevent water from rising up. This so-called damp proof course or DPC is made from water-repelling materials like bitumen, slate and plastic. The materials used as DPC may vary depending on when the structure was built. However, it isn’t entirely unheard of for the DPC to fail after a few years or decades. Moreover, older homes may not have a DPC layer, evident from chronic rising damp issues, because there is nothing to prevent water from rising up the wall. 

At times the DPC may continue to be intact, but it could have been bridged by penetrating damp. So, the damp bypasses the DPC from the ground and travels up the walls. Usually, this is caused by a construction fault.

Common reasons for damp bypassing the DPC include:

·      The existence of debris in the subfloor and wall cavity

·      Rising external ground levels above the DPC layer

·      The use of external renders and internal renders which overlap the DPC

·      Using the wrong insulation material in the gaps

·      Having intersecting masonry structures

complete wall is suffering from penetrating damp and mould
Rising Damp patches on internal walls

The internet calls rising damp a myth

It is one of the most fiercely debated things on the internet in this industry. Some people on one side of the aisle argue that rising damp exists, while others say it does not. This long-standing debate has, over the years, carried over from the offline world online. To answer the question of whether rising damp is real, start with an understanding of how it differs from other types of damp. This debate has raged on for as long as it has because rising damp is commonly misdiagnosed.

Yes rising damp specialists, get it wrong. Many inexperienced surveyors and underqualified professionals misdiagnose the issue. Thus when this diagnosis is incorrect, the subsequent treatment fails, and therefore the homeowner is stuck with a resurgence of rising damp.

Misdiagnosing The Issue

The issue of rising damp is often misdiagnosed, with it being labelled condensation. When this is diagnosed as condensation, the remedy used does not work. However, the PCA has some good advice about this in the Code of Practice for the Investigation and Control of Damp in Buildings.

According to the advice offered, the best way to differentiate between regular damp and rising damp is to compare the amount of moisture in masonry samples. These samples are best collected from mortar deep within the wall and near the surface. If the issue is caused by surface condensation, samples from deep within the wall shouldn’t be damp.

If you have not seen rising damp before, then a Google search of rising damp images should help you spot similar issues in your home.

There are instances where the diagnosis was correct, but the contractor didn’t treat the problem correctly. In our experience, incorrect treatment is down to not being able to inject DPC cream into the area correctly. Keep in mind that if DPC cream is not installed correctly, it will not work as it should, which means the problem does not go away for long. Regardless, you will be highly dissatisfied with the outcome.

In our years of experience, rising damp certainly exists and affects many homes. It is and can often be a severe problem that, if not addressed in time, can cause long-term damage, which is more expensive to repair.

Internal walls damaged by rising damp

The internal walls are one of the first places most people will notice being affected by rising damp. The most prominent sign is the tide mark on the interior walls, up to where the water reached. Usually, these tide marks stains will appear around two meters above the skirting board. However, there are rare instances where water would rise higher than this point. 

Signs of rising damp can also be seen on external walls. Though its only that most people may not notice it right away.

The height at which the water reaches depends on multiple factors. Some of the factors include the pore structure of the mortar and bricks, as well as the rate of evaporation. Also, masonry with a high number of fine pores helps water to rise compared to masonry with fewer pores. The issue of rising damp can happen for up to 1.5 meters and, in rare instances, higher. 

Since water from the ground will often carry salts, these are left behind on the wall when water evaporates. The salts are what cause the paint and wallpaper to bubble. What’s left behind is a deposit of fluffy mass which is salt. However, there are two primary types of salts, sulphates, which lead to crusty patches, and then there are hygroscopic salts called chlorides and nitrates. The problem with hygroscopic salts is that they make matters worse by drawing in more moisture. Thus the issue needs to be addressed right away.

damp company removing damp plaster from wall after damp proofing

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Signs of rising damp

While it is a relatively rare form of damp, it must be correctly diagnosed. That’s why if you are a homeowner that suspects a problem, get it diagnosed by a qualified professional like a surveyor. Sometimes it would be worth getting a second opinion. The surveyor should perform an analysis of the salts to diagnose the problem.

Below is a list of all the common signs of rising damp: 

·      Clearly visible tide marks on the walls

·      Patches on the wall that feel damp. The masonry may also be wet to the touch

·      Peeling wallpaper, stained wall coverings and blistering paint

·      Discolouration and fragmenting plaster

·      The musty smell of damp aka rising damp smell

·      Decaying floorboards, skirting boards, and other areas

Treating rising damp

Treating rising camp can be tricky, but using a damp proofing injection cream tube is the prevailing method. This cream needs to be carefully injected. You can choose from kits to cartridges of the cream from top brands like Aida and Kiesol C. 

The remedial damp-proof cream is then injected or sometimes pumped into holes drilled into the mortar course. After the cream has been applied, it will revert to liquid form. In this form, the liquid effectively penetrates the brick, ensuring complete absorption of the formula. As the cream continues to cure, it will create a vital water-repelling barrier.

Sometimes installing a damp-proof membrane is a better option. This then works as a damp-proof course. The process involved is much more complex and often requires removing every brick along the mortar course and installing a physical damp-proof membrane.  

When there is evidence of rising damp, the wallpaper and plaster need to be removed, so you’re down to the substrate. Then the waterproofing needs to be applied to the external wall.

You want to ensure that the existing DPC has yet to be bridged before injecting fresh remedial damp-proof course. The key to treating rising damp is to carry out the damp injection process precisely as it should, which means getting into position.

Treating rising damp on internal walls requires experience and knowledge to ensure that DPC is correctly installed, because if not it will not be effective.

rising damp internal wall damage. Wall is showing flaking paint and bad defects
a ground level wall has bad affects of damp, causing it to ruin paintwork

Who to hire to treat rising damp?

Installing the damp proof course

If you own a piece of property that is now a victim of rising damp, you will first have to have your suspicions confirmed via a professional diagnosis. A qualified surveyor can survey the area, take samples and determine if the problem is caused by rising damp. Suffice to say that the existence of salt deposits is a clue but can’t serve as a final diagnosis.

You will want to hire a surveyor that has professional qualifications such as:

Certified Surveyor in Remedial Treatments (CSRT) – This qualification comprises around three modules, including an entire module on damp. These professionals can determine and treat rising damp effectively.

Certified Surveyor in Structural Waterproofing (CSSW) – It is a qualification needed for those hired to diagnose the problem relating to water getting into the structure from the subterranean level. In addition, these professionals can help with addressing the issue.

Final Word

Even though rising damp is rare, many people have encountered it at least once during their time owning property. The older the property, the higher the odds it suffers from the issue.

The best way to treat it is to call professionals like us. We can diagnose and address the problem so that it does not bother you again. However, the sooner you call us, the sooner we can mitigate further damage to your property. Salt-contaminated plaster is the least of your worries because the affected walls could start crumbling if the issue isn’t addressed in time.

Call our team today, to examine the interior and exterior walls, after which we will provide you with the best solution all things considered.

Understanding The Rising Damp On internal walls?

Most properties built in the UK have a barrier known as DPC (damp proof course) placed at the lower level preventing water from rising and damp patches on internal walls. A DPC is made of water-resistant non-absorbent materials like plastic, bitumen, and slate based on the time when the building was made. 

With time these DPCs might fail, whereas in older buildings, they may not even exist. If your DPC has been damaged or if there is no DPC, then nothing can prevent water from travelling up your walls. 

Besides, your DPC might be bridged in the following ways:

  • Plaster directly connected to the solid floor at the bottom of the internal wall
  • Unsuitable insulation material in the wall cavity
  • Debris in the subfloor void or wall cavity
  • Solid floors
  • External ground levels being raised above the DPC

This problem is difficult to detect and resolve. Many people identify all damp issues as rising damp, but that’s not the case all time.

As stated above, rising damp in buildings rises from the ground floor/level in an upward direction and then penetrates the brickworks of a wall via the capillary action.

The most effective way is to implement the Damp Proof Course (DPC) to cure rising damp. The method is long-lasting and works well. DCP creates a waterproof barrier implanted into a house’s wall about five to six inches above the surface.

 How to deal with rising damp on internal walls in the UK

An average UK home has to deal with a massive amount of rain during the year. With that, it’s hardly surprising to see the damp in the buildings. Unfortunately, many people won’t admit or understand that their property has a damp problem until the rising damp patches start showing clear signs on the internal walls.

Rising damp and penetrating damp can both affect your home’s internal walls. Penetrating damp on inner walls occurs when water penetrates the building through cracks and openings in the walls or it occurs due to any structural defect in the property. 

If you see damp patches on your walls rising from the ground level in an upward direction or you see any powdery deposits on walls, then these are the signs of rising damp.

Rising damp is a form of damp that damages the walls of the property in an upwards motion from the ground. When the water from the ground rises via the walls due to capillary action, rising damp occurs. The water that is sucked up also has salts that travel through the walls.

It is noticed by the building’s damaged internal walls. The rising damp occurs mostly due to a broken or nonappearance of a damp-proof course in the building’s structure. If you reside in an apartment above the ground level, your property will not suffer from the rising damp problems because the damp rises from the ground level.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to identify the actual type of damp by just seeing damp on internal walls or crumbly plaster. Similarly, you cannot identify the main source of water ingress into the property in most cases. That’s why it is recommended to consult damp specialists or water ingress service providers to resolve and determine the cause of rising damp on internal walls.

How to know if your house has rising damp?

If you are stressed about rising damp patches on the internal walls, there are some signs that you can look out for and find solutions to treat damp walls internally. It includes:

  • Tide salt marks on walls or fluffy white deposits.
  • Black damp patches on walls with a mouldy smell. Black patches mean that the brickwork is actually wet from the inside and not just the plaster.
  • Discoloured or crumbled plaster. You might also see cracking wallpaper and paint on the bottom side of the walls especially when warm moist air rises up the walls and cools on the wall’s top.
  • Musty smells are significant signs of damp.
  • Discolouration and black patches.
  • The weakening of mortar joints.
  • Damp wall
  • Damaged skirting boards

Damp patches are not always noticeable on internal walls, and in some cases, your property can be affected by hidden damp. So, keep an eye on the following symptoms.

  • When you sense a mouldy/earthy odour in your place.
  • Your home suffers from regular condensation.
  • Your house feels humid.

How to Fix Rising Damp patches on Internal Walls?

Rising damp is a serious concern, and if left untreated, it leads to structural damage. In addition, it can destroy your flooring, plaster, and decorative finishes. It also accompanies the smell and makes it unpleasant to live in such an environment. 

However, you can treat rising damp on the inner walls. It is advised that only damp professionals perform preventative tasks.

Improve the drainage system where your property is situated. Ensure that the nearby surface slopes away from your home. Besides, also make sure that there is enough space for excess moisture to fade away from the ground.

Once correct damp course installations have taken place, you can help prevent damp patches on internal walls by re-painting walls using mould-resistant paint. These paints create another damp-proofing barrier for walls that prevent damp, condensation, and mould growth.

When you see signs of rising damp on internal walls, it is better to remove wallpaper and plaster the bricks again. It is also advised to do the same on your property’s external walls.

Lastly, you must check that the DPC course has not been bridged before implementing a new damp proofing course. Treating rising damp on internal walls with an injection process works in most cases. Contact our damp proof treatment experts, they can carry out a damp survey for you and discuss all the possible options for remedial treatment of your internal damp patches.

 How Effective Is A Chemical DPC?

As mentioned earlier in this read, chemical damp proofing or chemical injections are very useful to treat the rising damp problem on any property, provided they are installed correctly. They are effective methods of lining the pores of a masonry wall along with a water-repellent silicone resin.

In modern times, many formulations are effective and provide a long-term solution for the said problem. Apart from DPC, you will also find various creams that provide and prevent rising damp issues.

Re-Plaster the Wall after Treating the Rising Damp

After injecting the new DPC into your internal walls, it is always advised to plaster the affected wall or area. It is because your existing plasterwork may contain hygroscopic salts, and these salts can attract moisture. So, it is better to remove old plaster from the wall. 

You can hire a plasterer to re-plaster the wall to a precise specification. It will prevent problems arising due to salt contamination.

Who Treats Damp Problems in your home?

If you suspect or see symptoms of rising damp on your property, then we will advise you to confirm your doubts with a damp specialist. In addition, you can seek help from a qualified and registered damp surveyor, rising damp treatment expert, or Preservation Company that deals with such issues.

In most cases, the surveyor carries out a rising damp survey in your home. Then, after detailed analysis, it recommends an action plan and appropriate damp-proof treatment as per their findings.

If possible, check for the following qualifications when acquiring the services of any damp treatment expert of the company:

  • Certificated Surveyor in Remedial Treatments (CSRT) is a qualification for examiners and surveyors in the remedial home industry. The qualification includes three different modules, with one about damp. 
  • Certificated Surveyor in Structural Waterproofing (CSSW) – It is a qualification for those involved in identifying issues with water penetrating the structures, and these recommend design solutions.

Rising Damp FAQs

If you're dealing with rising damp in your home, you probably have a lot of questions. Our FAQs page is here to help! We've gathered some of the most common questions about rising damp and provided straightforward answers to help you understand the causes, effects, and solutions for this frustrating problem. Whether you're a homeowner, a landlord, or a tenant, our FAQs page can help you get the information you need to deal with rising damp effectively.

  • Are there any health risks associated with rising damp?

    Yes, there are several health risks associated with rising damp. Rising damp is a condition where moisture from the ground travels up through the walls of a building due to capillary action. This can lead to respiratory problems, allergies and asthma.
  • What are the best treatment options for rising damp?

    The best treatment options for rising damp depend on the specific situation and the extent of the problem. However, some common and effective treatments are damp proof course, damp proof injection, improving ventilation, repairing the building, internal and external waterproofing, installing a French drain plastering
  • How much does it typically cost to fix rising damp problems?

    The cost of fixing rising damp problems can vary significantly depending on the issue’s extent, the property’s size, the treatment method used, and local labour rates. It is good to get an assessment from the damp specialists and ask for a quote depending on the specific situation.

Rising damp is a form of dampness caused by the upward movement of moisture from the ground into walls and floors. It occurs when moisture from the ground is drawn up through the porous building materials, such as bricks or masonry, by capillary action. This moisture can cause a range of problems, such as mould growth, rotting of wood, and damage to plaster or paintwork.

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Rising damp is caused by the capillary action of moisture moving through porous building materials, such as bricks or masonry, from the ground up. This can occur when there is a lack of a damp-proof course (DPC) or if an existing DPC has failed. Other factors that can contribute to rising damp include high ground levels, a lack of adequate ventilation, and leaks from pipes or gutters.

Rising damp can create an environment conducive to mould growth, which can cause respiratory problems, allergies, and other health issues. In addition, prolonged exposure to damp conditions can exacerbate existing health conditions, such as asthma or eczema.

Preventive measures include ensuring proper ventilation, fixing leaks, and installing a damp-proof course (DPC) to prevent moisture from entering the building. Ventilation can be improved by opening windows or installing air bricks, while leaks can be fixed by repairing damaged pipes or guttering. A DPC is a barrier made of materials such as plastic, bitumen, or slate, which is installed in walls or floors to prevent moisture from rising up.

The cost of fixing rising damp depends on the severity of the problem, the size of the affected area, and the treatment method used. It’s best to get a professional assessment and quote to determine the cost for your specific situation. In general, treatment costs can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

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