the penetrating damp has seeped through to the inside of the house and caused the paint to peel away

What is penetrating damp? Penetrating Damp Signs & Treatment

What is penetrating damp?

One of the most common problems in the buildings of South England is dampness. It can damage much more than just the appearance of the property. It can lead to deterioration of masonry and plaster, decays timber, and create an unhealthy atmosphere for the habitants. Unfortunately, improper treatments for damp can cause greater harm to old properties. 

There are many types of damp, including rising damp, penetrating damp, and condensation. Penetrating or lateral damp is a very common problem encountered by the property owners of the UK. If you suspect that your building is suffering from damp and you might need penetrating damp treatment solutions, then you come to the right place to seek answers. This type of damp is caused due to external defects in your building. Sadly, it can result in internal problems as well in your property with visible signs of damages done by damp. 

Before discussing the treatment for penetrating damp, let’s take a quick look at penetrating damp for a better understanding. 

What is penetrating damp?

When water passes through a wall and into your home, piercing all the barriers or protective coatings damaging the inner side of the house or any building, it is known as penetrating damp.

Furthermore, it can also arise when rainwater penetrates a masonry wall’s materials due to outer damages or over a cavity wall, such as rubble or insulation. Penetrating damp occurs when there is a defect in the property or when stone or brick walls have degraded so much that they become porous and permits water ingress to pass via the external walls into the building. 

Lateral or penetrating dampness is destructive and disturbing for you and your property. It occurs due to numerous reasons and affects many parts of your building. You can see it on your ceilings, roof, walls, and other places in your home.

ultimate guide to penetrating damp
ultimate guide to penetrating damp

Signs of penetrating damp?

The most common signs of penetrating damp are:

  • Damp patches on ceilings or walls 
  • Wet and crumbly plaster
  • Damp stains on external walls
  • Drips and puddles
  • Spores or black mould that is isolated to one area

Causes of penetrating damp

Several sources can cause penetrating damp:

  • Water leaking or seeping through the walls
  • Broken or blocked gutters
  • Damaged wall bricks that lose their weatherproof defence
  • Various structural issues in the property 
  • Old bricks allow problematic water ingress
  • Cracks and openings in walls
  • Cracks or holes in windows or door frames
  • Missing or broken roof tiles
  • Damp, musty smell
water ingress through brick wall causing white stain

What damages can penetrating damp do?

It is extremely dangerous to any house or building, even when it doesn’t pierce through a roof or wall. Moreover, the problem doesn’t stop here. If not treated timely, it can cause other severe issues such as wet rot and dry rot, musty smell in your home, soggy plasterwork, heat loss, and many other damages on the outdoor and indoor of your home or building.

Is it dangerous for our health?

The recognisable musty smell and look of damp may be unpleasant, but the health effects of penetrating damp are minimal if dealt with quickly. However, it is not healthy for people to reside in damp conditions for a long time, and the problem needs to be resolved immediately. If you are experiencing severe penetrating damp issues, this can lead to condensation and the development of black mould, which can cause serious health issues such as allergies. These black mould spots look ugly and attract germs and microbes to your place. All these uninvited guests can cause health issues.

Is it Possible to Identify Penetrating Damp?

Identifying penetrating damp is simple. First, you will see some wet brownish watermarks or spots on the areas affected by this type of dampness. Generally, these are separate from windows, floors, and ceilings. Moreover, you can contact damp specialists, and they can conduct damp surveys. They have a damp detector, and the affected areas will show high readings.

The damp spots or patches will continue to grow if water continues to seep in the wall, and it will prevail more in rainy conditions. You might also see the growth of mould when your place is suffering from penetrating damp. However, this also depends on your location and conditions. Besides, another thing to keep in mind is that there is no salt in penetrating damp.

complete wall is suffering from penetrating damp and mould
Tips to stop damp and mould

How can you treat Penetrating Damp?

The essential step in penetrating damp treatment is identifying and rectifying the source of water ingress. Therefore, it is advised to call for an extensive damp survey by the professionals. After analysing the source penetrating damp, experts can discuss various property techniques to resolve the issue. 

It mostly depends on the severity and also on the location of the affected property. But without a doubt, the perfect solution for all the problems that cause penetrating dampness is the traditional repair methods such as re-pointing affected areas, fixing cracks, and replacing leaking pipes and drainages.

For old buildings, traditional materials work the best such as lime mortars. However, most penetrating damp cases can be treated by using the latest technologies and methods in present times.

In short, you can treat the penetrating damp!

Furthermore, there are main points of water ingress that are not good for any building, which are:

  • Porous brickwork
  • Defective pointing
  • Cracks and openings
  • Faulty rainwater disposal

So, it is vital to keep all these areas in good condition and attend if any dampening issues arise, treat them thoroughly as early as possible.

You will also find many external penetrating damp treatments on the market, such as cladding of external walls and various water-repellent treatments. However, these methods are not permanent and only used to hide the problem rather than eliminate the dampness source. Further, these also decrease the impermeability of walls that can increase the moisture level inside the building or walls.

Besides, there are various breathable treatments on the market for the damp, but again these are temporary, and it is essential to address the source of the problem.

damp damage on exterior wall. The wall is having work done to remove the plaster and install a damp treatment

What is the estimated cost to fix penetrating damp issues?

The cost of treating penetrating damps depends on the severity of the problems and the size of the affected area. If the problem is caused due to porous building material, it can be treated with damp protection creams. It can below for a minor repair and much higher for professional jobs. The fixing or repairing cost also depends on what types of fixing are required; there is no single fix for all penetrating damp problems. The fixes can be:

  • Changing brickwork or replacing bricks
  • Minor re-pointing
  • Small fixing of leaking pipes

As stated above, find the source of the problem, then determine what type of fixing you need and only then you will be able to conclude the estimated cost for the problem. The estimated cost to fix penetrating damp issues also depends on the extent of the damages. Generally, it is seen that roofs and ceilings are more expensive than the others.

You can contact our damp experts today and ask for a survey. Then, they will visit your place, conduct a thorough analysis, and inform you regarding the estimated penetrating damp treatment cost. 

If you have any questions about damp, talk to our experts today or leave a comment below. 

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