Identifying the causes of rising damp can be challenging. It is not just because of the dampness itself, but also the damages it causes to the building. It is not just wood panelling and plasterwork that can be affected by it, but also other materials that may be at risk.
Often called the capillary effect, capillary action is the movement of ground water through masonry structures. It occurs in certain materials, such as brickwork, concrete, and even paper.
In general, the capillary effect is a consequence of the fact that water molecules have a higher adhesive force than air molecules. This means that water molecules are attracted to each other and the sides of the container.
Capillaries, as the name suggests, are fine elongated tubes with very small internal diameters. The diameter is determined by the porosity of the material. For example, standard bricks and mortar have large pores, allowing water to travel through them.
Depending on the property, penetrating damp can happen on any level of your home. It is caused by water ingress through building defects. To stop it from happening again, you need to find the cause and solve it. Use the housing disrepair calculator to calculate the compensation amount that you may win.
It’s common for damp problems to be found inside walls, especially in older properties. However, modern properties can also be affected. If you have a damp problem, you should get it fixed by a specialist.
A common penetrating damp problem is caused by damaged guttering or down pipes. It can also be caused by broken windows or windows that are not properly fitted. Depending on the cause, the problem can be fixed with a simple DIY job or by hiring a professional.
Bricks and mortar absorb moisture from the ground
Increasing dampness in the home has a negative effect on the value of the property. It can also interfere with paint adhesion. If you live in a damp area, it’s important to take action. Keeping your brickwork dry and well-pointed can prevent this problem.
Rising damp is caused by the capillary action of water absorbing into bricks and mortar. It’s also caused by water ingress into the home from rain or wind. Rising damp can also occur if there are no or improperly functioning pipes.
Porous masonry can absorb water and then draw out salts and minerals from the ground. These salts and minerals can cause structural damage to the brickwork. In some cases, the salts and minerals can cause efflorescence. This is a white stain that is seen on the brickwork.
Wet or dry rot
Identifying the type of rot you have in your home is important to get it fixed as soon as possible. The two most common types of rot are wet and dry rot. Wet rot occurs in areas that receive a lot of moisture, such as in a building with a leaky roof. Dry rot is less common, but more serious.
Wet rot is caused by several different types of fungi. There are white rots and brown rots. Both types are caused by fungi that feed on cellulose. The brown rot fungus will pass through porous surfaces and can cause significant damage to timbers.
The fungi that cause wet rot thrive in damp conditions. This could be due to a leak, leaking guttering, or defective plumbing. Getting rid of the source of the moisture will stop the rot from growing.
Damage to plasterwork, wood panelling, and other materials
Fortunately, there are several ways to treat rising damp. Some methods involve injecting water repellent chemicals into the brickwork, and others involve replastering or fitting a new physical damp proof membrane (DPC).
The best way to identify rising damp is to seek the help of a specialist. They will be able to pinpoint the extent of the problem and advise you on the most appropriate treatment.
One of the most noticeable symptoms of rising damp is a damp stain on the wall. These stains are caused by groundwater passing through porous construction elements. Some of these elements include bricks, tiles, timber and stone.
Salts from the earth are also drawn up into the building structure. When moisture evaporates, the salts are deposited on the surface, sometimes in the form of a white fluffy coating. These stains are not only unsightly, they can also cause poor indoor air quality and respiratory illness.
Signs of rising damp
Identifying signs of rising damp early on can prevent further damage and more expensive repairs. Rising damp is caused by water from the ground rising up through the building’s walls. The water contains contaminants that can damage the plaster and absorbent decorative features.
Rising damp is most likely to occur on the ground floor. It can also affect the walls of external buildings. A damp proof course is a necessary part of preventing rising damp from becoming a problem.
When a damp proof course is not in place, rising damp can affect the load bearing capacity of a building. Rising damp can also lead to the discolouration of exterior walls. It can also cause damage to timber and plaster.