Rising damp is a nightmare. And we’re not talking about the 1974 sitcom. It can cause a host of issues, including mould growth and structural damage. Not to mention, it’s not exactly aesthetically pleasing. Luckily, there are some rising damp solutions that can prevent it. So let’s jump straight into it.
Have a moisture problem on your property;
Are seeing the growth of mould on walls and ceilings;
Need some rising damp solutions;
Then read on!
What is rising damp?
Rising damp is a moisture problem that travels up through a structures’ wall. This is done by moisture and salt is sucked up through tiny holes in brickwork and mortar, and rising from the ground up. Which can cause damage to porous materials like plaster, wood, paint etc. A problem you don’t want to face.
On the bright side, rising damp is quite rare! Strangely, while it is rare, it is commonly misdiagnosed by surveyors. Mainly because fixing the issue of rising damp requires a much more extensive repair process. As you can imagine, this is a costly rising damp solution.
Signs of rising damp
While it might be rare, you’ll know when you have rising damp. This is because the signs of damage are far more noticeable than condensation or penetrating dampness. Unfortunately, signs of damage can take a while before appearing. Meaning your property could have a rising damp problem without you even knowing it.
It is most noticeable when it has penetrated the interior wall. While rising damp can affect exterior walls, it is much harder to notice. That being said, you should always look for whitened areas of the brickwork (salt deposits) and green or brown spots appearing about a metre from the base.
Rising damp internal wall
You are most likely to notice rising damp when it starts to affect your internal walls. While it is important to recognise the signs yourself, you should always get a professional surveyor in. They’ll carry out a full damp survey of your home and can properly identify the problem. With that said, let’s get onto what you should look for:
Tide Marks – These look like bubbles and mostly appear when a wall has been painted. Salt deposits can debond paint, so be sure to check for any fluffy white spots.
Peeling Wallpaper – Wallpaper will begin to peel away from the wall, starting from the bottom.
Damaged Plaster – Plaster will begin to appear discoloured and then deteriorate, leaving unpleasant gaps in the wall.
Dark patches – These will be damp to the touch and visible near the wall’s base.
Decaying Wood – Skirting boards, floor joists and floorboards will show signs of damage or rot.
Damp Smell – Not a surefire way to tell you have rising damp, as the smell of rising damp is indistinguishable from other types.
If you’ve noticed dampness in the wallpaper or plaster, this doesn’t always mean that you have rising damp. Wallpaper and plaster can also be affected by condensation, which is caused by poor heating or poor ventilation and is much easier to fix. For rising damp, always check the masonry and brickwork for moisture.
Rising damp solutions
Unfortunately, it’s doubtful you’re going to be able to solve rising damp by yourself. You need to access the brickwork or masonry of a property, which often involves removing any plaster on top of the surface. In turn, once the problem has been treated, you’ll probably need to spend money in order to repair the damage it has done.
Treatment involves something called damp proofing injection cream, or DPC for short. Essentially, it is injected into specially placed holes within the mortar, where it then reverts to a liquid. In liquid form, it allows it to easily permeate through the brickwork, absorbing moisture as it goes. Once the DPC liquid dries, it creates a water-repellent barrier that should save you from any moisture problems in the future.
Rising damp solutions – Waterproof membrane
Installing a waterproof membrane is a good option, but it is a much more extensive and expensive process. Waterproof membranes are installed in the foundations of your house and prevent any capillary action, preventing any moisture or salt from entering the bricks.
As you can imagine, this work can be difficult and time-consuming, as technicians will have to work piece-by-piece making sure to keep the structural integrity of your home. That being said, the work is worthwhile, as it is a long-term treatment for rising damp.
Rising damp – Landlord responsibilities
If you’re a landlord, unfortunately, you are solely responsible for the issue of rising damp. As per the tenancy agreement, you need to keep the interior and structure of your home in good condition.
A landlord’s repair responsibility will also mean that it’s the landlord’s responsibility have to fix any damage done by rising damp. This includes any of the conditions already discussed, like bubbling paint or loose wallpaper.
Any plaster remaining after damp proofing the wall should be removed. This is because the plaster might still have salt deposits, which will attract and absorb moisture. Now, while you might be tempted to just use regular plaster, it’s better to use salt-retardent plaster. This is because using standard plaster can result in further damp problems, regardless of whether the wall has been damp proofed.
Salt retardant plaster has its own specifications for installation, so make sure whoever is replastering knows this.