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Damp can be a pain and cause problems within the home. Rising damp and penetrating damp are two main types of damp which can be identified here...

Rising damp

Risen damp occurs when water transfers into the building fabric from the ground. This is more common in older houses, likely built before 1875, and is a relatively rare form of damp. It is vital, when it comes to rising damp, that it is diagnosed correctly as the treatment must be very specific. If rising damp is left untreated, it can create a serious problem and will lead to structural issues. So, regulations were bought in, which meant that a damp proof course and membrane needed to be included with every house in the UK to stop water seeping in.

The signs to look out for that indicate rising damp are:

  • Staining to paintwork
  • Peeling or blistering paintwork
  • Tide marks on the wall
  • Damaged skirting boards
  • Musty odour

Things the homeowner can do to help prevent the rising damp are:

  • When moving into a house, find out if it has a damp proof course and membrane: if the damp proof membrane is chemically injected, it is important to check its effectiveness.
  • Ensure that the level of soil in the garden directly next to the house does not rise higher than the level of the damp proof barriers.
  • Make sure that rainwater goods are well designed and maintained and are not allowed to saturate the ground.

By following the steps that have been given you can not only stop the rising damp from getting worse, but you might also be able to prevent any future problems involving it.

Penetrating damp

Also known as lateral damp, penetrating damp involves water that leaks through the wall, roof or ceiling and spreads horizontally. This can be caused by plumbing issues or leaks in the exterior of a property.

Like most cases of damp, if left untreated, it can cause problems for the structure and significant damage to any fabrics in your home. Unlike with rising damp, penetrating damp can happen at any level of the property. Older properties that may have had a lack of maintenance in the past are more at risk of dampness problems, causing deterioration to the building fabric. This is not to say that modern buildings do not suffer from penetrating damp. This type of damp is at heavy risk of getting progressively worse when there is a lot of precipitation, meaning living in the UK, houses are very vulnerable.

Typical causes include:

  • Leaking roofs from tiles being loose or broken
  • Gutters overflowing as they might have come loose or blocked by leaves or debris
  • Leaking downpipes
  • Damaged or deteriorated exterior walls, there can also be damage to the pointing cladding, render or pebbledash
  • Poorly fitted doors or windows
  • Leaking interior pipes

The common signs of penetrating damp include damp patches that suddenly appear on the interior of a wall, ceiling or near a chimney breast. Plaster can become wet and crumbly, and large bubbles appear in it too (which can lead to holes in the ceiling if left untreated). Regularly checking your roof by looking in the roof space for any signs of leaking water or any timbers that feels wet can help. Air bricks and other ventilation devices shouldn’t be obstructed in order to allow proper ventilation of the home. Checking that exterior painting is properly applied and maintained well also goes with this.

If you are worried about condensation, damp and mould in your home, find out more information here. You can also download our new brochure here.


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