Rising damp is one of the most common forms of dampness that occurs in buildings, and if left untreated, can pose major risks to the condition of the property as well as endangering the health and quality of life of those that happen to live in the property. Leaving rising damp in the home for extended periods of time will also make it far more expensive to treat, so if you manage to identify rising damp it is better to consider treatment as soon as possible.
What is it?
Rising damp is caused by water rising up from the ground through the bricks and mortar of a building. The process is loosely known as ‘capillarity’ and can depend on the structure of the bricks and mortar as well as the evaporation rate of the water.
It has been found that older buildings are at a significantly higher risk of being affected by rising damp than buildings that were built after the 1980’s; those built before 1850 being most at risk.
Delays cause Damage
The longer you wait to identify the cause of damp in your home, the deeper and more dangerous the problem will be. Furthermore, if you happen to live with an older family member or have young children, they are at a higher risk of getting asthma and chest infections due to the level of moisture and harmful bacteria present in the air.
Although you may not be able to notice the physical signs of damp very easily, keep an eye out for persistent coughs and colds, particularly if you have young children, as this can be a sign of the existence of damp in the property.
Identifying the Problem
Rising damp can be identified by tide marks on the walls, or signs of salt forming on walls and ceilings, as this is the salt drawn from the ground. Decaying skirting boards or wall paper coming off or peeling off of the wall are sure signs of rising damp.
Because of the nature of the damp, rising damp will only occur on the ground floor levels, so if you notice damp or moisture on the first floor or higher, it may be a different form of damp. This could be penetrating damp or condensation, which requires different action taken in comparison to rising damp.
There are a few popular methods of damp treatment, the most popular being Chemical damp proof treatment which involves pressured chemicals being injected into holes that have been drilled at regular intervals into the affected walls.
Other forms of treatment include the injection of mortars and creams which form a damp proof barrier, or electro osmotic treatment which introduces a small electric current into the wall which pushes the moisture back down the wall to ensure that the walls are dry.
Treatment will depend on what is best suited for your home. You will first need to contact a surveyor who will identify the damp as an issue to be resolved. They will then discuss with you the best possible method of damp treatment.
Mike James is a landlord interested in the “let to let” market as he owns a property that is then in turn rented out as an investment opportunity whilst also renting the home he lives in. In his spare time he is a freelance writer and concentrates on the housing market prospects for Tim Greenwood & Associates, an independent specialist building surveying practice in west Sussex.