Rising damp is a prevalent concern among homeowners. It occurs when groundwater ascends through walls, leading to various structural and aesthetic problems.
But what causes rising damp in internal walls and how can you recognise the signs of dampness on internal walls? In this guide, we explore the causes of rising damp in internal walls and help you identify it so you can safeguard your home before you suffer major damage.
Causes of Rising Damp
Understanding its root causes is crucial in addressing rising damp. In this section, we’ll explore the factors contributing to rising damp in your home, and shed light on the complexities of this common household problem.
Leaking Pipes and Plumbing Issues
One of the primary culprits of internal damp is leaking pipes, often due to faulty plumbing or age, which can cause major damage to your home if left unchecked. While big leaks are noticeable and prompt immediate action, minor, unnoticed leaks could accumulate over time. This persistent moisture weakens walls, damages plaster, and can even lead to structural collapse if left untreated.
Broken or Overloaded Gutters
Another source of rising damp are external gutters designed to channel rainwater away from your home’s walls. The problem happens when gutters are obstructed or damaged, and the water accumulated and can’t be efficiently dispersed. The pooling water seeps into the roof or walls, leading to dampness on walls inside your building.
Cement Rendering and Cracks
Inconspicuous cracks in walls are significant sources of moisture ingress, leading to penetrating damp or condensation. In modern homes, cement rendering is a common building material that tends to crack over time. These cracks create gaps and cavities, enabling water to seep inside.
Consequences of DPC Damage or Absence
Damp-proof course (DPC) is a fundamental feature in modern constructions. It’s a barrier integrated into the walls during construction, designed to prevent rising damp. When the DPC is damaged or absent, it opens the door for rising damp. Without a functional DPC, groundwater can permeate the masonry through capillaries, leading to various issues.
Rising Damp in Older Buildings
What about older or historic buildings that didn’t have a modern DPC during construction? These buildings are highly susceptible to rising damp, which often manifests as a result of the natural movement of groundwater through porous materials and a lack of modern protection.
Influence of Neighbouring Buildings
The final cause of dampness in walls is your neighbour. The proximity of neighbouring buildings can significantly impact the occurrence of rising damp. Even if you thoroughly protect your home, if adjacent structures have improper drainage systems or damaged DPCs, moisture can easily seep into shared walls. Moisture intrusion from adjacent properties is a common cause of rising damp.
Signs of Rising Damp on Internal Walls
Tide Marks and Damage
Rising damp often leaves visible tidemarks on walls, indicating the highest point the dampness has reached. Along with tidemarks, you may notice paint or wallpaper peeling off and a deterioration of the wall surface. Visible damage from dampness on internal walls is a sign that there’s significant pooling of water internally, and quick action must be taken before the damage becomes irreparable.
Decaying Skirting Boards
Skirting boards commonly placed at the base of the wall are highly susceptible to rising damp. If rising damp is present, skirting boards could be one of the first things to decay. They might appear swollen, discoloured, or show signs of mould growth. In severe cases, they can even crumble when touched.
Efflorescence and Paint Damage
Efflorescence occurs when water evaporates from the wall, leaving behind white, powdery salt deposits. This is a clear sign of rising damp, as the salts in the groundwater are brought to the surface by moisture. Your wallpaper and paint can also be an indicator of rising damp. Any flaking, blistering or loss of adhesion are early indicators of this problem.
Rising damp poses a significant threat to homes. It infiltrates your walls and causes structural damage when left unchecked. To prevent this issue, regular inspections are crucial, allowing you to identify early signs of dampness and take prompt action. Maintaining a healthy damp-proofing system, periodic checks and timely repairs to your damp-proof course (DPC) is the best way for you to prevent significant and lasting damage.
Don’t wait for your walls to suffer; stop rising damp before it escalates. Our professional damp-proofing solutions guarantee the safety, integrity, and comfort of your home.
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