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Damp proofing and Rising Damp

What is rising damp?

Rising damp can be explained as the vertical flow of water through a porous wall structure.  The water from the ground enters pores in the wall and rises by capillary action. Rising damp can occur on any wall which is built on a foundation (into the ground).

Rising damp is a problem associated with older properties due to the fact that damp proof courses were rarely fitted in the past, or at best they were made from unsuitable material and have broken down over the years. A damp course is essential to avoid the costly problems associated with rising damp, damp proof courses are installed in all new buildings to conform to current building regulations.

As previously mentioned, rising damp is a problem affecting thousands of older properties throughout the UK.  However, the worrying fact is that it is often misdiagnosed by incompetent and inexperienced “surveyors”. The most important starting point for a homeowner who suspects they have a rising damp problem is to make sure that the investigations are carried out by an experienced and competent damp surveyor who recognises and understands the complex problems associated with dampness. We would always recommend that the surveyor who undertakes investigations into rising damp has the appropriate experience, as misdiagnosis of damp problems can lead to expensive, unnecessary work being carried out to your property.

What are the signs of Rising Damp?

Discolouration and staining to plaster finishes, crumbling or white salt bands appearing on walls, rotting skirting boards and architraves, decayed timber floors, peeling paint and wallpaper are all common when walls are affected by rising damp. These defects are not always visible but when they are, a specialist inspection is always recommended as essential to limit further damage.

What is involved in Rising Damp treatment?

Most types of brick/stonework will allow some water movement by capillary action; however, this is usually controlled by a physical barrier or damp proof course. If this physical barrier is absent, has broken down or is damaged then it is often possible to install a remedial damp proof course (DPC) to control water rising from the ground.

Water rising from the ground often introduces contaminating salts into the walls and plaster finish. These salts are termed ‘hygroscopic’, meaning they absorb moisture from the air, further adding to the problem. This contamination will often result in a need for the plaster to be removed and replaced using specially formulated salt resistant plasters. Technicians trained by the PCA have the skills and experience required to diagnose and repair buildings affected by rising damp.

Trustguard, utilising our qualified workforce, will carry out an extensive survey on your property to diagnose the correct source of dampness in your property. It is extremely important this is done, as a damp proof course will not cure other forms of dampness, such as condensation or penetrating damp.

We will then provide a written estimate. Upon receipt of acceptance of the estimate, we will arrange to carry out the damp proof works to your property, offering the ultimate professional service from start to finish.