What is Rising Damp and How Can You Treat it?
Posted By: John Published: 01/07/2019 Times Read: 575 Comments: 0
What is Rising Damp and How Can You Treat It?
Rising damp is where damp rises from the ground through the brickwork of the building. This happens because moisture is drawn up through the ground into the brick work and has nowhere to escape. This wet wall issue is found specifically in masonry construction, which is when buildings are made from individually layered material such as brick, concrete block or stone. Rising damp can cause significant damage to both the interior and exterior of a building, but it can be hard to diagnose before it is too late. We take a look at how rising damp occurs and how you can identify and treat it.
How Does Rising Damp Occur?
Damp rises by capillary action, which is the ability of a liquid to flow in spaces in opposition to gravity. Moisture from the ground is drawn up through the masonry structure, the moisture then tries to escape but has nowhere to go, which creates the damp.
How Do You Identify Rising Damp?
Rising damp can be difficult to identify. It’s much more common in older buildings, which can serve as an indicator, but isn’t a hard rule. Rising damp happens only at ground floor level, so if you are experiencing damp on other floors of your building, it is likely that it is another damp issue such as condensation. If your damp issue had arisen at ground floor level and you suspect it is rising damp, here are some of the tell-tale signs to look out for.
Damp and musty smells can be present in the room where the rising damp is occurring. Plaster fragmenting around the bottom of the wall and decaying timber and skirting boards are also another unfortunate sign that rising damp has set in. Discolouration anywhere from the skirting board to up through the wallpaper could point to signs of rising damp, and the mark is an indicator as to how far the damp has risen. This can usually reach up to a metre high. Rising damp can also cause wallpaper to peel away from the wall, create black mould, and can leave powdery white deposits behind, which are rocks of salt from the moisture in the ground. After they are deposited, the salts will continue to draw up moisture from the ground, and that will continue to have no room to escape, making the problem escalate.
Image Credit: Kebabknight
How Do You Treat Rising Damp?
Rising damp can be quite a process to treat, but it is doable. The recommended steps to treat rising damp can be quite lengthy, so make sure to set some time aside for the upcoming renovation. The first step is to confirm your suspicions with a professional, making sure the issue is actually rising damp, so the treatment can be correct. The treatment for different damp issues can vary greatly in time and also cost, so it’s really important to get an established diagnosis.
Once it is confirmed as rising damp, the second step is to remove any wall paper and plaster back to the bricks, stone or the substrate on the internal wall. However, this process must also be undertaken on the external wall of the damage too.
After you have done this, the most common procedure is to treat the rising damp with a chemical to cure it and prevent it from happening further.
Products such as Hydrobar Masonry Water Repellent can be used after a chemical treatment to repel any damp issues in the future. It is suitable for all masonry substrate and reduces damage caused by water such as salt efflorescence, organic growth, or weather induced issues such as frost damage.
If you discover your damp issue is in fact not rising damp, and is something much less complicated, such as condensation, products such as our Anti-Condensation Paint will work well to reduce damage caused by damp. This product works to reduce the levels of condensation on walls and ceilings and is suitable to use in the home, or in commercial settings. It works by providing an insulating layer to delay the development of condensation, and simultaneously absorbs atmospheric moisture.
Why not have a look at our other products at ACS to help keep your building in great shape?