Damp within the house is not to be taken lightly. For a start it can be tricky to diagnose the exact cause, then you need to tackle the root of the problem. Simply treating the symptoms is only going to mask the issue at best. Dampness is not a problem that should be neglected; it spreads and slowly deteriorates everything it works through.
If your walls are showing signs of moisture or staining, rising damp is the likely culprit. It occurs if water rises up from the ground and travels up through the wall material. Water soaks its way through the brick/masonry pores as far as gravity allows (usually around 1.2m). The build up of moisture within the wall also transfers into adjoining plastering and leaves visible salt deposits.
Rising damp differentiates from other damp related issues due to a number of key characteristics. Look for the following signs to confirm your problem is rising damp:
- Tide mark staining, usually yellow or brown hints coming up from the skirting boards.
- White salty deposits will be left on your wall’s plaster work
- Black spots of mould may be beginning to form in some areas
- Boards and flooring may start to show signs of rot
If you’re having damp problems that don’t match up to these traits it is likely coming from the roof/loft. If damp patches appear over 1.2m up and are not evenly spaced, you will need to investigate elsewhere.
What Are The Causes Of Rising Damp?
It’s imperative you locate the root cause(s) and handle it effectively, otherwise it will have been a waste of time when dampness returns in the future. Work your way through this list to identify your cause of rising damp:
- Locate your wall’s damp proof course (DPC).You should be able locate this layer in the wall from the outside of your property. It should run along your walls horizontally, approximately 6” from ground level. It forms a vital physical barrier and prevents water from rising through your wall. Your house may not have one, if so this is the primary cause.
- Check for bridging.Anything that comes into contact with the wall at a higher level than the DPC can form a bridge. This allows water to bypass the DPC and eventually infiltrate the house. Check ground level is not above the DPC and consider external structures such as stairs.
- Check Your Neighbour’s home.If your house is attached in any way they may have caused bridging that’s affecting your home. Check their DPC is present, above ground level and not higher than yours or bypassed by external structures.
- Consider Internal Bridging. It’s possible for bridges to occur within a wall cavity. It is often caused by trapped debris from the initial construction. If significant enough to allow moisture to wick through and bypass the DPC you have a problem.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or simply need expert advice, get into contact with a damp specialist like www.jhgarlickltd.com. A damp survey cost is going to be low or even free of charge, yet it can provide you with invaluable guidance on how to proceed. Be sure to ask how much for a damp proof course and gather at least three separate quotes for installation.