Rising Damp Durham


Rising Damp: Know The Signs And Get The Right Treatment In Durham

For those old enough to remember, or who have seen the repeats, Rising Damp was a popular sitcom in the mid-1970s. The name was chosen purposely to lend an air of neglect, age and staleness, a theme that ran through the complete series. It kept audiences laughing for many years, and still does today, despite some of the themes that go against modern sensitivities.

However, when it comes to the real-life rising damp, there's nothing to laugh about. Most people believe that damp problems of any kind only affect older, neglected properties, possibly constructed without a damp-proof course. This couldn't be further from the truth, as it is also found in modern buildings for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Ground levels being raised above an existing damp-proof course (DPC).
  • Renders or plasters being placed over the DPC.
  • The wrong type of cavity wall insulation being used.
  • Debris being left within the void beneath the floor or cavity wall.
  • Solid floors, usually a concrete slab.


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Durham What Is Rising Damp?

When damp proofing fails (or isn't present at all) water can be drawn up through capillary action as the moisture defies gravity through electrical attraction. Don't worry too much about how it all works, it's all to do with physics! The fact is, ground water can, in certain circumstances, rise upwards through porous building materials such as concrete floors or brick/masonry walls and, if not discovered and treated in time, can cause structural damage as well as spoiling paint, wallpaper, carpets, floorings, floor boards, skirting boards, and so on.

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Durham Is Rising Damp A Myth?

Arguments on this very subject have raged for several years, with some sources claiming that this age-old problem is a myth. Anyone who has had to deal with this in their home or business will know otherwise! The fact is, much of the confusion comes down to a lack of experience in identifying which type of damp problem you are dealing with. Unfortunately, there is sometimes also an element of dishonesty, as unscrupulous businesses may claim that a property is suffering from this condition so that they can gain from providing unnecessary treatments.

In either case, the treatment often fails and the problem remains.

What can be said with certainty is that rising damp is not as common as other types of damp, such as that which is caused by condensation.

But just because rising damp is rare, does not mean that it is not real! And one of the biggest factors is location.

An experienced and competent expert will understand that most building materials contain moisture to some extent. Our ancestors understood this when building castles or manor houses with moats, or even everyday homes. They allowed for the fact that the bottom layers of brickwork or masonry forming the external walls would be in constant contact with the ground, and that it would sometimes be damp.

To stop water from rising, they sometimes inserted a physical barrier in the walls of buildings, usually a layer of slate, which has been replaced in more recent times with damp-proof membranes or even a water repellent chemical.

The moisture levels within the walls will rise and fall naturally, with most of it evaporating before it rises far enough to cause any damage to internal walls, plaster, fixtures and fittings.

The problem usually arises in properties situated within valleys, on impermeable soils, or in a place where the soil is constantly wet for whatever reason. These properties will be sitting in continuously damp ground, which can accumulate at the base of walls and become excessively damp. Under these conditions, the moisture can travel upwards, especially in cases where successive layers of render have been used, externally or internally.


What does rising damp look like?

Here are some common rising damp signs that you are likely to spot on interior walls and exterior walls. This can get expensive if left and so don't hesitate to use our form to get in touch today for a fast free no obligation quote

How To Identify Rising Damp Durham

You might notice damp patches (or 'tide marks') or even white salt deposits on walls. Stains will appear up to a metre high on internal walls but rarely go beyond this point. The trouble is, contamination from soluble salts in the ground water can cause problems by itself, as some of these may be hygroscopic salts (usually nitrates and chloride) that attract and absorb water, which makes the problem worse.

Even when the rising damp problem has been resolved, salt contamination has to be dealt with separately as it will continue to attract any moisture or humidity in the room.

A musty smell is another sign of damp walls. This tells you that the problem has been there a while as it's had time to soak into the plaster or timber which will begin to rot.

If you spot black mould on any surface (especially on upper levels and around windows) your problem is more likely to be condensation caused by a lack of proper ventilation.

External walls may show signs too, with crumbling mortar and salt stains.

True rising damp will only be found at ground floor level, whereas penetrating damp (or water ingress) can be found several metres up, where water has entered through deteriorating brickwork or masonry walls, or a leaking roof.

Determining whether your problem is caused by rising damp, penetrating damp, or condensation will probably take an expert eye. The correct identification is essential when deciding which of the treatment options to use, and it isn't as simple as inserting or fixing a damp barrier and hoping for the best!

Damp Treatments In Durham

Official diagnosis should be carried out by our qualified damp surveyor or rising damp treatment specialist in Durham. Before any treatment takes place, the examination will entail stripping back any wallpaper and salt-contaminated plaster (at least 300mm above the 'tide mark') to reveal the brickwork beneath which will allow them to assess the extent of the problem.

After checking the existing DPC for breaches (usually in buildings constructed after 1875 as many older buildings did not have damp proof courses) the contractor will decide whether this can be fixed or will need to be replaced. These days a chemical injection DPC is often used to provide protection from further water damage.

Once the new DPC is installed then you are advised to wait for at least 6 months (sometimes up to a year) for the walls to dry out completely before redecorating.

Although products are available for you to tackle this problem yourself, identification and treatment is always best left to the experts, many of whom will offer a redecoration and repair service.

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What Is Rising Damp?

Affecting the walls of a building rising damp is when moisture is being "pulled" through small cracks and tubes within your brickwork that travels up the wall. Hence, the name rising damp!

Why does damp occur?

Damp appears when there is an excess amount of moisture within the air that has no way of escaping, the occurrence of excess moisture in the air can appear in many forms. Steam when cooking and drying clothes to name just to name a couple.

Where can dampness be found?

Information to be placed here soon!

What is damp proofing membrane?

Information to be placed here soon!

Rising Damp Durham Service Area

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