If the walls in your house are damp, this is not necessarily a case of rising damp.
This article covers the difference between dampness and rising damp and explains what is damp proofing? It also covers some of the associate risks of living in a damp house.
What is Rising Damp?
Rising damp is the term given to the process by which surface water rises up through the walls of a building. The water is soaked up by the materials in the walls through a process called capillary action.
Causes of Rising Damp
Bricks and mortar used in the construction of walls are porous, and act as a sponge to groundwater it comes in contact with. Water is soaked up through the pores in the material and keeps traveling up the brickwork until such time as no more evaporation is possible, or gravity takes control and pulls it back down. On average, the moisture will only travel up the wall for about 1 meter.
Damp Walls – Rising Damp?
If the walls in your house are damp, this is not necessarily a case of rising damp. There are a number of scenarios by which moisture can penetrate the brickwork of a house, but it is not always attributable to the the process of rising damp.
Defective ground and surface drainage, as well as rising ground levels may lead to moisture penetration. Condensation may also be responsible for damp walls, this occurs when warm moisture laden air comes in contact with a cooler surface, condenses, and becomes liquid.
The above process happens when the outer insulation layer of a wall becomes damaged due to water penetration, resulting in cooler inner walls. Intermittent heating, when a house is unoccupied, provides the ideal conditions for condensation to occur.
Dampness – House Mould – The Effects
Rising damp can also have an impact on the materials which are in contact with the affected wall, such as skirting boards, and built in bonding timbers. These timbers may become infected by wet rot, dry rot, weevils or woodworm.
If damp walls are in contact with fibrous material such as wallpaper or carpets, it can give rise to the growth of house mould. Airborne spores from mould can be damaging to a person’s health, causing respiratory problems especially for those with asthma and allergic conditions.
When damp walls are dried out they can sometimes leave behind deposits of salt which harden and leave tide marks on the surface of the wall (this can also potentially weaken the wall internally leading to structural problems).
What is Damp Proofing?
Damp proofing is the general name given to the variety of treatments which are used to help combat dampness and rising damp problems in the house. There are a number of different treatments for dampness and rising damp, depending on the situation. In some cases, water repellant chemicals are injected into the wall, and other times a damp proof membrane is needed.
If you have dampness in the house be sure to contact a rising damp expert. The dampness expert will carry out a survey and ascertain the cause of the dampness and the best solutions for the particular damp problem. As detailed, there are a number of possible cause of dampness – it is important to consult a trained dampness professional when tackling the damp related problems.