Rising Damp and the Older House

Those of us of a certain age will hear the words “rising damp” and immediately think about Leanard Rossiter and that 70s sitcom. If you’re here for an in-depth look back at that classic British comedy then I’m afraid you are in the wrong place. However, if you are here because you are interested in tackling rising damp in the older property, maybe one you are renovating, then read on.

If you are embarking on a project to restore an older property then you will undoubtedly be considering the issue of rising damp. You will need to identify it and then plan a course of treatment and preventative measures.

What is rising damp?

This is one of the most common questions people developing older properties will as is “what exactly is rising damp?”. Basically, rising damp in buildings occurs when water from the ground rises up through the bricks and mortar of a building by capillary action. In simple terms, it is similar to the way water is soaked up by a sponge, the water rises up the porous wall of a building.

Identifying rising damp

Rising Damp and the Older House | The Yorkshire Dad of 4

The telltale signs of rising damp include a “tide-mark” on the wall above skirting boards of up to 1 metre. However, it is important to remember that there are many forms of damp that can affect a property. If you do not notice tide marks, another very common telltale sign is damp patches or staining.  Typically, these damp patches are yellowish or brownish in colour and similar to tide marks, you will notice them up to 1 metre above the skirting board.

Look out for wallpaper coming off or peeling from the wall. You’ll likely notice it coming loose from the skirting board first, with the corner of the wallpaper curved up. As with many forms of dampness, rising damp can potentially to cause rot within timbers it comes into contact with. Look out for skirtings that are cracked, easily crumble or localised fungus growing on or creeping out of the side. Also, look out for damaged or flaky paint.

Treating rising damp

Unless you are a specialist in this field it really is best to bring in the experts on this. It’s is highly recommend that you use a specialist for damp proofing services in Stoke on Trent. Of course, before treating the rising damp you need to tackle what is the root cause. Stopping further damp from rising is the first thing that needs to be done. It may be that your property is so old that there is no damp proof course at all or is incomplete. Getting a damp proof course installed would be a priority job and this can be a messy business if your property has hard floors as it will require digging down before you can build back up again.

Once failure of the damp proof course has been identified there are a variety of treatments that you can consider.

Commonly, most forms of rising damp treatment involve injecting a siliconate type chemical solution into the walls. This is typically the easiest and most cost effective treatment to use within built properties. This is usually done by drilling holes in a band around the affected walls then injecting the required solution.

There alternative options. One being installing the Electro-Osmotic system or a physical rising damp membrane to form a new damp proof barrier.

Once a new rising damp treatment course has been installed, any contaminated plasterwork should be removed and replaced. You will run into problems if this is not done properly. Specialist salt retardant plaster should be used as any salts that are present in the plaster may continue to absorb moisture from the air.  This would give the appearance of dampness even after the installation of a new damp proof course.

Use the professionals

It can be tempting to try and save money by cutting corners in house renovation projects. However, with rising damp you really should consider using professionals such as Dynamic Property Care to take care of this problem for you. You will also have a guarantee just in case something isn’t quite right further down the line.


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