Rising Damp

Rising Damp: Understanding Causes, Characteristics, and Solutions

Causes of Rising Damp

Rising damp occurs when groundwater ascends through porous materials like bricks, mortar, or concrete within a building structure. The primary cause is capillary action, where water is drawn upwards against the force of gravity due to the tiny spaces within the material. This is often exacerbated by the lack of an effective damp-proof course (DPC) or its deterioration over time, allowing moisture to penetrate the building’s walls from the ground.

Characteristics of Rising Damp

One of the most noticeable signs of rising damp is the presence of watermarks or tide lines on interior walls, usually up to a meter from the ground. These may be accompanied by patches of mould, peeling paint or wallpaper, and a musty odour. As the moisture rises, it can also lead to the deterioration of plaster and masonry, causing structural damage if left unchecked. Rising damp typically manifests itself as a continuous horizontal band of dampness rather than isolated patches.

Solutions for Rising Damp


    1. Damp-Proof Course Installation: Retrofitting or repairing the damp-proof course is often the most effective solution. This involves installing a barrier, usually made of bitumen or plastic, horizontally within the masonry to prevent moisture from rising further. In severe cases, chemical injection methods may be used to create a new DPC.
    2. Improved Drainage: Addressing the underlying cause of rising damp involves improving drainage around the building to prevent excessive groundwater from accumulating against the walls. This may involve installing French drains, repairing gutters and downspouts, or ensuring proper grading away from the foundation.
    3. Ventilation and Heating: Adequate ventilation and heating can help reduce condensation, which can exacerbate rising damp. Installing vents, extractor fans, or a dehumidifier can help to remove excess moisture from the air, while maintaining a consistent indoor temperature can prevent the formation of damp conditions.
    4. Remedial Treatments: Various remedial treatments such as chemical damp-proofing solutions or the use of waterproofing membranes can be applied to affected walls to inhibit further moisture ingress. These treatments should be applied by trained professionals following a thorough assessment of the extent of the dampness.
    5. Repair of Damaged Materials: Finally, any damaged plaster, paint, or masonry should be repaired or replaced once the underlying damp issue has been addressed. This may involve removing and replacing affected sections of wall to prevent further deterioration.

In conclusion, rising damp can pose significant challenges to the integrity and habitability of a building. However, by understanding its causes, recognizing its characteristics, and implementing appropriate solutions, it is possible to effectively mitigate the impact of rising damp and preserve the structural integrity and indoor air quality of the affected property.

Why choose Shield Preservation?

Shield Preservation delivers a top-quality damp proofing service based on a systematic and comprehensive approach. It starts with a thorough evaluation of the specific moisture issues in the building to determine the most suitable damp proofing methods.

Proper planning is crucial, involving the selection of appropriate materials, coatings, or membranes tailored to the unique needs of the project. Skilled and precise execution ensures that the chosen methods are applied effectively to create a robust moisture barrier.

Stringent quality control measures, such as inspections and testing, should be in place to guarantee the effectiveness and longevity of the damp proofing solution. Effective communication with clients, clear timelines, and post-service support are also vital in delivering a top-quality damp proofing service, ultimately safeguarding the building from moisture-related problems and ensuring a dry, habitable environment.