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Rising Damp Yorkshire
Rising Damp is the gradual entry of water into a property by capillary action. In any case where masonry meets the ground, it will come into contact with groundwater and rainwater, which it will absorb due to its porous nature. As the damp is absorbed by the masonry, it will rise by capillary action to a height of up to around 1.5m, unless it is prevented from rising by a damp proofing barrier; this is why an effective damp proof course is essential.
Rising damp causes problems in properties if it is allowed to rise unchecked. Damp will absorb upwards through the external brickwork and eventually penetrate the wall, leaving internal plasterwork damp and spoiled. Where decoration such as paint or wallpaper have been applied to walls, this will flake or come away from the wall as a result of the wall becoming wet. In addition, rising damp presents a risk to any timber which it comes into contact with, such as timber flooring, skirting boards and architraves, see our pages on Dry Rot and Wet Rot for further information. The damage caused by timber decay as a result of rising damp can be extensive and expensive. Both Rising Damp and timber decay are progressive problems, meaning that they may get worse over time, which is why it pays to have a damp proofing expert inspect your home as soon as either is discovered.
Treating Rising Damp
Rising Damp can affect all homes new and old. In older homes, it is more common that the lack or breakdown of an effective damp proof course is to blame, whereas in new homes, often recent building improvements are more commonly to blame. In older homes, a damp proof course may not have been installed when the property was built and, without this, Rising Damp will occur. Depending on the construction of a property, one of several solutions to a Rising Damp problem may be necessary:
Consequences of Rising Damp
When Rising Damp is allowed to make its way onto internal wall plaster, it will deposit salts which are carried upwards from the ground with the damp. As damp continues to rise into a wall, it carries more and more salt with it and, as the damp evaporates, it deposits the salt, causing a gradual build up. When these salts are deposited on walls, this presents a further problem which has to be addressed in addition to the Rising Damp. Salts such as these are hygroscopic meaning that they will attract and hold any moisture from the internal air of a property which they come into contact with. The effect of this is that, even though the cause of the Rising Damp may have been cured, the wall on which the salts sit may still appear damp.
In cases where salts are present on internal wall plaster, the most suitable remedy is to remove and dispose of the plaster, replacing it with a suitable decorative plaster.
“How can I tell whether I have Rising Damp?”
ANSWER: Rising Damp is often misdiagnosed by homeowners and some lesser-experienced professionals, and is often confused with condensation. In a worst-case, but somewhat common scenario, condensation will be mistaken for rising damp and the wrong remedy will be carried out for the problem, wasting time and money. Our surveyors have advance surveying equipment and are highly-experienced in the diagnosis of rising damp. To be sure that you always get a proper diagnosis, contact an expert for a survey today.
“Is Rising Damp dangerous?”
ANSWER: Rising Damp itself is not dangerous, but the defects it can lead to do present a hazard to health. Dry Rot and Wet Rot fungus can form on timber flooring and other structural timbers as a result of rising damp, which will lead to a deterioration of the strength of the timber. In time, this can cause the complete collapse and breakage of the timber, which can be highly dangerous. Consequently, we recommend having any Rising Damp issue checked by a suitably qualified expert.