Dampness occurs when unwanted moisture is present in the structure of a building. It’s a major problem that affects many properties, as it can lead to growth of mould and even cause extensive structural damage. There are different types of damp, but rising damp and condensation are two of the most common that you might find in your home.

Being able to tell the difference is important. The type of damp affecting your property will determine the best treatment method and how to prevent it from occurring again. Here we’ll look at the differences between rising damp and condensation, and common signs to look for.

What Is Rising Damp?

Rising damp occurs when moisture from the ground moves through a wall via capillary action – narrow spaces such as cracks and small holes that push the flow of water upwards. Materials like concrete, stone, and brick are susceptible to rising damp because of their porous structure. Rising damp is common in older structures, but modern buildings can also be affected if the damp-proof course is damaged.

Here are common signs of rising damp:

  • Tide marks or water stains
  • Peeling plaster or wallpaper
  • Rotting skirting boards
  • Black mouldy spots
  • Floor coverings lifting up
  • Visible white deposits
  • Damp or musty odours

These signs can be visible on the interior and exterior of a building. Rising damp often leads to timber decay, which can cause structural damage to the property if left untreated. Treating rising damp isn’t just a matter of replacing the plaster or skirting boards. The source of the problem itself needs to be treated or the problem will recur.

Treating rising damp typically consists of removing and repairing all affected areas, and installing a damp-proof course (a waterproof horizontal strip) directly into the wall above ground level. The damp-proof course prevents groundwater from flowing through the wall. Because of the work involved, professional damp proofing is strongly recommended.

What Is Condensation?

Condensation is another damp problem – perhaps the most common – that affects all property types. It occurs when warm air comes into contact with cool surfaces. Condensation frequently occurs in rooms that have a lot of moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Common signs of condensation include:

  • Water droplets on window panes or walls
  • Appearance of black mould
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Musty smells

If condensation isn’t treated right away, it can develop into longer-lasting problems. These can include damage to the paint or plaster, and the growth of mould across a surface. Mouldy environments are a serious concern, as they can become a health hazard for you and your family.

Improving the ventilation of moisture-prone areas can help to reduce condensation problems. This can be as simple as opening windows and using a dehumidifier or an extractor fan to control humidity levels. Regularly wiping down walls and window frames with soapy water can also help to prevent the growth of black mould.

If problems like rising damp and condensation continue to plague your property, contact Danford Brewer & Ives on 01765 804050 or via our online form to have our damp-proofing specialists conduct a full site survey.