Rising damp is when moisture is present on the walls of a building. It occurs when water from the ground rises through the walls as a result of capillary action. This means that groundwater is absorbed through small openings, such as thin gaps and holes. Building materials like stone and brick are particularly susceptible due to their porous structure.

Rising damp is more common in older buildings, but it can also occur in modern buildings if they do not have proper damp proofing or the damp-proof course (a waterproof layer built in the wall) is damaged. If rising damp is left untreated, it can cause extensive structural damage to your property.

Here are ten common signs that your property has rising damp.

1. Tide Marks

The most common sign of rising damp is a visible tide mark, typically about a metre high above floor level. These marks are caused by evaporation of the moisture and salts from the ground and can be visible on the interior and exterior of a building.

2. Damp Patches

Another indication that your property is affected by rising damp is the presence of damp patches or water stains on your walls. These are typically yellow or brown (or a combination of the two) in colour and are visible above the skirting board.

3. Peeling Wallpaper or Paint

Rising damp increases moisture levels within your walls, which can cause the wallpaper or paint around the skirting board to start peeling.

4. Rotting Skirting Boards

Along with visible damp patches and peeling wallpaper, rising damp can also cause the skirting boards that cover the lower part of a wall to rot or decay. Skirting boards are mainly for decorative purposes, but rising damp can be more serious if structural timbers start to rot.

5. Black Mould

Black mould is characterised by dark spots and is especially harmful to your health. It can spread over larger areas if the moisture is not dealt with. Black mould is a clear indication that dampness is affecting the area.

6. Formation of White Deposits

Efflorescence is a white deposit that is commonly found on porous surfaces, such as brick, stone, and concrete. The formation of these deposits occurs when water dissolves the natural salts within the materials and pushes them through to the surface.

7. Floor Coverings Lifting

Excessive moisture levels may push through a building’s concrete slab, causing the floor coverings to lift up or become loose.

8. Musty Odour

Even if the signs of rising damp aren’t obvious or visible, you can often smell damp or a musty odour around the affected areas.

9. Discolouration of Exterior Walls

Rising damp can cause discolouration on exterior walls due to the groundwater pushing through the porous materials. Examples include mouldy spots and black stains.

10. Corroded Bricks and Mortar

Brick is an extremely durable building material, but it can start to corrode if it stays wet for prolonged periods or the moisture problem is left untreated. The mortar between the bricks can also lose its adhesive properties and turn crumbly.

If you recognise any of these signs, then we strongly recommend damp proofing your property as soon as possible to prevent any further damage. Contact Danford Brewer & Ives on 01765 804050 or fill in our online form to arrange a site survey and have our professionals treat your rising damp problem.