Rising damp specialists in Battersea and Wandsworth
Damp issues in a property are something that every homeowner wants to avoid. Damp is caused by moisture that penetrates the walls and can lead to wet patches that over time can develop into more serious problems like mould, structural issues, and wet rot in the timber. Rising damp is one of the most serious types of damp to deal with in a property. It is usually a sign that there is some kind of problem with the damp proof course, a waterproof membrane that runs along the length and width of the internal walls to prevent moisture from getting into the walls and causing damp issues in the home.
What is Rising Damp?
Rising damp refers to a type of damp that occurs when water rises upwards in the walls from the ground beneath. This is usually a result of a failure or a breaching of the damp proof course since the main aim of the damp proof course is to prevent moisture from getting through. It is often more common in older properties that may have been built before adding a damp proof course was mandatory, especially if there is no damp proof course present. Older properties that have had the same damp proof course since when they were built may also be at a higher risk of rising damp since over time, the membrane can become less effective at repelling moisture and may deteriorate or become damaged with age. Capillary action, where water is sucked upwards through tiny holes in the wall materials, causes the rising damp to occur.
What Rising Damp Looks Like
Often, one of the first visual signs of rising damp in a property is yellow or brown patches that appear on the ground floor walls. Due to where the moisture is getting in, you will usually notice these appearing just above the skirting boards. The woodwork of the skirting boards and potentially around the edges of your floorboards might also be affected by the rising damp, and you might notice that it feels damp to the touch or that the woodwork is rotting in places. Rising damp is usually characterised by the height that it rises to. If you’ve noticed damp on your walls that is higher than around 1.2m, it’s probably another type of damp. This is because due to the nature of the rising damp, it inevitably reaches a point where gravity will not allow it to rise any further. If you have vinyl wallpaper or washable paint on your walls, you may notice higher-up salt deposits in the walls, which are caused by the moisture washing the salts out of the brick.
Why You Need Rising Damp Specialists Battersea
If you suspect that you might have rising damp in your Battersea home, and have noticed signs of damp on the ground floor on the lower walls, then it’s a good idea to get a damp specialist to come and look at your property. This is because rising damp is often one of the most commonly misdiagnosed types of damp and it’s not unusual for other types of damp such as penetrating damp to appear in the same areas. This could lead you to believe that you have rising damp and end up wasting money paying for it to be repaired when it’s an entirely different problem if you do not have it confirmed by a specialist. Other types of damp such as damp caused by condensation or penetrating damp which involves moisture getting into the walls from the outside are not affected in any way by the damp proof course. Since work on the damp proof course is not cheap, it’s important to make sure that you actually have rising damp in your home before you pay for any repairs or replacements to be carried out.
What Do Rising Damp Specialists Wandsworth Look For?
If you have noticed signs of damp on your lower ground floor walls, then a damp specialist can help you determine if there is a problem with your damp proof course or if you are dealing with another type of damp that is going to need a different type of treatment.
Firstly, the specialist will check to ensure that there is a damp proof course present. If there is no damp proof course, then it is highly likely that the damp in your home is in fact rising damp since without the water resistant membrane, there is nothing to stop the moisture from the ground getting into your internal walls and travelling upwards. If your property has a damp proof course, the issue might be down to damage or deterioration because of age.
You can easily check your property for a damp proof course yourself; there will usually be a visible line at around six inches higher than ground level on the bricks on the exterior of your property. A damp specialist will look out for any signs that the damp proof course has been damaged or has become ineffective over time, which will prevent it from keeping the moisture out as it should. Finally, they will also check for any signs that the damp proof course has been bridged or breached in any way.
This is a common cause of rising damp and involves something allowing the moisture to get in over the damp proof course, providing a ‘bridge’. Some common issues include higher ground on the exterior of your property such as a patio area that comes up to higher than your damp proof course, debris build-up causing a blockage in the cavity wall area, or structures like sheds or storage units that are kept outside the property alongside the exterior wall and are higher than the damp proof course. In most cases, removing these obstructions will stop the rising damp and prevent further damp from occurring.
If you live in a semi-detached or terraced property, the damp specialist may also want to speak to your neighbours about their damp proof course. This is because if your neighbours have a damp proof course installed on an adjoining wall that is higher up than yours, this can also bridge your damp proof course and provide the moisture with a way in.
How is Rising Damp Treated?
Before you can determine the best way to treat any rising damp in your home, it is first important to figure out the exact cause. Your damp specialist will carry out the full inspection of the property and damp proof course mentioned above in order to determine whether it’s a failure or a bridge of the damp proof course that is to blame, and to check that there is a damp proof course present at all. Once the main cause of the damp has been determined, there are several treatment options that might work best. In the case of when the damp proof course has been bridged, removing the bridge is usually the most effective course of action. How much work this is likely to be will depend on the type of bridge and where it is located. An exception to this is if your damp proof course has been bridged by a neighbour’s damp proof course being installed higher up. In this case, you will usually need to have a new damp proof course put into your property at the same level.
If there is no damp proof course present at your property, or the current damp proof course has failed over time and is no longer effective at preventing rising damp, then you will usually need to have a new damp proof course installed by a professional. While this might sound like an impossible job if your house is already constructed, the good news is that professionals have several options available to them for installing a damp proof course in an existing property.
This is a job that you should always have done by an experienced professional; avoid attempting to DIY since even small mistakes during the installation can lead to serious problems with your damp proof course down the line and might even cause the rising damp to come back.
To install a new damp proof course, most professionals will use a water-repellent chemical that is injected into your property’s bricks at about six inches above ground level, or at the same level as your neighbour’s damp proof course if that is the main issue for the rising damp problems.
Treating the Interior Effects of Rising Damp
Once a specialist has removed a bridge or installed a new damp proof course in your property, you should be able to reasonably expect that any rising damp issues will not return or get worse. You may need to do some work on the interior of your property to deal with the effects of the problem including mould treatments, replastering, or using damp-proofing undercoating before repainting or re-wallpapering the effected walls.
If you have noticed signs of damp on the ground floor near the skirting boards, it could be an indication of rising damp. Get in touch with a specialist who can help you determine the next best course of action to deal with the problem.