Rising damp is relatively a rare form of damp that affects our building walls. Rising damp occurs when moisture that is from the ground travels up through the walls via capillary action. This implies that water from the ground is actively sucked up through the tiny pores found in the bricks, just like a series of straws. Most of the time, this underground water contains salts that also travel up via the wall.



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The Signs

Of Rising Damp

You can identify rising damp without the help of a professional or equipment. Just by looking or touching your walls is enough. Typical signs that can be used to identify rising damp include:

Damp staining and tide marks

One of the most common signs to identify damp and are staining and tide marks that are left on the walls. Tide marks are usually caused by salt and evaporation from the ground. If you don’t notice any tide marks, another common sign is damp staining or patches. Mostly, these damp patches are brownish or yellowish and are similar to tide marks, and you’ll notice them up to one or two metres above the skirting board. 

Decayed skirting boards

Just like any other form of dampness, rising damp has got the potential to cause rot in timber when they come into contact. Look out for cracked skirtings, have localised fungus growing on, are easy to crumble or are creeping out of the side. Also, look out for flaky or damaged paint. 

Peeling wallpaper 

Look out for wallpaper peeling or coming off the wall. You will most likely notice it from the skirting board first with the corner of the wallpaper curved or  turned up.

Salt within the plaster

This salt is usually found in the form of fluffy white deposits within the plaster. These salts are washed off your bricks and into the plater, leaving what looks like blister patches on your wall.

What causes rising damp

With the amount of rainfall that we experience, it’s no surprise that you might occasionally notice rising damp issues in your homes. But what are the major causes of rising damp in our homes?

A large proportion of damp issues in our homes/buildings are caused by things like rain penetration, condensation, pipe leaks and rising dampness.


Leaks, especially from damaged pipes, can cause damp in our homes/properties causing problems like wet rot and penetrating damp. Mostly, the results leakages are localised to one area off the wall.

If the ground floor or the basement of your home and damp seems to be localised to the bottom of the walls, then it is most probably the cause of damp is as a result of your damp proof course being faulty or bridged resulting in rising damp.

Rising dampness

Treatment of rising damp

Since rising damp cannot be dealt with more straightforwardly, it can be a little bit more costly than other types of damp treatments. Here are some damp treatment options:

  • Insert or repair a damp-proof course.

The most common solution for damaged or missing damp-proof course is for a damp specialist London or a builder to drill some holes into your wall and inject a damp-proof cream to act as the new course.

Moreover, there are additional solutions like cutting grooves into the brickworks and inserting a new piece of a damp-proof course rather than a chemical one. This is more viable rather than just drilling holes, so it is less hidden.

  • Replace or repair a damp-proof membrane

If the patch of damp on your walls or floors is small, you may remedy it through painting over the spot to prevent more water from coming through. For extra protection, Damp Proof London recommends laying a reflective built paper as well before the paint dries up.

This is only applicable for minor cases though. If the damp is very severe, you may need the damp-proof membrane entirely replaced. This is necessary, especially if the damp is widespread or maybe other solutions have not worked.

  • Check the exterior level ground

If you have a viable damp-proof course, your damp problem could be because the ground outside has built up on top of your damp-proof course, which is supposed to be 15 cm above the ground level.

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