Rising Damp and Its Impact on Building Structures

Rising damp is a significant issue when it comes to buildings of all types and ages. It can damage the structural integrity of the building, affect indoor air quality and appearance. You have to understand what causes this and what the results of rising damp are so that you can ensure this can be prevented using tried and tested solutions.

Rising damp occurs

When groundwater seeps into porous building materials like concrete, masonry walls and brickwork. This moisture will then move upwards as a result of capillary action. When moisture moves upwards this way, you can notice visible signs of dampness in the building such as growth of mould, water stains, peeling or pain and decay of building materials. This is an issue that is more common in older buildings that don’t have good damp-proofing measures in place. But this can be seen in newer constructions as well when improper building techniques and practices are carried out. You can contact Combined Damp Solutions if you notice these signs so that they can inspect the building and come up with a solution. They will also investigate the causes of rising damp in the building. This can be because of the absence of a damp-proof course which is a horizontal barrier that is installed in walls so that moisture cannot travel upwards through capillary action. This layer can be deteriorated in older buildings or not installed properly which can lead to groundwater penetrating the walls.

Some areas can have high groundwater levels or poor drainage conditions.

Buildings in these areas are more susceptible to rising damp. Sometimes, external features like driveways, raised flower beds or paving can bridge the damp-proof course. Moisture can then bypass this barrier and enter the building. When there are porous materials, cracks or gaps in the building foundation or walls, this creates pathways for moisture to enter the building. With time, these conditions can get worse. Rising damage can weaken the building materials affecting the stability of the structure. It can lead to deterioration of the mortar joints and cracking. When there is excessive moisture, it creates an ideal environment for the growth of mould and mildew. This will compromise your indoor air quality and lead to many health risks. It can exacerbate respiratory conditions.

Interior finishes

Can be damaged leading to stains, peeling or blistering in paint, plaster and wallpaper. If you have wooden elements whether it is floor joints, skirting boards or timber framing, they can decay and rot. This will lead to structural weakness in wooden elements. You need to take a comprehensive approach when addressing rising damp. You have to repair or install the damp-proof course so that moisture can be prevented from rising through the building materials. You can inject a chemical damp-proofing agent into the walls. Another option is to install a physical damp-proof course made from plastic, slate or bitumen. Poor drainage or high groundwater levels can lead to rising damp so you can install drainage systems and improve landscaping so that water runoff can be prevented. Make sure to repair structural defects and improve ventilation in affected areas.