There are many types of damp but rising damp is the most worrying. Rising damp is a worldwide phenomenon. It is one of the major causes of the decay of building materials such as stone, bricks and concrete. Even in its initial states, it can damage external finishes and create unpleasant smells.
If you are facing a damp problem in your home, it is important that you identify the signs early on and investigate the underlying causes. It is essential to identify the causes before you can start the rising damp treatment. Here we will discuss the causes of rising damp, its symptoms and how to damp proof your house.
Rising Damp is the slow movement of water from the bottom of walls to the higher part. It is a common problem in older buildings as well as new homes with construction flaws.
It happens when moisture in the ground rises through small cracks in masonry work and the gaps between bricks and due to the adhesive property of water which allows it to move upwards and pull other droplets along with it. The process is known as capillary action.
When moisture deposits in the walls of a building, it can cause substantial damage to its appearance over time. Therefore, it is important to detect the causes to avoid further damages.
What Are The Causes?
Damp is closely associated with the presence of mould in any part of the building which is affected by moisture. Mould has a high growth factor and can spread rapidly under favourable conditions. It is yet, one of the main reasons of damp problems because it promotes the spread of moisture.
Most people may think damp comes from the wall, but most of the time, it originates from the ground. Rising damp occurs when the moisture sitting under a house comes out in the form of humidity.
Signs Of A Rising Damp
You might not be an expert in diagnosing damp problems, but knowing the signs can help you decide if you need to carry out a rising damp treatment in your home. Here are some tale signs of rising damp that can help you in determining if the damp in your home is a rising damp or just a mere splash of water caused by a leaking pipe. Some of the common symptoms are;
- Rotting wood frames
- Deforming skirting boards
- Paint coming off from walls
- Mould growing on wall and furniture
- Bubbling plaster
- Tidemarks on walls
- White powder appearing on walls
What Can It Do?
Rising damp can cause many aesthetic, structural and even health related problems.
Aesthetically, rising damp can produce cracks in the walls and plaster which cause the paint to peel off or have bubbles in the surface. It also creates tide marks that can make the walls unsightly. Any house affected by rising damp can not look attractive at all.
As we mentioned earlier, damp can also attract mould which can become a significant health hazard. It can house many allergens, microbes and pathogens which can survive in moisture and enter our bodies through lungs, causing asthma, allergies, cold and flu.
The third biggest danger of rising damp is the damage it can potentially do to the structure of a building. Damp works like a slow poison for the building structure and causes irreversible damage to your property.
It can also attract pests like termites that eat damp timber. Cockroaches are also more likely to inhabit such areas.
Solutions To Fix Rising Damp
One of the ways of damp proofing is to create or repair the damp proof course. Modern building methods can treat rising damp and prevent it from reoccurring for a long time. The treatment works by cutting the contact of moisture from the building structure to prevent dampness from moving upwards along the walls. This procedure requires more time and is often very expensive.
Aside from damp-proof course, there is another method much commonly used as an alternative to the expensive rising damp treatment. This process involves drilling holes into each brick near the floor level and pumping in a silicon based waterproofing mixture by high-pressure equipment. It makes the bricks waterproof, preventing moisture from rising.
How Can We Help?
Rainbow International are experts in detecting and remediation of the causes of damp. We perform a comprehensive diagnosis with a plan for remedial action to eradicate the damp and mould problem. We use a three level process which deals with damp and condensation problems in any property.
- Risk Assessment
Before any survey, we carry out a complete risk assessment which identifies the potential hazards of the dampness.
Our fully experienced technical team then surveys the property to uncover the causes of damp infiltration inside the property. We carefully examine both, the internal and external sides of the property.
- Remedial Action
After the survey, a report is sent to the homeowner, landlord or other instructing parties for approval. The report underlines the causes of damp and its severity, associated risks and the proposed method of remediation. Once approved, we commence the treatment which may include the following actions.
- Washing, spraying or fogging of the damaged areas with an appropriate anti-microbial to sanitise the contaminated surfaces.
- Removal of plaster and wood from places where contamination is severe.
- If necessary, an air sterilisation unit can be deployed to kill all airborne spores released from the mould.
- Installation of drying equipment, which includes dehumidifiers, air movers and heaters. This is done to make sure the moisture and relative humidity levels match the healthy living conditions.
- Monitoring of drying regime – to make sure that suitable damp free conditions are maintained.
- Installation of appropriate ventilation systems (if appropriate).
- Replacement of units and building materials that are beyond repair.
- Redecoration after cleaning and sanitization.
- Issuance of certificate to confirm the restoration is complete and that the home is free from damp and mould.
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