Have you noticed recently that your paint has started to bubble and peel in the corner of your room or your wallpaper just will not keep adhered to the wall in one particular spot?
Maybe you have noticed a musty smell that just will not go away. Rising damp could well be the cause of your problem.
What is Rising Damp?
Well the clue is in the name. Rising damp is moisture that is finding its way out of the ground and into your walls. Working by osmosis water will penetrate stone, brickwork, plaster and many other materials.
Modern buildings have a damp proof membrane built into the walls one or two courses above ground level. Take a look at your house and the chances are you will see a black line running along the brickwork. If you do, then you have a damp course membrane. It is a physical barrier that if intact is an effective barrier and will stop damp dead. A damp proof membrane sheet is also laid before the concrete floors are poured.
Causes of Rising Damp
Your home is surrounded with moisture in the ground and the most common cause of rising damp is a damaged or non existent membrane. You may have had some kind of building work undertaken that has broken the continuity of your damp course. Many old properties were built without any kind of protection against damp at all.
Depending on the severity of the problem, damage to property can become quite extensive if it is not dealt with quickly. Apart from the damage to brickwork and plaster itself, the raised moisture levels in the atmosphere can also cause problems with structural woodwork. It can also ruin carpets, furniture and as I have already mentioned, decor.
Health is another concern as moist air can exacerbate conditions such as asthma, COPD, etc.
Treating Rising Damp
First and foremost check that the outside of the wall is clear from any debris or soil. Check that there is not an overflow pipe leaking and causing the ground to be excessively wet. Can you identify damage to the damp course? If it is just a small area caused by trauma you may be able to conduct a repair yourself.
If everything is clear then it is likely that you have a damp course problem and it needs to be addressed.
It is important at this point that you speak to a specialist. A proper survey will be conducted and will recommend the correct treatment. This may involve replacement of the damp course membrane or possibly a chemical treatment that is injected into the wall to halt the damp in it’s tracks.
Identify and address damp problems early. The chances are the longer you leave it the more it will cost you in the long run. It is also never pleasant sitting in a room that obviously is suffering with this silently creeping affliction.
While you are waiting for your problem to be cured you could try and minimise the effect it has on the rest of your home. Remove wallpaper and check if the plaster is crumbly or ‘blown’ from the wall. If so this will have to be replaced anyway so you could remove it yourself. Ventilation comes next so get those windows open. Out with the bad air and in with the good. Dehumidifiers can be bought here or rented from your local hire centre if you really want to get serious.
Well I hope you have learned something here and have a good idea of where to start solving your problem. And with damp, you are not alone. It is the scourge of the homeowner.