Is Penetrating Damp Covered by Home Insurance

Penetrating damp is one of the most common types of damp problems that property owners can encounter. If you are concerned about your property having a penetrating damp issue and want to see if it is covered by your home insurance this page will assist in what to look for. This page will provide you with a greater understanding of what causes penetrating damp and the steps you can take to protect your property against it.

Penetrating Damp Home Insurance

Most insurance companies fail to cover this issue. Initially we would recommend that you contact your insurance company and enquire what your cover allows for. The property defect which has caused the penetrating damp may be considered by many as a wear and tear property issue however the property defect may have been caused by storm or impact damage which may be covered by your home insurance cover.

If defects have been caused by lack of property maintenance, then this is generally not covered by home insurance; it is your responsibility to ensure the upkeep of your property. This relates closely to any roofing defects as a result of age. If a roof is encountering gradual wear and tear due to old age, then the property owner will need to pay for the maintenance of the roof. Only ‘definable events’ as detailed in your insurance policy allow for people to make claims to repair their roof. These are events such as a storm or fire.

Ten percent of property owners falsely believe that they can claim using their home insurance to treat damp issues on their interior walls. As all policies are unique then you need to check the detail and what is covered by your own specific insurance policy.

What is Penetrating Damp?

Penetrating damp is a common issue encountered by property owners, which tends to arise in properties which have been built with solid wall construction. This is also becoming a common problem in properties which have been built with cavity wall construction where cavity wall insulation has been installed poorly or been introduced in walls which are not suitable for the insulation material. Rain can also pass through a cavity wall through mortar obstructions within the cavity as well as incorrectly positioned wall ties.

Penetrating damp can also come through defective roofs or high ground levels. Penetrating damp tends to present itself as isolated patches of damp which increase after periods of heavy rain on external walls or ceilings where the roof is defective. This is a result of rainwater coming into regular contact with defective property fabric and results in saturation occurring. Penetrating damp tends to occur in properties within areas which are badly exposed to poor weather conditions, such as properties which are in open areas exposed to the elements or properties on the seafront where extreme bad weather can deteriorate the external fabric of your property.Penetrating damp can affect your properties ceilings, walls and roofs and it can happen at any level of a property. It is much more common in older properties as they are far more likely to have solid external walls. A newly built property with cavity walls provides properties with much more protection and as a result is less likely to suffer from penetrating damp.

Your damp walls are likely to be a result of property defects. These can be internal and external issues. Some of the most common external issues tend to be issues such as faulty downpipes, defective roofing, defective masonry and leaking gutters.

What Causes Penetrating Damp?

Penetrating damp can be caused by a wide variety of different causes within your property, some of the most common are listed below alongside some potential solutions:

  • Blocked Guttering and Downpipes – This can often be the source of penetrating damp. Fortunately, repairing or unblocking these gutters provides a very simple fix to resolving these issues.
  • Cracked Rendering – If the render is damaged this will allow water to penetrate through it, this can result in small cracks which should be patched with new render. These can become worse in winter when water enters between the render and the brick and freezes, thus causing the render to lose adhesion and is pushed of the brick.
  • Roof Damages – Damaged or slipped slates / tiles and defective flashings can result in water ingress. These defects should be repaired by a qualified roofing contractor.
  • Porous Bricks or Stone – As time progresses, bricks may become damaged. If they have become porous and allowing for water to penetrate through them then these bricks or stones will need to be repaired or you will need to apply a waterproofing render or solution which will protect the masonry.
  • Damaged Windows – Check windowsills in order to ensure that their drip grooves are not blocked. Dirt and moss can easily build up in these grooves preventing the shed of water. Windows should be regularly checked with pointing, putty and any timber defects repaired to stop penetrating damp occurring. Aging or badly damaged windows may need to be entirely replaced depending on the condition that they are in.

What Areas Can Get Affected by Penetrating Damp?

As previously briefly mentioned, buildings with solid walls are much more likely to be affected by penetrating damp. This is a result of moisture penetration being much more likely than cavity wall construction. Cavity wall construction ensures that there is a gap between the internal and external walls which is enough to keep the water out from your property.

However, despite this additional precaution against water gaining access to your property cavity walls are still not entirely immune to penetrating damp occurring. Wall cavities can regularly become blocked in places which can provide water with a bridge for it to travel over. Furthermore, many properties will be retrofitted with insulation which fills this gap in the cavity walls. In the event of walls being subjected to lengthy periods of heavy rain, in conjunction with external defects, this can easily result in water penetration through the external wall and soaking the insulation. This wet insulation then transmits the water onto the inner wall which results in damp areas on the internal wall.

Penetrating Damp Survey

If you suspect a penetrating damp issue in your property you should seek professional advice. Richardson & Starling specialist surveyors are fully qualified to identify penetrating damp issues. Once the survey has been carried out, they will provide a detailed report on the cause of the damp issues which they identified during their survey of your property. This survey will detail the source of the damp problem and the necessary treatments and repairs which are required to resolve the problem.

Richardson & Starling’s surveyors are CRST (Certificated Surveyor in Remedial Treatment) qualified which means they are highly trained with regards to providing the most accurate and appropriate solutions to all types of damp issues which could affect your property.

For advice on damp problems in your property please contact your local Richardson & Starling branch and the team will be pleased to help.Concerned about Penetrating Damp affecting your property? Contact your local branch for advice or a property survey to regain your peace of mind.