Rising Damp FAQ

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Rising Damp FAQ

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Q: What is rising damp?

A: If you are unfamiliar with the term rising damp, it is a phrase that describes the slow upward movement of water from the ground in the lower sections of walls and other ground-supported structures, by capillary action.

Worst cases of rising damp have been reported to be 5 metres in height! In most cases, however, the height of rising damp is typically much lower and will rise to about one metre.
Rising damp has effected the structures of buildings since the first construction. Rising damp, similar to other forms of dampness, is often misdiagnosed in buildings. This is one of the reasons why it is important to take advice from a property care specialist.

Rising damp takes place when water from the ground travels upwards through the pore structure of building materials such as brick, sandstone, and mortar. This occurs much in the same way as oil travels upwards through the wick of a lamp. This movement is called capillarity and is due to an electrical charge drawing moisture up the wall.
Rising damp damage on the wallpaper

Q: Not sure if your property has rising damp? 

A: In severe cases Rising damp can be identified by a characteristic "tide mark". This mark is found on the lower section of affected walls where the rising damp is drying out through the plaster.

Rising damp bring nitrate and chloride salts up from the ground. These salts are called Hygroscopic which means the salts absorb moisture from the air. A tide mark starts to appear as the salts migrate to the surface creating marks on the wall surface. These marks appear due to the effects of evaporation, the salts begin to accumulate on the surface and start to draw moisture from the atmosphere which adds to the moisture from the ground. Get in touch with our damp proofing Scotland team for help on identifying rising damp.

Q: What does rising damp look like, what are the symptoms?

A: There are a number of ways you can spot the effects of rising damp. Each property is different and may have just one of the following symptoms:
  • Wallpaper becoming unstuck from the wall
  • Paint won't stick to the surface of the walls
  • Stains at the bottom of your walls
  • “Tidemarks” on the surface of the walls
  • Flaky plastering
  • White powder/crystals have begun to appear on the walls
  • Visible damp or wet patches
  • Crumbling mortar on the exterior of the building
  • Rusting steel and iron fasteners
rising damp symptoms - damaged wall
If you have noticed any of the following signs in your property, we advise that you call a member of the Richardson and Starling team ASAP.

If the damp marks in your property are higher than 1.0 metre, then there may also be a penetrating damp or condensation problem within your home or office. There may be more than one form of damp affecting your wall and this has to be diagnosed properly.

The first step to getting rid of your damp problem is phoning Richardson and Starling. Our team have the ability to eradicate and prevent further damp problems within your building’s structure.

Q: What causes rising damp?

A: Your property should be fitted with a damp proof course (DPC) which stops rising damp. This type of damp is a result of ground water breaching your damp proofing course and rising up through the buildings bricks and mortar. This is known as capillary action. Rising Damp can occur where a DPC has been fitted in the wall and caused by "bridging" or the breakdown of your damp-proof course that is otherwise working effectively.

If left untreated, rising damp can cause extreme damage to the structure of your property. The cost of damp-proofing will be small in comparison to repairing your home interior and exterior fabric that you may have to replace. Rising damp has the ability to destroy decoration, plastering, and can cause rot to the timber within your home. For example, a raised flower bed against a wall might result in soil being piled up above the level of the DPC. In this example, moisture from the ground would bridge the DPC and could rise up the wall from the soil.

Such a damp problem could be rectified by simply lowering the flower bed to below DPC level. Many damp proof courses are deteriorating due to age and failures to the DPC can happen at any point along the wall.

Has your home already been damp-proofed? In some cases, damp can be caused when a damp barrier becomes damaged or has not been installed properly and this is not uncommon. A member of our team will also look at other factors that may be causing the problem. Our team have years of experience working in property care and will look at factors such as leaking gutters, downpipes, and condensation.

Q: How high can rising damp go?

A: In practice Rising damp generally reaches the height of 1.0m however for various reasons the damp can go higher. If you are worried about damp rising within your property, it is advised that you contact a specialist as soon as possible. One of our team can visit your property to determine if Rising Damp does affect your wall and the exact height of the problem.

Q: How to fix a rising damp problem?

A: Rising damp should always be treated by a specialist. At Richardson and Starling, we have over eight decades of experience treating all forms of damp. We have fixed many properties that have faced problems with rising damp, take a look at our testimonials !
rising damp repairs in progress
In most cases, rising damp is caused by bridging of the damp proof course or a breakdown of the existing DPC. Buildings that are over 70 years’ old are extremely susceptible to the dangers of damp as their existing DPC and fabric may be deteriorating and not stopping damp entering the property. If you are the owner of an older property there are a wide range of possible solutions available, that can help you eliminate the risk of damp.

Q: How to prevent rising damp?

A: If you are concerned about damp affecting your property, Richardson and Starling can help damp proof your property. Making sure your property has a fully operational damp proof course in place, will eliminate the chances of rising damp, an investment that is extremely worthwhile in the long run.
After reading this, rising damp – may be a phrase that you want to avoid. No prospective buyer wants to hear that the property they are investing in has damp problems, therefore, investing in damp proofing should be at the top of your property care priorities. Rising damp is common, however if not diagnosed accurately and dealt with properly it can be extremely expensive to fix.

In most cases, if your property was constructed after 1857, it was most likely built with a protective damp-proof course. If you own a property which dates back longer than this, it might not have this protective barrier.

If you do suspect a case of rising damp in your property, we would advise that you speak to a specialist ASAP.

By arranging treatment with Richardson and Starling, we firstly assess the damp condition and damage to your property using our professional damp meters and applying our surveyors experience. We then advice the appropriate remedial treatment required to suit your property to solve the damp problem.
dry wall
If you are the owner of an older building, your property can suffer from failed damp proofing. If you suspect damp affecting your property you need a survey to diagnose the problem. If you are aware that your property has no damp proof course installed, give us a call today for more advice.
Call a member of our damp proofing team at your local Richardson and Starling branch today to begin the diagnosis and treatment of your damp problem. Our team can help you with the following treatments:
  • Install a replacement damp-barrier within your property.
  • Injection of a liquid or cream chemical damp proof course (DPC Injection)
  • Injection of chemical mortar DPC
  • Electrical-osmotic systems (Non chemical remedial DPC
Many homes can be restored using an electrical-osmotic system that introduces a very small electric current into the wall. This method repels rising moisture back down the wall which eradicates the rising damp.

We only use the best methods of damp-proofing to suit your property. If you are unsure about what any of our methods entail, we would be more than happy to talk you through the process.

 We take extreme pride in our customer service and we have the certification to prove it. Awarded “Contractor of The Year 2016 and 2017” by The Property Care association, your property will be in the best hands with a member of our team. Remember we have teams all over Scotland, including damp proofing Edinburgh specialists.

Q: Can Rising damp cause health problems?

A: This is a question that we are often asked at Richardson and Starling. In most cases, if treated quickly enough, you shouldn’t be too concerned about the effects of damp. The recognisable smell and look of damp may be unpleasant, however, the health risks are minimal if dealt with quickly. It is not good for people to live in damp conditions for an extended time and the problem needs to be resolved.

If you are living or working in a property that has extreme rising damp, this may lead to an outbreak of black mould as condensation could form on the damp wall areas within your property.

If you are concerned about the growth of black mould or damp within your property contact us today for more information. If you want to find out more about the health risks attached, visit the Property Care Association website.

Q: Is Rising Damp work guaranteed, covered by insurance?

A: Having property care completed in your home can be extremely stressful, therefore, our customers can take peace of mind that your damp proof course will be installed efficiently and correctly.

We believe that every property care specialist should give their customers long term guarantees. The length of the guarantee is detailed in our report and is automatically transferred to new owners. We are confident in the standard of our work that we are pleased to issue a guarantee you can trust.
  • 30-year guarantee for the treatment of Rising Damp, Dry and Wet rot repairs and woodworm treatment.
  • 10-year guarantee for Basement Waterproofing
  • 5 year guarantee on Timber window repairs
  • We can also offer an independent insurance backed guarantee should the client require this.
30 year guarantee on rising damp treatment works

Q: Damp Proofing Scotland: What is an average damp proofing course cost?

A: Every case of damp is different and depending on the scale and size of the problem costs to repair will vary. It is important that you have your property surveyed and an individual and specific report completed as soon as possible. Our service gives each customer an individual report with recommendations and quotation to fix the damp problem.

To make sure we are giving you the an accurate price, one of our surveyors will come to your property to investigate the problem. Once your property has been assessed we will discuss the findings with you and detail the way forward.

What areas of Scotland do we cover? 
rising damp treatment service coverage
Contact us today to organise a property survey. We have specialists across Scotland and Cumbria that can come to your property to do a full survey of your rising damp problem.

Expert Advice & Repairs Across Scotland and the North of England
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