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Rising Damp

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Rising damp can sometimes be a problem in older buildings, particularly those built before the 1970’s. It’s a potential headache for inexperienced home buyers and first time investors who don’t know what to look for as well as vendors who choose to ignore the issue.

In simple terms rising damp occurs when ground water travels upwards through porous building materials such as brick, sandstone, or mortar, much in the same way that oil travels upwards through the wick of a lamp.

Recognising the Problem

Signs that a house has a rising damp problem are stained walls, flaking or bubbling paint, salt residue, disintegrating mortar, and rotting timber skirting boards or door frames.

The Solutions

There are two methods of tackling rising damp. The removal and replacement of old affected bricks and or stone with new ones with a new plastic damp course underneath, called ‘Undersetting’. This method if done correctly will solve the problem, but is usually more costly, messy, time consuming and can compromise the structural integrity and the originality of the building. The other solution is to place a chemical damp course at the lowest point of the wall, to create a barrier preventing any more rising saline water entering the wall above this point. This is currently the most popular method used.

Leaving the problem unfixed will eventually compromise the house’s safety and can create health problems for those people residing in it. Seek professional advice promptly if you suspect your home has rising damp, especially now when the weather is fine.

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