Fundamentally, housing is made to protect us from the elements such as heat from the sun, the cold of the winter, the rain, other people, etc. Every part of a home, one way or another, is built so that it is supposed to make it last. The basic idea for longevity is prolonging the decay of the elements.
Rising damp happens when an exposed wall with porous materials is left exposed to groundwater. Porous materials will suck up the water(hence, rising dampness). Excess moisture can cause many issues ranging from sanitation to structural depending on how long the damp has been left untreated.
Rising dampness is often caused by underlying issues with your wall. Ideally, an engineer is supposed to design the building system so that this does not occur, but things can go wrong regardless of how much planning is put in.
When talking about rising dampness, we’re going into how unchecked moisture affects our homes. Moisture isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when it ends up in places that it shouldn’t be in, you should start to worry. Damp proofing is usually only done for external walls since these are the types of walls that are the most vulnerable to this kind of problem.
If you find rising damp inside your internal walls then it may be an indicator of a much more serious problem, as water shouldn’t be able to reach these areas of your home in the first place.
For example, a leaky pipe inside an internal wall can end up causing rising damp if left unattended long enough. Another possible scenario is having severely inadequate site drainage that can cause water to build up underneath the house; leading to further problems such as soil erosion by your foundation.
Internal walls have fewer weather-proofing installations installed into them, making them even more susceptible to damage from this cause.
The main cause of rising dampness is from a lack of water drainage within your lot. Water should never be building up in any place nor should be able to penetrate into a home under any circumstances. Site drainage should be designed to transfer any rainwater outside of your lot.
As mentioned earlier, rising damp is caused by groundwater being sucked up by your wall.
Water tends to be absorbed by porous materials since they have enough “space” inside them for water to seep into.
Generally, you’ll need to recheck your walls’ weather-proofing measures if you regularly find rising damp symptoms.
If you have a wall that already has too much water inside of it, the best thing you can do is first prevent it from spreading to the rest of your wall.
Before anything else, you first need to remove any existing finishes from the affected walls. Since these finishes already deteriorate, it only makes sense that you’ll be reapplying for new ones later on.
Once you remove your finishes, you should now check on the wall itself. You should be able to determine where the water came from and where it is spreading too. If you find that your damp-proofing is acceptable, there might be other objects in your wall that allow water to seep in.
A damp-proof cream is then injected into the wall to be absorbed by porous materials, which acts as a water-repellant that prevents any more water from being sucked in. The cream will push out any current water inside your materials which you can then clean up afterward.
Lastly, you’ll need to reinstall a new finish or reapply your previous finish onto your wall to seal it up from any other.
From there, it’s only a matter of time.
The best protection will always be prevention. Rising damp is just a symptom that there’s something wrong with how your building handles water, and with that, there are three things that we need to do to prevent unwanted water from entering our homes which are:
- Water Drainage
There’s a reason why most homes have roof eaves that extend past their walls to prevent water from directly hitting our homes. Generally, we want our roofs to handle the brunt of rainwater and redirect it(via a downspout) to a location where water can safely be moved to.
If you see water leaking along your walls, it can signify that your gutters are clogged/worn down or that your roof’s sealant has already deteriorated.
- Site Drainage
The general concept of site drainage is to use gravity to help remove water; this is done by adding a slight “slope” on ground level for water to travel.
Generally, you’ll want to deter water from building up around your walls. You’ll wish to the ground around your walls to be able to soak up water or transport it somewhere else.
Damp proofing is often employed to prevent groundwater and your walls from getting into contact in the first place. It’s usually around 6 inches thick(between the ground and your wall) and made out of durable, impermeable materials.
Aside from that, vapor barriers and good maintenance will prevent your walls from deteriorating.
There are three main ways that homeowners can prevent rising damp from happening in the first place. Aside from just rising damp in internal walls, making sure that your home’s protective measures are working well also protects your home from other problems caused by water damage.
Rising damp is caused by walls soaking up excess water. Walls with excess moisture in them can speed up deterioration and cause molds. To prevent all these, it’s essential to check if your home’s weatherproofing system and water drainage system are functioning correctly.