Structural dampness is the presence of unwanted moisture in the structure of a building, either the result of intrusion from outside or condensation from within the structure.
A high proportion of damp problems in buildings are caused by condensation, rain penetration or rising damp.
Rising damp occurs when ground water travels upwards through porous building materials such as brick, sandstone, or mortar – the porous material of the wall literally sucks up the moisture like the wick of a candle. This usually happens in older houses, but can even happen in new houses, depending on the circumstances.
Dampness tends to cause secondary damage to a building. The unwanted moisture enables the growth of various fungi in wood, causing rot or mould health issues and may eventually lead to sick building syndrome. Plaster and paint deteriorate and wallpaper loosens. Stains, from the water, salts and from mould, mar surfaces. The highest airborne mould concentrations are found in buildings where significant mould infestation has occurred, usually as a result of severe water intrusion or flood damage. Moulds can grow on almost any surface and occur where there is a lot of moisture from structural problems such as leaky roofs or high humidity levels. Airborne mold concentrations have the potential to be inhaled and can have health effects.
Externally, mortar may crumble and salt stains may appear on the walls. Steel and iron fasteners rust. It may also cause a poor indoor air quality and respiratory illness in occupants. In extreme cases, mortar or plaster may fall away from the affected wall.
This rising damp condition results in paint bubbling and blistering and can even cause plaster to fall off. It is unsightly and the maintenance cost due to continuous replastering and painting can be quite high.
There are various treatments and materials that can be used to combat rising damp. There are also hundreds of contractors that are engaged in treating rising damp every day, and this website will be a resource to help home owners find help for their rising damp problem