What Is Rising Damp?

Rising damp describes the process of water from the ground entering a building by being absorbed through the pores in the brickwork. This water is typically either groundwater or rain, it rises up the walls due to the porous nature of the masonry. Without proper damp proofing, the water can rise up to about 1.5 metres from the ground level and cause damage to the building.

To prevent this, it’s crucial to have an effective damp proofing solution in place.

Do you have a rising damp problem?

The most common causes of Rising Damp are:

Building Defects

  • Cracked masonry or brickwork
  • Poor external drainage
  • The lack of a suitable damp proof course
  • Improper construction methods

Rising damp can be caused by any building defect that provides an open pathway for moisture to enter the interior of your property from the exterior. To effectively resolve the problem, it’s crucial to address the underlying cause of the damp, rather than just applying temporary damp treatment solutions. Fixing the root cause will help prevent future moisture issues and ensure the long-term integrity of your building.

The Lack of a Damp Course

If a property was built before 1875, it may not have had a damp course installed as these only became mandatory after this time. Also, it is possible for the damp course of a property to break down over time.

Where a property does not have the protection of a damp course, it is likely that rising damp will eventually be an issue. If you believe that your damp course is failing, you should contact an expert as soon as possible.

High Ground Levels

When the ground levels surrounding a building are too high, external walls and masonry are in constant contact with water-saturated soil and earth. This can cause moisture to enter the walls and result in rising damp. To avoid this, it’s essential to keep the ground level around the building at a suitable height and separated from the walls.

For information on how ground levels can affect your home, get in touch.

Signs of Rising Damp

Rising damp is a common problem in Yorkshire and can lead to a variety of health and structural issues if left untreated. Here are 10 signs of rising damp to keep an eye out for:

  • Peeling or blistering wallpaper: This can be a result of moisture in the walls which can indicate the presence of rising damp.
  • Skirting board damage: Skirting boards can become damaged or discoloured due to moisture in the walls.
  • Musty or damp odours: A musty or damp odour can indicate excess moisture in your home or building.
  • Stains on walls: One of the most common first signs of rising damp, stains and/or yellow rings on walls and ceilings.
  • Deteriorating or rotting timber: Timber that has been affected by rising damp can become weakened and deteriorate over time, leading to structural problems, which are often expensive to repair.
  • Mould growth: Mould growth can occur in areas with high humidity, such as areas with walls affected by rising damp.
  • Black mould: Black mould is a type of mould that can be harmful to your health and can be a sign of high humidity levels in a building.
  • Salt Deposits: Salt deposits appear as white, powdery substances that form on walls. They’re a result of salts from the ground being carried into the building by rising damp.
  • Warped or distorted floorboards: Warped or distorted floorboards can be a result of moisture entering the floor from rising damp in the walls.
  • Crumbling or flaky mortar: Crumbling or flaky mortar can be a result of rising damp and can weaken the structure of the building over time.

Addressing rising damp as soon as it’s noticed is the best way to prevent further damage to the building and its structure, and to avoid potential health issues. A professional damp specialist can help diagnose the root issue and recommend an appropriate treatment.

Effects of Rising Damp

Rising damp can cause a range of negative effects on a building.

  • Structural damage: Rising damp can cause damage to the walls, floors, and foundations of a building. The longer it’s left untreated, rising damp can cause serious structural issues.
  • Health hazards: Mould growth, which can occur as a result of rising damp, can lead to a range of health problems, including respiratory issues, allergies, and infections.
  • Deterioration of building materials: Rising damp can cause materials such as timber, wallpaper, and plaster to rot, deteriorate, or become discoloured over time. The repairs for these often resulting in a far higher cost than if a damp treatment had been properly implemented.
  • Pest infestation: Rising damp can create an environment that is desirable to pests like woodworm and other insects that feed on damp wood.
  • Reduced energy efficiency: Damp walls can reduce the energy efficiency of a building, making it more expensive to heat and maintain a comfortable temperature.

rising damp

Rising Damp Treatments we use

ALLDAMP Render Additive

When added to a mixture of sand and cement, ALLDAMP Render Additive can create an extremely effective damp proofing barrier to prevent rising damp making its way onto the internal surfaces of a property’s walls. ALLDAMP Render Additive is not a typical product; it is a specialist additive, which together with the sand and cement forms a barrier to water ingress. This solution can be effective either in conjunction with a chemical damp course or as a one-product solution where other methods of preventing penetrating damp are impractical.

ALLDAMP Damp Proofing Membrane

Damp proofing membranes are a hardened, plastic-like material designed to provide a lasting impenetrable barrier to keep water at bay. Sheets of a damp proofing membrane are installed behind plasterboard, to form a continuous, sealed barrier which is let into the floor and ceiling (if necessary) to prevent water ingress. Damp proofing membranes are commonly used in cellars and basements as they are particularly effective at preventing lateral penetrating damp. One limitation of damp proofing membranes is that fixing points for pictures and other wall-mounted furnishings have to be agreed prior to its installation to prevent the membrane being later punctured by a screw or nail. Special fixing points should be accommodated for when installing a membrane so that the room can be used as normal without limiting furnishings or risking a breach of the membrane.

Allerton ALL DAMP DPC Gun
ALLDAMP Chemical Damp Proof Course

A chemical damp proof course can be a cost-effective way of quickly inserting a new damp proof course into a property which has had no damp proof course or the existing course has broken down. Generally, chemical damp proof courses are more effective in traditional brick-built walls as wall thickness and the material used can play a part in how effective the chemical damp proof course is. In cases where the wall is not of a traditional brick construction, one or more of the other methods mentioned here may be suitable.


Is rising damp dangerous?

Rising damp can be a dangerous problem. The effects of rising damp pose a range of health hazards to those living in affected properties.
In addition to the structural damage that it can cause to a building, rising damp can lead to the growth of mould and other allergens, which can trigger respiratory problems, allergies, and infections in some people.
As rising damp causes the structure of a building to deteriorate and weaken, it can become seriously dangerous for anyone using the building.

What happens if rising damp is untreated?

If rising damp is not treated, it can cause structural damage, damage to plaster and paint, health problems, increased energy costs, and unpleasant odours. It is important to address rising damp promptly to prevent these issues.

How can I tell if I have rising damp?

Rising Damp is often misdiagnosed by homeowners and some lesser-experienced professionals/ tradespeople, and is often confused with condensation. In a worst-case, but somewhat common scenario, condensation will be mistaken for rising damp and the wrong remedy will be carried out for the problem, wasting time and money. Our Surveyors have advanced surveying equipment and are highly-experienced in the diagnosis of rising damp. To be sure that you always get a proper diagnosis for rising damp treatment, contact an expert for a survey today.

Can rising damp be completely eliminated?

Rising damp can be effectively treated and managed, however, it may not always be completely eliminated. Consistent maintenance and preventive measures are vital when keeping rising damp under control.

Could I fix rising damp myself?

Minor cases of rising damp could potentially be treated with DIY solutions, however, in more serious cases intervention will be required to treat the extent of the damage and implement the appropriate remedies.

This is where we come in, our expert surveyors will assess the damage caused by the rising damp and deem the appropriate next steps.

Check out our discounts and offers page for potential discounts on our services and products.

Find Your Local Damp Proofing Specialist

Contact Us To Book A Survey

Whatever your needs, a member of our Customer Care Team will be happy to hear from you. They are trained in all areas of our work from damp proofing to cellar conversions and will aim to help you as far as possible at the initial stage. They’re friendly, approachable and they always have time to discuss your property needs.


©2024 | Allerton Damp Proofing Ltd is a Company Registered in England No. 2023575 | VAT Registration No. 381 4256 53 | FCA Registration No. 791947