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Why rising damp occurs

Posted by Sachit Patel on April 06, 2011 (0 Comments)


rising damp is one of the most infuriating problems faced by a homeowner, and one of the most frustrating when trying to resolve it.  There are various solutions for different cases of rising damp, so it’s important to identify how the problem arises and what is going on within your walls.  What causes rising damp?  It’s the movement of moisture upward through permeable building materials by capillary action within the pores of its structure.  This moisture may dissolve soluble materials such as calcium salts along the way.  It eventually reaches the warmer interior surfaces of the walls where the water evaporates, leaving the salts on the surface as the familiar powdery coating which indicates a problem.

Houses are always built with protection against rising damp in the form of a camp course.  In older buildings this will be easily identified as a couple of courses of darker-coloured waterproof bricks at the bottom of the walls.  Modern buildings will have a stone or, more usually, plastic barrier between two courses of bricks, identifiable by the slightly thicker “gap” between the two courses.

Because these two solutions are almost universal, virtually any case of rising damp is caused by a breakdown of the protection.  In the case of waterproof bricks, this may be because they have become permeable over time.  If there is a plastic barrier, it may have suffered mechanical or chemical damage.  In either case, the integrity of the protection is compromised and capillary action is free to do its work.

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