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Key to treating rising damp

The key to controlling rising damp, just like any other form of damp, is ensuring that you have got to the root cause of the issue. Failure to do so will likely result in the damp problem returning. Where you are unsure of the cause of any damp it is prudent to get the opinion of a qualified specialist. 

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Finding & checking your current damp proofing barrier prior to treating rising damp

For roughly the last 150 years most properties have been constructed with built in control against rising damp in the form of a damp proof course (DPC). This is normally visible if you do an external search of your house and should ideally be located two bricks above ground level. 

In many instances where dampness is found in the base of a wall and a physical damp proof course is present, it is unlikely to fail and it is more likely to have been compromised in some way, for example high external ground levels such as raised flower beds or pathways. 

Where possible eliminating the “bridge” is the best course of action and eliminates the route water is using to get into the wall. Of course this is not always possible e.g. a raised public highway to the front of the property, or it may not be the cause of the problem and more extensive remedial works will be required. 

Rising damp treatment - PCA

2 key considerations when treating rising damp

With any treatment of rising damp there are two main considerations, the first is to control the source of moisture and the second is to remedy salt deposits

Water rising from the ground often introduces contaminating salts into the walls and plaster coats. These salts can cause the appearance of damp to remain even when the source of the moisture has been stopped. These salts normally concentrate in a band in the upper area of dampness where the greatest level of evaporation occurs.  For this reason the control of rising damp is normally considered a two stage process. 

Controlling the salts typically means removal of contaminated plasterwork and either isolating from the finishing plaster or reinstating using specially formulated salt resistant plasters.

Decayed skirting boards and timber floors are also common when walls are affected by rising damp. These will also need to be considered during the treatment and the full extent of these issues may not always be apparent in the first instance. For more info see timber decay treatment section.  

Methods used to treat rising damp

There are many methods that can be deployed to control and treat rising damp and the route you choose will depend on many factors including age, construction type, and access amongst others.  However speaking to a specialist will help to determine the best method for you and your property. 

The installation of a retrofitted physical damp proof course is often regarded as the best long term solution. However this type of system is limited to certain construction types and is not suitable for flint or unusually thick walls. In reality, in most instances, the most economically viable option is the installation of a chemical damp proof course. 

There are specialists that can help...

Investigating and treating rising damp is a skilled job. Our specialist PCA damp & timber members can help. Most will be happy to offer some advice over the phone, and if you take some pictures (or potentially a short video), many will likely be happy to help confirm if you have an issue. You can (of course) simply arrange a survey too.
 
To find a registered PCA specialist near you, simply use the search tool below. 

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