RISING DAMP

Water.....rises in porous materials, against the force of gravity, by means of capillary action. Since most building materials are porous, water from the ground will rise up in the walls unless prevented by a damp proof course. Many older buildings in use today were constructed without damp proof courses but where included, settlement and vibration can often cause failure.

The Problem.....Persistent rising dampness will cause damage to the structure and is usually first noted by significant deterioration of internal decorations. Damp walls will create unhealthy living conditions. Plaster on the walls will deteriorate due to salts being carried up into the walls from the ground by the rising moisture. These salts are hygroscopic (i.e. attract moisture), and as the moisture evaporates, the salts are deposited on the wall surface. Considerable concentrations can form, which can attract moisture from the air, thereby increasing the signs of dampness, particularly under humid conditions. The deterioration of decorations is a common occurrence on walls affected by rising damp. Timbers in close contact with damp walls at low level, such as skirting boards and floor timbers, will often become attacked by one of the Wood Rotting Fungi.

HOW ABBEY CAN REMEDY THE PROBLEM

Inspection.....Inspection for rising damp must include consideration of all other possible causes of dampness. Frequently, suspected rising damp proves to be moisture from other sources such as leaks from defective plumbing, rain penetration, high external ground levels or condensation. The source of the problem initially is determined by the analysis of readings from an electronic moisture meter. Tests of this type are non-destructive and given the diagnostic approach and years of experience of our surveyors we can usually build up an accurate moisture profile in wall structures.