In its simplest form, structural dampness refers to the existence of excess moisture in the interior or exterior structure of a building. The term ‘rising damp’ is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘permeable dampness’ but the reality is that dampness has two components. It can be either external or internal. The former is experienced by those people who live in buildings which are not properly sealed, and this is where condensation rises to the surface of the building. The moisture that seeps into cracks and crevices can lead to mould and mildew, as well as causing structural damage to the building.
The second kind of dampness is caused by condensation on the walls of buildings. This can result in water damage to the interior of the property and often the external environment, particularly in damp weather. If you live in a property that has experienced recent flooding, you may notice that the damp patches on the walls are often filled with water. If the walls have not been dried out completely after flooding, the damp patches will be filled with black soot. Black soot is the product of condensation and can make the home smell of mould and mildew which is very unpleasant.
The problem arises when there is an increased level of damp in the interior walls of a house, rather than just a noticeable amount of damp on the surfaces of the outer wall (which is quite common after heavy rain). This can be caused by a number of factors including cracked and crumbling plaster, a lack of cleaning damp proof tiles on the external walls and cracked and crumbling masonry.
What is rising damp if your walls are suffering from conditions such as subsidence? This is where the soil beneath your house has dropped lower than the level of the earth above it. The soil could be damp because it has absorbed moisture from the ground around it. You may also be suffering from subsidence if you have lost some of your soil or structural bricks (such as the bricks that line the interior of your house). It can also be caused by the loosening of soil due to historic flooding or even the movement of groundwater due to surface movements. Whatever the cause of the subsidence, it can result in dampness all over your property.
Sometimes water leakage can be very small and is undetectable to the naked eye. However, it can still cause dampness in your property. If you detect any damp areas in your home it is wise to contact a reputable damp specialist so that an accurate diagnosis can be made and the root cause identified. Before buying a property, make sure damp is checked in a Building Survey Reading from Sam Conveyancing
If you have detected moisture escaping from your roof or have noticed small damp spots on your ceiling or walls then it is possible that you are suffering from the effects of historic flooding. In most cases it is fairly rare for buildings to suffer from such a problem as they would usually have had a history of flooding. However, if you detect the presence of any evidence of water dripping from your property then it is wise to contact a reliable, damp expert to identify the cause and take action to stop the potential of water erosion.