The Top 5 Causes Of Damp

A guest blog by Tapco Homedry.

One of the most damaging and common problems found in the home is damp. The issue is caused by the build-up of excess moisture within a building, from either internal condensation or intrusion outside, and can often be blamed on shoddy build quality, inadequate building maintenance or the deterioration of building fabric. Dampness that is left untreated can evoke other problems such as wet or dry rot.

Rising Damp

Rising damp is the common term used to describe the movement of water from the ground which rises up walls and other ground-supported structures via capillary action. In basic terms, rising damp occurs when ground water travels upwards through porous building materials such as bricks and mortar. The absorption of water can damage the wall’s plaster, joinery, timber floors and home décor.

Rising damp can be distinguished by a tide line of yellow or brown staining, or blown plaster in the lower areas of wall above the skirting board, which can also be teamed with the delight of rotting skirting boards of flooring. The damp can reach heights of 1.2 meters before gravity counteracts the upwards force of capillary action.

Other signs of rising damp can include white, fluffy deposits in your plaster – these are salts which has been washed from your bricks. This may also be accompanied by black spots of mould.

Many people aren’t aware of in the indicators of rising damp and simply repaint over affected sections. This may be a quick visual fix and offer peace of mind for a limited time but all cases of rising damp will need to be treated by a specialist.

Lateral Penetrating Damp

Lateral penetrating damp is normally found on walls below ground floor level, within a basement area, or where the walls are earth retaining; causing damp patches and mould growth internally to basements and cellars below ground. The damp penetrates under hydroscopic pressure and can cause considerable internal damage.


Condensation is caused by high humidity, particularly during cold weather. Bathrooms with little to no ventilation can feel the wrath of this foe due to the area being constantly moisture ridden and steamy. It can be distinguished by Black Mould Fungus, also referred to as Aspergilla. This fungus is very damaging to property, furniture, clothing and is extremely bad in terms of health; causing the infection Aspergillosis, chronic coughing, headaches, chronic fatigue and rashes.

Keeping areas well ventilated, until they can be treated by a specialist, is the best course of action. Solutions such as thermostatically controlled condensation units, passive vapour vents, and extractor fans can all be implemented to stop the issue developing again in the future.

Rain Penetration

Rain penetration is simply rain entering a property due to building faults or deterioration. The most common areas of construction that can be affected by rain penetration are roofs, walls, chimneys and openings such as windows or doors. Spillage from gutters and downpipes can also be an issue if incorrectly maintained. Rain penetration is distinct from other forms of dampness, such as condensation and rising damp, which require different solutions.

Rain penetration can often be distinguished by green patches on the external walls of a property, or roof tiles laden with vegetation. Unfortunately, despite the eyesore, rain penetration often causes most havoc from within structures, such as walls, which cannot be seen by the human eye and often only noticed when the damage has already been done.

Water Damage

Leaking plumbing, burst pipes, leaking roofs and actual flooding are all causes of water damage. The extent of any water damage will depend on the amount of water and length of time that it has been leaking but, is usually covered by home insurance which can allow some to breathe a sigh of relief.

Restoration after water damage will vary depending on the location and amount of destruction. Initially dehumidifiers and drying fans will often be installed to make restoration work easier when it commences. For those whose properties are affected, all saturated joinery and plaster will have to be removed and replaced using new pre-treated timber and a damp proof plastering system.

If unattended, all damp issued can lead to attacks from various fungi, such as Dry Rot Fungus and the previously mentioned Black Mould Fungus, which can amount to huge costs and affect the health of those in the property. If you fear you have a damp problem, it is best to be accurately diagnosed immediately and, with over 45 years of experience, Tapco Homedry are one of London, Surrey and the Home Counties longest established damp proofing specialists. Their expert surveyors can instantly diagnose the cause of all damp problems in buildings and recommend the correct treatment to cure it once and for all.

Disclaimer – This is a guest blog written by a third party. This blog does not represent the views or opinions of Right Surveyors Ltd or any of its affiliated companies.