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Wondering what exactly is rising damp? It is a very common question and you are not the only one trying to figure out ‘what is rising damp?' In short, rising damp in buildings occurs when water from the ground rises up through the bricks and mortar of a building by capillary action. In simple terms, the water rises up the wall of a building in the same way that a sponge will soak up the surrounding water by a sink.
Any masonry structure unprotected by a properly installed course to prevent rising damp is susceptible to natural rising damp. Damp will rise by capillary action through the pores of the masonry seeking a means of evaporation.
The moisture will continue to rise until it reaches a height where, unless no evaporation is possible, gravity takes over and pulls it down again. This height is seldom more than 1.20m, although deposits of ‘salts’ may be found higher in the wall, often driven there by the use of non-breathing plasters, renders, ‘tanking’, paints or vinyl wall papers.
Click on the video to see a time lapse film of moisture rising through a reclaimed Victorian brick by capillary action.
The tell tale signs of rising damp include a "tide-mark" on the wall above skirting boards of up to 1 metre however, it is important to remember that there are many forms of damp that can affect a property. Check out our guide to how to identify rising damp for more information.
Still a little unsure about what is rising damp? View a video from the governing body of the damp industry.PCA explains rising damp
Want to learn more on how to treat rising damp? Check out our guide on rising damp treatments and solutions.Rising damp treatment
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