WHAT IS RISING DAMP ?
Rising damp is a natural physical phenomenon caused by ground moisture rising up a permeable masonry wall by capillary action. Water molecules have been shown to form dipoles (like magnets) that orient themselves to travel upward through the pores in walls.
A bit of science to understand the process of rising damp?
The water flowing in fault lines under a building create, through friction, an electric charge of between 50 and 500 millivolts. This capillary tension draws water up from the ground (+) into the walls (−).
Rising damp is charactersed by the presence of mineral salts in the walls, such as nitrates (derived from animal wastes), and sulfates (from rock).
HOW TO DIAGNOSE RISING DAMP ?
The visible signs of humidity issues
A visual assessment is the first essential step determine the origin of damp. At a certain stage, damp is detectable or even visible. A tide mark (generally seen as a wavy line sometimes up to 1.4 m high), loose paint, peeling wallpaper, flaking walls, stains, whitish or grayish crusting on walls (saltpeter), mineral salt blooms, etc.
In older constructions, the absence of a damp-proof footing barrier (on top of a masonry bed supporting the rest of the construction) is sometimes the source of this type of problem.
Analysis of mineral salts
Rising damp carries mineral salts such as sulfate and nitrate. For this reason, it is important to check for the presence of salts in the materials (using nitrate and sulfate test strips).
Through friction in the fault lines, water generates an electric charge that can be measured with a voltmeter.
This measures the moisture present in materials.
Carbide Bomb Test
This professional equipment is essential to measure directly humidity in the walls to obtain an accurate assessment.
WHY IS TREATING RISING DAMP IMPORTANT ?
Protect and maintain your property
Damp brings with it all sorts of damage to dwellings: mould, fungus, salt blooms, saltpeter, wood rot, unpleasant smells, etc. Damp eventually causes permanent harm to both the inside and outside walls of your building.
Avoid renovation work
The damage caused by rising damp to walls will eventually require the owner to carry out painting, plastering, and/or wall papering work.
Acting in good time allows significant savings to be made.
Ambient humidity increases energy consumption and means higher heating costs. Humidity in the air absorbs heat and so more heating must be provided to offset this loss.
A damp house can consume up to 25% more energy than a dry house. Its market value soon falls and selling it becomes more complicated.
Protect your familie’s health
In both children and adults, damp conditions can foster chronic illnesses and can cause various health disorders:
Allergies to mould and mites,
Respiratory illnesses, such as rhinitis, asthma, or bronchitis,
Joint problems, such as rheumatism and arthritis.
Children, who are naturally more susceptible, have between 1.5 and 3.5 times more risk of developing asthma or an allergy when living in a damp environment. In addition, an infant with asthma living in a damp environment is liable to develop a chronic cough.