Many homeowners simply paint over damp to try and hide the problem rather than try to find the source of the damp. Where any signs of damp occur in a home it is important to investigate and find the cause before you can proceed with curing damp walls. Slapping a coat of paint over any areas showing signs of damp causes further problems, as the constant supply of moisture is then diverted to other areas.
While there are many reason why damp can occur, most can be remedied quickly and without too much fuss.
Damp can be in or around the roof, walls, floors, windows or doors in any property. When you notice any signs of damp, no matter how small, look for the source of the problem. Often, a damp patch visible at the top of a wall inside the home can be caused by a blocked or leaking gutter outside. Similarly, a damp patch on the ceiling inside a home can be due to a loose or broken roof tile.
One common form of damp found in many homes is rising damp.
One of the most common damp problems in a home is rising damp. Where walls feel damp to the touch, or where paint and plaster is showing signs of deterioration on the lower sections of a wall, rising damp is normally the culprit.
Rising damp is caused by water soaking up through porous materials into the floors and walls of a building and usually occurs in houses which do not have a dampproof course, where the course has failed to work properly, or where exterior landscaping sits against the wall at a point higher than the dampproof course.
Any wall in contact with the ground can suffer from rising damp, thus affecting walls both inside and out - however it rarely comes up further than one metre in height.
How to treat rising damp
Rising damp is usually worse at the bottom of a wall than at the top. The most common cause is 'bridging' - when earth from the garden butts up directly on to the house wall and allows water ingress into walls, windows and doors. Where necessary, dig away any soil that is higher than the foundation to see if it makes a difference. If not, you may need to look into installing a dampproof course (DPC) - or if you have one, to have it checked out.
Waterproofing contractors offer homeowners the solution of injecting a chemical dampproofing into walls to remedy a failing or missing DPC course. This can be an expensive project, so take the time to investigate beforehand