Damp Proofing and Rising Damp

What is Damp Proofing?

Rising damp can be a serious problem for your home, as well as your health.

If left untreated, it can cause damage to the structure of a property. If your home is damp, this can cause mould to be released into the air.

When inhaled this can be very harmful to our health and even provoke respiratory issues like asthma.

Rising damp is usually only detected when it is visible inside the walls of a building. By this time, however, the problem would have been occurring for some time. As it often goes untreated for some time, this can lead to timber decay which can increase heat loss in your home.

As well as structural and health issues, damp problems also affect the aesthetic appeal of your home.

Watertight Homes are based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, and offer a complete service for all your damp proofing and waterproofing requirements. Our damp proofing surveys are carried out by our skilled surveyors and tradesmen.

Watertight Homes provide detailed damp proofing reports on all areas and quotations will clearly show any work that is needed.

Get reliable home maintenance services from the experienced team at Watertight Homes.

How to spot rising damp

Watertight Homes have been damp proofing homes for 19 years. If you suspect your property may be suffering from rising damp, then there some signs you can look out for:

Tide marks and stains on a wall

Salt or damp patches on a wall

Paint or plasterwork falling off

A cold or damp wall

Usually, damp begins to rise roughly 1 metre high, however, this does depend on the structure of the property. If your property is showing any of these signs of rising damp, or if you’re still unsure, then please do not hesitate to give us a call.

How does rising damp occur?

Properties are usually affected by rising damp when water begins to seep through the ground of a property and then into the lower foundations of a building. Many buildings are made from brick, which is a porous material, absorbing moisture over time. Eventually, in warmer temperatures, this moisture carries salts, and the ground water rises up the brickwork above floor level, to the rest of the walls of the building, this is called capillary action. If rising damp is left untreated, then these salts build up within the structure of the building and collect moisture, which causes rising damp.

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How To Treat Rising damp treatment

There are various methods of preventing and resolving rising damp in your home.

Damp proof course (DPC)

A damp proof course (DPC) is a water repellent physical barrier, used to prevent moisture from entering into a building’s interior. However, over time this horizontal barrier begins to wear. Other ways a DPC or damp proof membrane (DPM) can become redundant is due to structural changes to a property, for example, if patios or driveways are extended higher than the damp course, moisture will still be able to enter the interior of a building.

Interior & exterior survey

Lots of houses are treated for rising damp, when in fact they have issues with another form of damp. This means the original issue remains unresolved. It is important to be sure the property does have rising damp, before being treated. You can take a look by checking for any signs, which could be causing a rising damp issue. 

This would involve inspecting the exterior and interior parts of the property. Exterior parts would include:


High ground level

Rainwater goods

Bridged over existing DPC

Cracks in external walls

Air vents and air bricks

Window and door seals

Height of floors next door

Interior locations would include:

Rot at skirting boards

Signs of damp on all walls

Wooden ground floor rot

Salt deposits on internal walls

Mould growth

Also if your property has a cavity wall always ensure that the cavity is clear.

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Meter reading

Take meter readings of the affected ground floor walls if you have a damp meter.

If you do not have a damp meter you could use the back of your hand to check for any dampness at the top or bottom of the wall. A moisture meter is useful in establishing if your property has rising damp, however, cannot give absolute proof due to contamination of some walls.

If readings are higher at the bottom of a wall and cut off roughly 1 meter high, this is a clear sign of rising damp.

If readings are higher at the top of the wall, you have penetrating damp or condensation.

If readings are low at the top and bottom of a wall and concentrated in the middle of the wall 1 meter high, this is most likely contaminated plasterwork, or a failed treatment carried out previously. Re-plastering may be required if this is the case.

If the wall is damp for only 100 mm above a solid floor this is probably a defective DPC to DPM joint.

If you discover any of these signs it is possible to air out the room by opening the windows and heating the room.

If you are unsure, or the problem still persists, Watertight Homes’ skilled surveyors and damp specialists can carry out a professional service for you.

If your property is found to have rising damp, one of the most effective methods of treating rising damp is to inject a cream based silicone into the wall.

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