What is the problem with damp in buildings?

Whatever the source of damp, its potential to compromise the integrity of a structure can be significant. Notwithstanding the fact that it is often unsightly, the longer the cause of the damp it is left untreated, the greater the risk there is of serious issues developing.

When assessing a building for dampness, it is important to consider all possible sources of water. Damp in buildings is not always rising damp, there are many reasons for walls to be damp. All potential sources should be investigated such as defective gutters, drains, plumbing, lateral water penetration etc.

Rising damp issues in the home

Types of Dampness:

Rising Damp

Rising damp can occur in both internal and external walls. Moistures draws up, by means of capillary action, from the ground the walls are in contact with. Typically rising damp will travel up a wall between 1.20 and 1.50 metres above external ground level.

There are several reasons why rising damp may appear within a structure. It may be that the building pre-dates a time when damp proof courses were ever installed. It may be the case that an existing damp proof course has failed or perhaps was poorly installed. 

A common first indication that a structure may be suffering from rising damp is the deterioration of internal finishes, such as plaster beginning to de-bond or wallpaper starting to peel off. The salts that are drawn up with the moisture through the capillary network can have a devastating impact, both aesthetically and structurally, on the wall that is subject to the rising damp. Not only this, rising damp can also pose serious health hazards to those exposed to it, particularly if mould develops, such as allergic reactions and respiratory problems.

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Penetrating Damp

Penetrating damp is often mistaken for rising damp. Whilst symptoms can be similar, the source of the damp within the wall is different. Penetrating damp comes through the wall laterally, typically being driven in by rain. The porous nature of most walls then draws the moisture in, eventually resulting in it reaching the internal face of a structure.

Faulty guttering is a common culprit for causing penetrating damp. Poorly-designed, blocked or broken gutters can result in rainwater overflowing and running down the surface of a wall. Equally, at the bottom of a wall, where rainwater splashes off the ground on to the wall, typically off paved areas, penetrating damp can also occur.

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moss on exterior wall


Moss will grow pretty much anywhere that has enough water. It is not kind to any building material. It’s very function is to break things down, and that’s what it will attempt to do to a structure. Not only does it have this destructive force, but moss can also conceal fungi forming on surfaces, which can have an even more devastating impact on the integrity of a structure.

By its very nature, moss will almost certainly exacerbate damp problems within a building. Whether this be by blocking a gutter which in turns results in penetrating damp occurring, or whether by it growing on a wall and being saturated in rainwater, allowing the moisture to be held longer on the wall’s surface. It is essential to stop moss growing in order to protect a building.

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The Solution

Whatever the source of these common damp problems, Freezteq can help. We realise how important it is to deal with these challenges quickly and effectively, not only from a structural perspective, but also a health one.

Freezteq products have been used for some 60 years to help people protect and take pride in their buildings. We keep this ethos at the heart of our business, which is why we are constantly expanding our product range to ensure you can look after your building. Our latest range, though not associated with damp issues, is our Anti-Graffiti product which can help protect against unsightly disfiguration of surfaces.