10 Signs of Rising Damp

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There are 3 types of damp that can affect properties – condensation, penetrating damp and rising damp. Rising damp occurs when ground water soaks into a wall or floor – similar to how a sponge absorbs water. A damp proof course and membrane stops water causing damage to a property by sealing and protecting it. A damp proof course is built into a wall above ground level with a damp proof membrane laid beneath a concrete floor. Newer houses will have a damp proof course and membrane although houses built prior to 1875 may not.

Damp proofing can get damaged over time, which can result in rising damp. It could also be the level of the ground is higher than the damp proof course or there is something amiss with drainage. The key signs of rising damp to look out for include:

  • 1. Tide marks on the inside and outside wall; usually no more than a metre above ground level
  • 2. Damp stains above the skirting board
  • Signs of Rising Damp - Rotting skirting boards
  • 3. Crumbling or rotting skirting boards
  • 4. Discoloration or staining on walls
  • 5. Deposits causing blistering on walls
  • 6. Black mould
  • Signs of Rising Damp - Wallpaper
  • 7. Peeling wallpaper
  • 8. Rotting floor boards
  • 9. Raised floor coverings
  • 10. Smell – you can often smell damp even if you can’t actually see it

The cause of the damp needs to be identified before it can be removed as different damp issues can require different treatments. Frank Schrijver are rising damp specialists with their innovative Schrijver System an economically friendly way to lower humidity levels inside your property, leading to dry walls and continuous protection against damp.

Working with natural ventilation processes, it permanently removes rising damp. Installed outside your home, dry air flows through a series of handmade elements. This causes a drop in temperature and a “cold bridge”, taking moisture from the wall interior where it is deposited within the element. This then evaporates outside resulting in continuous damp protection.

The Schrijver System is the green alternative to damp proofing. With a lifetime guarantee, there’s no mess or redecorating required, and it’s kinder to the environment as no harsh chemicals are used. To find out more about the Schijver System, please contact us on 01689 800101 or email info@damp.co.uk

Don’t let Santa get damp – dealing with a damp chimney

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Chimneys and flues are often subjected to intense cycles of hot and cold. With chimney stacks open to the elements, defects like damp can occur in chimneys that are used or redundant. This could be due to moisture and sulphates combining to form weak acids that attack lime, mortar joints and brickwork. Or it might be the moisture levels in a chimney have increased due to one end being sealed. Typically, however, the main causes of damp in chimneys are rain, condensation or salt contamination.

  • Rain can enter a chimney down the flue if chimney pots are uncapped, around defective lead flashings or through the wall of the chimney stack.
  • Condensation-based issues are more likely to occur in flues that remain in use as burning fuel produces water vapour.
  • Salt contamination in the plaster of a wall can also cause damp. This is more common in older chimneys and it can be the result of coal previously being burnt in the fireplace. Coal contains salt minerals like nitrates, chlorides and sulphates that can migrate from the brickwork into the wall plaster. These damp patches can often worsen when the weather does.

Coal burning in the fireplace

Identifying the cause of a damp chimney

It’s worthwhile trying to establish what the source of damp might be so the cause can be identified and treated accordingly. Things to check safely, and with the appropriate help, include:

  • Chimney stack – is it open-topped or capped? If it is open-topped it could be causing moisture to enter the chimney, travelling to the base of the stack. Damp around this area or in the brickwork is a tell tale sign. If your chimney stack is capped, make sure it has a well-ventilated cap or cowl to ensure there is no moisture build up.
  • Mortar – if the mortar around your chimney stack is cracked or splitting, water can get inside the chimney breast.
  • Lead flashing, tiles & loft space – the lead flashing on your roof, where it meets a wall or the chimney stack, should be checked to see if it’s coming apart or cracked. Similarly damaged tiles can also cause issues. Do look inside your loft space too to see if there are any signs of light coming in or if there’s a leak.
  • Guttering – gutters that are blocked cause rainwater to collect and can cause damp in your chimney. This is because water will be forced to run down a wall and seep into any mortar cracks.
  • Damp proof course – Have a look to see if your chimney breast has a damp proof course. This is a layer of slate or plastic a few inches above the ground, some older properties were built without these.

Air brick and damp proofing on the exterior of a house.

How to damp proof your chimney

Once you’ve identified the probable cause of damp in your chimney, it can be repaired. Damp proofing, dehumidifiers and anti-mould paint may temporarily combat a damp issue in your chimney but often it doesn’t provide a permanent solution. The Schrijver System, however, is a more effective and environmentally-friendly solution compared to traditional damp proofing and comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Installed by specialist engineers, the system uses natural ventilation to lower the humidity level and prevent damp. These experts install a series of small, handmade elements that are fixed to the outside of your property. These allow dry air to flow from the outside into the elements causing a drop in temperature and a ‘cold bridge’. This causes moisture from the wall interior to be deposited within the element and transporting the moisture outside.

Want to find out more about how Frank Schrijver can help you with your damp problems?

01689 800101

Are you having problems with penetrating damp?

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When it comes to water, if it wants to get into your property, it will have a good go at it. Even the smallest crack or hole in your wall or joint will soon be a prime target. If it’s not dealt with, it’s possible that it won’t be long before penetrating damp takes hold – which can quickly cause a real problem for your property – both in the repair work and financially.

Penetrating damp happens when water manages to seep through the walls. You can see this happen in several ways. You might find wet and crumbly plaster or signs of damp – such as growing circles on your walls or ceilings. There could be blotchy patches of damp appearing on your walls. Or you could find signs of mildew or spores or even drips or puddles. It could be that it takes weeks, or even months for these signs to appear.

Are you having problems with penetrating damp?

You might find penetrating damp at any level of your building, however, it’s more likely to happen at higher parts of your property and south-facing walls. Regular culprits for penetrating damp include a badly linked flat roof, leaking pipes, gutters that are overflowing, badly fitting windows or roof tiles that are missing. Plus, it could be that your pointing is damaged or you’ve got problems with rendering. All of these are possible entry points for water to get in and cause an issue. And certainly, if you have air bricks at your property, if they don’t have sufficient breathing space, moisture can become trapped; causing damp to become a problem here too.

The symptoms of penetrating damp can be quite similar to those of rising damp. The difference tends to be to do with structural factors in addition to weather-related issues. It tends to be found in patterns as opposed to the tideline that often occurs with rising damp. If there’s been a lot of driving rain recently, you may find damp patches that appear. Exposed timber and masonry are also areas that can be soon be affected by water seeping into them. Another way of differentiating between penetrating damp and rising damp is that you’ll find that penetrating damp appears on the higher floors of your property where rising damp doesn’t reach.

Are you having problems with penetrating damp? Penetrating damp in the corner of the ceiling and coving.

So if you’ve identified penetrating damp as a problem in your home or property, it’s vital to track down the original source. Where is the moisture getting in? Have a look throughout your brickwork. Are there any obvious points of entry? Or maybe your pipework – have you spotted any faults? It could be that your door or window frames are the issue and need to have their sealants replaced. There is an option to have your wall sealed with a water sealer spray, however, this involves a chemical solution and they may not be able to fill cracks successfully.

In order to find a natural solution that gives you a permanent answer to penetrating damp, it may be well worth considering the Schrijver system. An eco-friendly option, it’s a chemical-free system that’s cost-effective to install and gives you a green option to traditional damp proofing. Using natural ventilation, it’s better for your home and certainly better for your family.