DAMPNESS – Types, Causes, Signs and Solution

Dampness is a considerable problem for many home owners.  It not only causes structural issues in buildings but also, has impact on health and makes a home incredibly unpleasant to live in.


There are 3 types of dampness

  • Penetrating
  • Rising
  • Condensation

and each is unique in its causes, identification and prevention.

We aim to address the causes, warning signs and the solution to remove each type, so your home can be damp-free

1. Penetrating Damp

Penetrating Dampness


Penetrating damp is caused by water leaking through the walls.

There are a number of reasons why water may be penetrating through the walls, such as:

  • Broken or blocked rain gutters on your roof
  • Bricks losing their weatherproof defense
  • Damaged bricks
  • Structural issues with the building
  • Cracks in external walls
  • Cracks in windows and door frames
  • Leaking pipes
  • Missing or cracked roof tiles

Warning Signs

  • You will see damp patches appear on walls. The damp patches are more likely to appear in windy and rainy weather, and disappear when the storm passes.
  • Plaster and paint deterioration and blistering paint.
  • Rotting skirting boards
  • Mold growth and a moldy smell 


To get rid of the damp you need to work out what is causing it and resolve each one accordingly:

  • Fix and clear broken guttering
  • Replace and fix broken or missing roof tiles
  • Fill in cracks located in
    • window frames
    • around door frames
    • walls
  • Fix leaking pipes
  • Replace porous bricks or paint over with water repellent materials

2. Rising Damp

Rising Dampness


  • Rising damp is caused by water from the ground moving up and rising into the house as a result of capillary action.
  • This occurs due to structural issues of the building, in particular, the damp-proof course or membrane.
  • The damp-proof course is a waterproof layer in the wall of a building near to the ground, and is installed to prevent rising damp. It is usually a horizontal strip made from plastic or bitumen felt, built into the wall at least 15 cm above ground level.
  • The damp-proof membrane is a waterproof sheet laid underneath the concrete floor to protect the house from groundwater rising.
  • Rising damp occurs when there are issues with the damp-proof course and membrane. There may not be a course or membrane, gaps in the course or membrane, or the ground may be higher than the damp-proof barrier. 

 Warning Signs

Warning signs of rising damp include:

  • Damp
    • in lower parts of walls
    • rising up the wall
    • patches on the floor
    • and damaged skirting boards
  • Peeling and blistering paint
  • Wet patches on walls
  • Staining on walls
  • Salt deposits


You will most likely require a professional to resolve rising damp.

  • Firstly, check that your house has a damp-proof course or membrane. You will need an expert to tell you whether you do have one.
  • A high ground level will also cause issues, as water can seep through earth into the walls. If the ground level is too high, you will need to dig away the soil on the exterior of the damp wall to a level below the course – the damp-proof course should be 15 cm above ground level. You can also seal the wall with asphalt to protect it from water.

3. Condensation

Condensation Damp


Condensation damp is caused by moist air condensing on walls. Warm & moist air comes into contact with a cold surface such as the walls, and the air can’t hold the moisture, causing drops of water to appear and causing mold on your walls.

Condensation occurs due to a lack of ventilation, cold surfaces, and lack of central heating. 

Warning Signs

You can identify condensation damp by:

  • Condensation on windows and walls
  • Water droplets
  • Damp or mold on walls and ceilings
  • Damp smell 


You can deal with condensation yourself by:

  • Installing double glazing ( rather expensive )
  • Using a dehumidifier 
  • Improving ventilation by opening windows and installing air vents and fans
  • Turning up the heating in cold weather (if you live in the north of India)
  • Installing insulation 
  • Clearing windows and affected areas by wiping with a cloth


Further Reading :

Dampness in Buildings – Sources, Prevention & Causes – Part 1

Dampness in Buildings – Sources, Prevention & Causes – Part 2

Questions answered here are :

  • how to
    • treat dampness in internal walls?
    • remove dampness from walls?
    • stop water leakage from wall?
    • avoid dampness in the house?

For any other consulting we here for you. Please call us or email us.