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Rising Damp - The Basics




Prevent rising damp from striking your home!

Rising damp is a global phenomenon and can be the source of decay to masonry materials such as stone, brick and mortar. It can cause crumbling of exterior masonry as well as staining of internal finishes. It may also cause musty smells in poorly ventilated rooms which can lead to health problems for the property’s occupants. Here in Melbourne, older homes are more likely to succumb to rising damp than newly constructed ones.

How does this occur?

Rising damp occurs when moisture from the ground is sucked up into the porous building materials. The moisture evaporates from either side of the wall (inside or outside), allowing more to be drawn from below. Rising damp may be visible as a high-tide-like stain on the interior finishes or as blistering of paint and loss of plaster.

Can I prevent it?

To prevent rising damp it is now normal practice to build-in a watertight barrier at the base of the wall just above ground level. This is known as the damp-proof course (DPC) or sometimes as the damp course. Unfortunately, many 19th century buildings in Australia were built without DPCs, and some early DPCs have proved ineffective. As a result, a substantial proportion of our historic buildings have inadequate damp-proofing.

If you are planning to purchase an older home, or any home for that matter, it’s wise to have the property inspected by a fully qualified building inspector who can quickly determine if rising damp is an issue. A specialist is required in order to fix rising damp. They may use such remedies as improving ventilation, adding new DPCs, and refining the property’s drainage.





Rising Damp

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