Damp: Its Three Most Common Manifestations

The three most common forms of damp which affect the households of Great Britain are rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation. In order to decide the best course of action to take in your home, you will first have to determine which of these three types of damp your home suffers from. If however you suspect that your home or property is suffering from damp, but you are unable to locate the source then it’s advisable that you seek professional aid from a reputable specialist. A specialist is able to remove the damp and provide damp proofing options to avoid a re-emergence of the problem. This blog aims to identify the three most common forms and discusses the causes and also the symptoms.

Rising Damp

Rising damp is primarily caused by ground water entering the building and rising up through a wall or walls. The majority of walls let in a degree of water. However this water is usually prevented from causing any damage by a barrier, which is known as a damp proof course. This is usually a piece of horizontal strip or a slate strip, which is placed in the wall during the construction process. If a damp proof course is either missing or ineffectual, then the property is likely to incur a rising damp problem. Additionally, this can also occur when the level of the ground surrounding the property is higher than where the damp proof course has been placed, enabling water to rise above it.

Symptoms: If your property or home suffers from rising damp you may notice damage to both the skirting boards and also to the floors boards. Other symptoms include crumbling, or salt stained plaster and also peeling paint and wallpaper. Further symptoms may be a noticeable tide mark across a wall.

Penetrating Damp

The primary cause of penetrating damp is water leaking through the walls of a property. Once this has entered the building it may move around within it. Typically, this movement is in a horizontal direction as opposed to vertically up walls, as with rising damp. The causes of penetrating damp can usually be attributed to structural problems within the building, such as faulty guttering or problems with the roofing.

Symptoms: penetrating damp can often be identified by the appearance of damp patches on walls, ceilings and floors, these patches may darken in colour when it has rained. Occupants and owners of old buildings with solid walls are more likely to suffer from penetrating damp, as modern cavity walls provide a level of protection from this manifestation of damp.


Condensation is by far the most common form of damp and is caused by moist air condensing on walls. This occurs most commonly in the winter months, as walls are far colder than the air contained within the building. Condensation can be made worse by poor ventilation of air within the building and heating which turns on and off at regular intervals as this allows for warm, damp air to condense on the walls within the building.

Symptoms: you may notice water droplets on the walls and windows, see the appearance of areas of dark mould or notice an unpleasant smell. If condensation is left untreated within the building it can cause damage to both paint and plaster, as well as causing wooden window frames to decay.

Damp, once it has made a hold in a property, can result in a range of health problems for the occupants, damage to the actual property whilst being financially expensive to remedy. The best solution is to stop it before it starts, the most effective way to accomplish this is through having the building damp proofed by specialists.

Broadoak Basements are specialists in damp proofing properties, for further information about the expert services which we can provide for your building or property you can contact a member of our dedicated support team on 0161 962 1623.