What Is Penetrating Damp?

Post on 24/11/2020

Penetrating Damp, or Lateral Damp is where moisture is making its way into your building from the outside. If the source of the growing dampness isn’t treated, it can result in significant damage to the materials and structure of the property.

Leaking rainwater from gutters and downpipes or poorly maintained external masonry such as missing pointing are regular culprits. Faulty roofs or excess moisture at ground level can also cause it as the capillaries in the brickwork absorb the surplus moisture.

How Do I Know If I Have Penetrating Damp?

As with all types of damp problem, the presence of penetrating damp is not only unsightly but if left unchecked, can cause serious deterioration to the fabric of your home. You must identify the type of damp problem you have, and the source of it if you want to avoid structural repairs in the long run.

Penetrating damp differs from other types of damp particularly with tide marks or new damp patches, so here are a few pointers on what to look for:

  • Plaster is damaged, blistering or disintegrating
  • Damp patches are visible which won’t dry out
  • Salting where moisture is bringing natural salts in the wall to the surface
  • Decor such as paint or wallpaper is damaged or discoloured
  • Tidemarks are appearing from moisture drying out and reappearing again
  • Floor timber and skirting boards are starting to rot or decay
  • Mould is growing in specific areas
  • There is a damp or musty smell

If there is evidence of any of these conditions in your home, you’ll need to seek expert advice on how to remedy it. As there are different considerations to bear in mind with the varying types of damp, we can talk you through diagnosing the problem before you take any action to save unnecessary treatment costs.

Where Does Penetrating Damp Usually Occur?

Due to the nature of how it happens, no building is immune to it, but there are places which are more susceptible to penetrating damp than others – here are the most common of them:

Roof – Check for missing tiles, roof ridge tiles pointing and flashing.

Window Frames – Check for cracks or gaps around the frames. Make sure there is a ‘drip groove’ under the window sill which stops water around windows from running onto the wall.

Indoor Door Frames – Check for existing cracks around door frames which need repairing.

External Door Frames – Check your external door has a board that sits at the bottom of the door, which protects from excessive rain.

External Walls – Check for cracks in masonry, render or for missing mortar as any of these will allow water in.

Gutters, Drains and Downpipes – Check the condition during a heavy downpour, make sure there are no blockages anywhere, and that water isn’t backing up or leaking.

The General External State of Repair – ‘Sense Check’ the outside of your property and ask yourself where water can accumulate and enter your property.

One of the main things to remember when assessing your home is that it isn’t just the moisture in the property that causes the damage. It’s the damage that the ongoing problem causes. Damp patches can go mouldy and cause health problems.

Moisture freezes and expands too, which can cause further damage to the materials around it by cracking and allowing even more moisture to penetrate it. Nipping a small moisture problem is always going to be preferable to having to remedy a significant damp issue.

If you’d like our help to diagnose a damp problem of any type, get in touch and we’ll happily talk you through a few troubleshooting questions. You can also book a site survey, consultation and a no-obligation quotation for properties in London and surrounding areas – please click here or call 02089596424