#DontMoveImprove: The different types of damp explained 

Solenco Reporter
 August 01, 2017
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Rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation are the three most common types of damp that can affect your home. But each needs to be treated in different ways, and the costs can vary dramatically, so it's important to know what type of damp is affecting your home before you try to get it fixed. 

Living in a property with mould can be bad for your health, so it's important to get it sorted as soon as possible.  The worse the situation gets, the more it's likely to cost to remove and repair any damage.


Condensation is the most common kind of damp. It is caused by moist air condensing on walls, particularly in rooms with a lot of air moisture, such as kitchens and bathrooms. It's mainly, but not always, a winter problem, as at this time of year walls are much colder than the air inside.  Condensation can be exacerbated by poor ventilation and heating that comes on and off, as this allows warm, damp air to condense.

This problem can be particularly apparent in old homes that were built to 'breathe' and allow dampness to evaporate out of the home, while modern homes are built to keep water out in the first place

Symptoms of condensation

  • Water droplets on windows or walls
  • Dark mould appearing, particularly on glass or around windows
  • An unpleasant smell. 
  • If left untreated, condensation can damage paint and plaster and cause window frames to decay. 

Rising Damp

Rising damp is caused by ground water moving up through a wall or floor. Most walls and floors allow some water in, but it’s usually stopped from causing damage by a barrier called a damp-proof course or damp-proof membrane. 

Rising damp can also happen when the level of the ground outside your home is higher than your damp-proof course or there isn't proper drainage, allowing water to get above it.

Symptoms of rising damp

  • Damaged skirting boards or plaster
  • Peeling paint and wallpaper, often with wet patches.
  • Rising damp may dissolve soluble salts from the ground and building materials, which can then crystallise, forming a white powder-like substance. This, along with the water, can also leave a tide mark along the wall. 
  • If the problem is coming up from the floor, you may notice floor coverings lifting, or damp patches. 

Penetrating Damp

Penetrating damp is caused by water leaking through walls. This type of damp may expand across your walls or ceiling, but this will be horizontal movement rather than by travelling up walls (as is the case with rising damp). 

Penetrating damp is usually caused by structural problems in a building, such as faulty guttering or roofing, or cracks in the walls, which mean walls or roofs are regularly soaked with water. It can also be caused by internal leaks, such as pipes under the sink or bath.

Symptoms of penetrating damp

  •  Damp patches on walls and ceilings, which may darken when it rains.
  • You’re more likely to get penetrating damp if you live in an older building with solid walls, as cavity walls provide some protection.


So now that you know the difference between condensation, rising damp and penetrating damp, which one have you identified in your home? Get it touch with one of our team members at Solenco for expert advice on how to deal with this problem.

Email info@solencosa.co.za, give us a call at 0861 388 878 or chat to us live on our website at www.solencosa.co.za

(Source: www.which.co.uk)

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