Identifying Rising Damp

///Identifying Rising Damp

Identifying Rising Damp

What is Rising Damp?

This is moisture absorbed from the ground into the wall.

Rising Damp in buildings occurs when water from the ground rises up through the bricks and mortar of a building by capillary action. In simple terms, the water rises up the porous wall of a building in the same way water is soaked up by a sponge in a sink.

Identify Rising Damp Issue

You can often identify rising damp without using any professional equipment, just looking at and touching your walls can often be enough. Typical signs that can identify rising damp include:

  1. Tide Marks
  2. Peeling Wall
  3. Decayed Skirting Boards
  4. Black Mould

Tide Marks

Rising Damp

One of the most common tell-tale signs are tide marks left on walls. Tide marks are caused by evaporation and salts from the ground. You will normally notice them anywhere up to a 1 metre above the skirting board.

If you do not notice tide marks, another very common tell tale sign is damp patches or staining. Typically, these damp patches are yellowish or brownish in colour and similar to tide marks, you will notice them up to 1 metre above the skirting board.

Peeling Wall

Look out for wallpaper coming off or peeling from the wall. You will most likely notice it coming loose from the skirting board first with the corner of the wallpaper turned or curved up.

Decayed Skirting Boards

Rising Damp

Salts in the form of white fluffy deposits in the plaster similar to the images above. These salts are washed out of your bricks and into your plaster leaving what can look like blistering patches on your walls.

Black Mould

Rising damp

If you see black mould appearing above your skirting board it is a clear sign that there is some form of dampness affecting the area, especially if you have no other evidence of black mould within the property and the black mould is localised from the skirting board to up to 1 metre above the skirting.


Other Rising Damp Signs

Run your hands around the suspected rising damp area.  If you have wallpaper on your walls, you may hear a ‘crunching’ sound of the salts that have been drawn from the ground. If possible, look at the exposed surface of the brick or stone work. Check to see if there are salts forming, that the brick is actually wet (not just the wallpaper or paint)

It is also important to note that rising damp only occurs on ground floor levels as it is moisture from the soil that is being drawn up the walls and thus causing the rising damp problem. If it is the case that your damp problem is on the first floor or above, it may be that you have a condensation problem or a penetration damp issue.


It is not uncommon to hear rising damp being misdiagnosed. Many individuals inexperienced with identifying rising damp issues may just assume that due to the usual tell-tale sign of a tide mark on the wall that you have a rising damp issue.

Before considering instructing any form of rising damp treatment consider the following:

  1. Do you have any faulty or leaking guttering that could lead to your damp issue? Is there vegetation growing out of the gutters?
  2. Do you have faulty of leaking plumbing?
  3. Have you had adamp proof installed within the property over the last 20 years?
  4. Is it a possible condensation problem?
  5. Do you have cracks in the stonework or brick work?
  6. Do you have damp staining on stonework particularly adjacent to pipes?
  7. Do you have defecting pointing?


By | 2018-09-13T12:23:16+00:00 September 13th, 2018|Rising Damp, SA Waterproofing|0 Comments

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