There are really only two ways of permanently dealing with Rising Damp.

The first and traditional method is to cut into the wall and install a physical damp proof barrier. The second is to treat the wall chemically. Both are expensive solutions. More on these later.

Before applying either it would be a good idea to address the cause of the dampness at it’s source. This many times can be done without major cost implications.

Dampness can buildup adjacent to or under walls due to a number of factors including downpipes discharging rain or storm water at the base of the wall, paving falling back towards the house, the grounds around the house falling back towards the house, the absence of perimeter paving around the house allowing a cycle whereby the soil saturates during winter and dries out in summer. Other factors can contribute to a buildup of moisture around the house. This includes leaking water pipes and leaking sewer or waste pipes.

So before opting for the “expensive” solution we encourage all home owners with a diagnosed (or even an undiagnosed) rising damp problem to ensure there is paving at least a metre wide as a perimeter to all walls. Paving should always be laid at a level that ensures they remain lower than any physical damp barrier that may exist in the wall.

All downpipes should be connected to an underground drain which, in turn, takes all rain or storm water away from the building. The landscape design around the home (including paving) should encourage natural falls away from the house.

If there is damp present in your home it would also pay to have a plumber check water and sewer pipes that may be adjacent the affected areas.

Adopting the suggestions above provides the best possible stable soil environment around the home. This then reduces the chances of rising damp issues emerging.

Unfortunately many older homes around Adelaide and the surrounding environs do not have these basic paving and storm water protections. Coupled with bricklaying techniques that do not really impede rising damp and you have always the potential for rising damp in your home.

As Benjamin Franklin said ….. an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.

If you are buying a home it would be good insurance to have a reliable home inspector to inspect and advise on the condition of the house. If there is damp concerns this will be raised along with any other issue that may be present in the house in the report. If the issue is significant enough the reliable home inspector may refer you onto a salt damp specialist for advice on dealing with the particular issue in the house being sold.

Stay tuned to future posts on the treatments noted at the commencement of this article that a salt damp specialist may employ.