As a homeowner, there are few things that can strike fear into your heart more than the thought that your property might be infected with rising damp. Unfortunately, this potentially dangerous problem is one of the most common home defects in the country, and it starts slowly. As its name suggests, rising damp starts low and continues to rise up the walls of your home until there’s no escaping it. That means that, if you want to avoid the potential problems that come with rising damp, you need to know how to identify it.
Think you have rising damp? Just want to know what to look for so you can avoid it? Here are the early warning signs you should be keeping a lookout for:
Skirting Board Damage
Most people’s skirting boards are made of wood, and because water can cause major problems for wood, it’s likely that one of the first signs of rising damp to show itself will be damaged skirting boards.
If your boards are slowly starting to rot, don’t just sit there and do nothing – get the surveyors in. They should be able to give you an accurate diagnosis. If it is rising damp, you’ll then need to call in a rising damp specialist to deal with the problem. If you catch the problem this early, you really are lucky, although it might not feel like it at the time.
A similar thing that happened to your skirting boards will also happen to your floorboards as whatever water damage it was that caused your rising damp starts to spread. Your floorboards will start to feel a lot less sturdy, and they may even warp. They’ll definitely start to rot if you leave them untreated! If you can’t see your floorboards because you have carpet, but you suspect rising damp, it’s worth lifting the carpet to see what state your floorboards are in before the damage gets even more extensive.
If the plaster on your walls starts peeling off and crumbling, or there are what appears to be bubbling under your wallpaper, then there is a very good chance that your rising damp has reached the walls, and it won’t be a plasterer or decorator you need, but someone who can deal with rising damp!
Damp patches and ‘tide marks’ are another very clear sign that all is not well in your home. If you have a tide mark, then you can be pretty sure that that’s how far the damp has spread! It’s worth mentioning that these signs of rising damp will only appear on the first floor, and if they’re any higher up, they could be caused by condensation or some other issue that may also need checking out.
The bottom line: There are numerous very evident signs that rising damp has started to invade your home and it is of the utmost importance that, when that happens you take action. If you sit around waiting to see if it really does rise (who does that) then you could not only be putting your home’s integrity at risk but your family’s health too!