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Comprehensive Guide on How to Treat Damp Walls Both Internally and Externally

Dampness in the home is not just an inconvenience; it’s a prevalent issue that can have far-reaching effects on the structure of your property and the health of its inhabitants. Understanding how to effectively treat damp walls, both from within and outside, is crucial in maintaining a safe, comfortable living environment. This comprehensive guide offers insights into identifying, combating, and preventing dampness in your home.

What Are the Types of Dampness that Affect Homes?

Rising Damp

Rising damp is a common damp problem in buildings, particularly older ones. It occurs when groundwater moves up through the walls and floors of a structure, a process driven by capillary action. The presence of a faulty or non-existent damp proof course can exacerbate this issue, leading to the characteristic tide marks and damp patches on internal walls. The salts contained in groundwater can also cause plaster and paint to deteriorate, contributing to the mottled appearance often associated with rising damp on internal walls.

Penetrating Damp

Penetrating dampness is another type of dampness that affects both external and internal walls. Unlike rising damp, penetrating damp is caused by water infiltrating through the walls from the outside, typically as a result of structural issues like damaged roofing, broken guttering, or flaws in the external wall itself. This can lead to damp patches on walls and ceilings and may be exacerbated by heavy rainfall. Over time, untreated penetrating damp can cause significant damage to exterior walls, leading to costly repairs.


Condensation is a prevalent cause of damp in modern homes and occurs when moist air comes into contact with cooler surfaces, leading to water droplets forming on walls, windows, and ceilings. This type of damp is often a consequence of daily activities like cooking, bathing, and drying clothes indoors. Poor ventilation compounds the problem, trapping moist air inside. If not addressed, condensation can lead to mould growth and an unpleasant damp smell, making living conditions uncomfortable.

How to Identify Damp in Your Home

Identifying rising damp early is key to effective treatment.

  • Damp patches, stains, or discolouration: Look for brown or yellow staining on walls, ceilings, or around windows and doors. This can indicate water ingress or condensation.
  • Peeling wallpaper or crumbling plaster: Dampness can loosen wallpaper and cause plaster to become soft and crumbly.
  • Mould growth: Black mould is a telltale sign of dampness and poor ventilation. It can thrive on damp surfaces and pose health risks.
  • Rotting skirting boards: Woodwork exposed to dampness can deteriorate and become soft or spongy.
  • Cold and wet walls: Walls that feel cold can indicate dampness.
  • Musty odour: A musty or earthy smell can be a sign of dampness and potential mould growth.

How to Identify Different Types of Damp by Their Signs

It is important to differentiate between the different types of damp by their signs. Rising damp usually appears near the bottom of walls, while penetrating damp can happen at any height and is often linked to specific structural issues. On the other hand, condensation is most noticeable in areas with high moisture production, such as kitchens and bathrooms, and is characterised by water droplets on non-porous surfaces. It is important to recognize these differences in order to determine the most appropriate damp treatment strategy.

When to Call a Damp Specialist for a Damp Survey

When damp patches persist or the cause of dampness is unclear, it’s time to get a professional involved. A damp specialist can conduct a thorough damp survey, using specialised equipment to measure moisture levels in walls and floors. This diagnosis is vital in crafting a targeted treatment plan, ensuring that the damp treatment addresses the root cause of the problem rather than just its symptoms.

Reclaim Your Home Comfort with Environ Property Services Expert Damp Proofing

Environ Property Services is London’s leading damp-proofing and home restoration company, offering long-lasting solutions and exceptional customer service. Our team of highly trained professionals will pinpoint the cause of your damp problem, whether it’s rising damp, penetrating damp, or condensation, and develop a targeted plan for a complete and lasting cure. We use industry-leading techniques, including timber proofing, woodworm treatment, and basement waterproofing to solve your damp problem.

Why Choose Environ Property Services for Your Damp Proofing Needs?

Here’s why Environ Property Services should be your trusted partner in creating a healthy and damp-free home:

  • Expert Diagnosis and Long-Term Solutions: We identify and fix the root cause of dampness for a lasting solution.
  • Unwavering Commitment to Customer Care: We prioritise clear communication and respect for your property throughout our process. Our professional team is available to answer any questions you may have.
  • Competitive Prices and Uncompromising Quality: We deliver top-notch services at competitive prices, ensuring exceptional value for your investment without compromising quality.

Contact us today for a damp survey. Let our specialists assess your situation and recommend the most effective solution.

Request a Damp Survey Today!

Effective Solutions For Treating Damp on Internal Walls

Choosing the right damp proofing approach is not just a matter of preference, it’s a crucial step in preventing further damage and saving homeowners from costly repairs. In the case of rising damp, a new damp proof course (DPC) may be necessary to prevent moisture from entering the wall. In situations where a physical DPC is not feasible, damp proofing cream can be injected into the wall to create a moisture barrier. It is also crucial to repair or replace any degraded plaster to eliminate hygroscopic salts from the wall surfaces.

Homeowners can take several DIY measures for dampness caused by condensation and minor penetrating damping. Increasing ventilation by regularly opening windows, using extractor fans in areas of high moisture, and avoiding drying clothes indoors can significantly reduce condensation-related dampness. Sealing any visible cracks or gaps in external walls and ensuring gutters and downpipes are free of blockages can help mitigate penetrating dampness.

How to Deal with Penetrating Damp and Protect External Walls

Penetrating dampness in external walls can arise from a variety of issues, such as defective pointing, cracked render, or faulty guttering. The crucial first step in effective treatment is identifying the specific cause. Once the source of water ingress is pinpointed, repairs can be focused on that area. This could involve re-pointing brickwork, repairing or replacing damaged roof tiles, or fixing broken guttering and downpipes to halt water penetration into the walls.

Apply External Damp Proofing Techniques

External dampproofing methods can vary based on the cause and intensity of the penetrating dampness. A water-repellent treatment can be applied to the external wall to prevent water from entering the wall material. Maintaining the building’s exterior can also help prevent many common causes of penetrating dampness. In severe cases, external rendering or cladding may be required to protect the wall against further water ingress.

Adopt Preventive Maintenance to Keep External Walls Damp-Free

Preventive maintenance is key to keeping external walls damp-free. Regularly checking and clearing gutters, inspecting roof tiles, and sealing any cracks or gaps in the building envelope can go a long way in preventing water ingress. Additionally, improving external ground drainage can help prevent standing water, which might seep into the foundations and cause rising dampness.

Improve the Ventilation of Your Home to Tackle Condensation

Enhancing home ventilation is a vital aspect of managing condensation and maintaining a moisture-free environment. Installing extractor fans in areas with high moisture, like kitchens and bathrooms, and ensuring air bricks are unobstructed can improve airflow. Regularly airing out your home by opening windows can significantly reduce indoor humidity levels and directly combat condensation.

Practise Regular Maintenance 

Consistent home maintenance is a key strategy in preventing dampness. Tending to minor repairs, such as fixing leaky pipes or cracked tiles, can prevent water from accumulating and seeping into walls and floors. Regularly applying good quality, breathable paint to exterior walls can also act as a barrier against penetrating dampness.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common types of dampness that affect homes?

The common types of dampness affecting homes are rising dampness, penetrating dampness, and condensation. Rising dampness is due to groundwater moving up walls, penetrating dampness is caused by water entering through defects in the structure, and condensation results from moist air condensing on cooler surfaces.

How can I identify dampness in my home?

Identify dampness by looking for damp patches, stains, or discolouration on walls, peeling wallpaper, crumbling plaster, mould growth, rotting skirting boards, cold and wet walls, and musty odours. These are common indicators of dampness.

When should I call a damp specialist?

You should call a damp specialist when damp patches persist, or the cause of the dampness is unclear. A professional can conduct a thorough survey, measure moisture levels, and provide a targeted treatment plan.

What are some effective solutions for treating dampness on internal and external walls?

Effective solutions include installing a new damp proof course for rising damp, using damp proofing cream, increasing ventilation, sealing cracks or gaps, fixing guttering and downpipes, applying water-repellent treatments, and regular maintenance to prevent water ingress.

Final Thoughts

To maintain the structural integrity of your property and ensure a healthy living environment, it is important to treat damp walls both inside and out. Identifying the type of dampness and addressing the root cause is key to effective treatment and prevention. Regular home maintenance, improved ventilation, and timely repairs are crucial steps in combating and preventing dampness. If you are struggling with persistent damp issues or are unsure about the cause, it is time to call in professionals.
Contact Environ Property Services today for a damp survey and reclaim the comfort of your living space! Our team of experts can provide you with a comprehensive solution tailored to your home’s needs. Don’t let dampness take over your home.

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