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  • Writer's pictureSam Costigan

How To Fix Rising Damp

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

We talk a lot about damp here at My Property Surveyors, mostly because it's widely misunderstood and often mis-diagnosed.

Our most recent client was told when buying their property that they needed a Damp and Timber survey and to obtain quotes for a new injected damp proof course due to rising damp. Now, if you've read any of our other blog posts you will know that 99% of the time, a new damp proof course is not needed.

The reason we charge for our damp surveys as opposed to some other companies offering 'free damp surveys' is because we are not trying to sell you a product. We're trying to help you fix the problems as quickly and cheaply as possible. Free damp surveys are never free, there's usually a mis-diagnosed repair specification attached to try and sell you £3000 worth of repairs to fix wrongly diagnosed rising damp.

Our surveys take into account the basic mechanics of how a property was built and, over its lifetime, what has changed, when did it change, and when did the damp start in relation to these changes.

We conducted our survey on this property; a standard 1930's semi detached house in Leeds. The property had undergone refurbishment prior to our clients purchasing it and so they were a bit startled to find out that the property was suffering from rising damp.

The most common causes of rising damp in a property are:

  1. Leaking or overflowing gutters and downpipes

  2. Bridged damp proof courses and/or cavities

  3. Underground leaks from drains or water supply pipes

We started by establishing that the property is cavity wall construction. The cavity is uninsulated and various changes had taken place such as new windows and doors, new holes for a boiler flue and soil pipe.

The gutters were not leaking as it was raining during our inspection and we could see them functioning correctly. - Potential defect 1 ticked off our list.

The drains were checked and seen to be in good condition with no underground leaks. - Potential defect 2 ticked off our list.

The damp proof course has not been bridged externally by the driveway. Although, it has been raised, the damp proof course was still visible. Now, here's where most 'free' surveys would stop and they'd determine that it must be rising damp and a new damp proof course is required.

No! Incorrect! They fail to check whether the damp proof course is bridged inside the cavity.

On this survey, we removed bricks from either side of the external door where the damp was occurring and discovered a huge amount of debris inside the cavity bridging the damp proof course. This debris was a mix of broken bricks (likely from when the new holes were drilled for the soil stack), off cuts of copper pipe, wall ties, and cement.

Rising damp fixed
Blocked cavities causing rising damp symptoms

Rising damp fixed
Inspecting the cavities

As you can see from the first image, the debris is flowing out of the open hole. The images below show the vast amount of debris in the cavity.

Rising damp fixed
Debris bridging the cavity causing rising damp

rising damp fixed
Debris bridging the cavity causing rising damp

We spent the full day removing these bricks and clearing the vast amount of debris from the cavities to ensure they were cleared below the damp proof course and filled two large rubble sacks full of debris.

rising damp fixed
Cleared cavity - rising damp fixed

fixing rising damp
Cleared cavity

Now any water that enters the cavity doesn't have a bridge across from the outer leaf of brickwork, to the inner leaf. The internal walls in this area are now in the process of drying out before we are scheduled to return for a follow up inspection and redecoration.

Like any reputable company, we then made sure the bricks were cleaned off, replaced back in the wall, and the site cleaned up.

repaired rising damp
*image taken before the site was swept and cleaned

Here at My Property Surveyors Ltd, we cover the whole of Yorkshire and aim to provide the best possible service and the most accurate information to our clients.

**please note - the clearing of the cavities was an extra instruction from our client and is not included as standard during our surveys. Our surveys include an assessment of the cavities using a borescope camera where required and permission is granted.

As always, please feel free to get in touch for a free, no obligation chat with our office manager Jo, about how we can help you.

☎️ 0113 887 1941

Thanks for reading,

Sam Costigan MCIOB MRPSA

Chartered Builder


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