What causes penetrating damp?

Penetrating Damp

So you’ve recently discovered you have penetrating damp in your home. It’s recurring, noticeable and just won’t budge! The best way to actually get rid of this penetrating damp from your home is to find the root of the problem. So, do you know what’s causing the penetrating damp in your home? No? Don’t worry! Our article will highlight to you its many possible causes, so that you can begin to tackle this problem at its source. After reading what our experts have put together for you, your penetrating damp will not stand a chance…

Why is there penetrating damp in my home?

Many areas of your home are especially vulnerable to penetrating damp, these include your roof, external walls, gutters, window frames and more! They become vulnerable by factors such as regular old wear and tear that inevitably will happen the older your home gets. Sometimes a building’s original characteristics are what causes its susceptibility to penetrating damp, for example, the wrong kind of brick pointing, or your home having a coastal facing pine-end. Other circumstances such as your home’s location, and any plumbing issues are sure to cause this expensive, and sometimes health-risking nuisance. Now, let us get to the nitty gritty and fully understand not only what causes penetrating damp but why it is caused too!

Check your roof for any slipped or broken tiles!

If your answer is ‘yes’ then this could be what’s causing the penetrating damp in your home.

Why is this causing penetrating damp in your home? DPCs have been imperative in all buildings in the UK since the late 1800s. A DPC is normally an impenetrable carbon based material layered between two tiers of bricks and it is designed to prevent damp and moisture from rising from ground level into your home. Therefore if your home’s DPC is below ground level, or even below 100mm above the external ground splashback from rain downpours, or flooding poses a potential threat to your dry, damp-free indoors.

Did you know that certain styles of brick pointing and striking on your external walls can make your home more susceptible to penetrating damp?

Just for your information, brick pointing and striking is the type of finish the mortar gives in between the layers of bricks making up your home, either for extra weather protection or to reinforce worn down mortar joints.

Why is this causing penetrating damp in your home? You may find the source of your damp issue within the ‘Hollow key and Recessed key’ type of brick pointing and striking. Hollow key appears as a concave finish of mortar between the layers of bricks and Recessed key brick pointing there is about an inch or two of depth from the external face of the brick wall to the evenly racked out mortar. When the external wall of your home has this type of brick pointing finish, it enables for any water from rain et cetera, to gather between the bricks and loiter there, eventually penetrating through your walls and into your home.

Do you have an older, solid-stone walled house? If so, is it lime rendered?

What is it? Lime rendering is an older type of finish that you can have on your home as an extra breathable layer on top if you have a solid stone external wall.

Why is this causing penetrating damp in your home? The denser materials of your external walls can sometimes trap and harbour moisture it comes into contact with, this then leads to penetrating damp in your home. However, when your solid stone home is lime rendered, the lightweight breathable characteristics of this finishing allows moisture to escape, it also has disinfectant characteristics, aiding in the prevention of mould forming and penetrating through your walls… perhaps lime rendering is something to consider if you have an older solid stone walled house?

Your home has a coastal facing pine-end/gable end.

What is a coastal facing pine-end? A coastal facing pine-end is typically the face of your end-terraced, semi-detached, or fully detached house where you can see the conjunction of both sides of the roof. It is also typically the side of your home with the least amount of windows and doors.

Why is this causing penetrating damp in your home? Even if you do not necessarily live near the coast, a coastal facing pine-end can still make your house vulnerable to penetrating damp… This side of your home provides a large surface area for water absorption from the wind driven rain coming in from the coast. With our lovely perfect-for-ducks weather here in the UK, it would come as no shock to you, we’re sure, to discover that this could be one of the main causes of penetrating damp in your home, as it allows no chance for your walls to dry out. Eventually then, it will penetrate from the outside brickwork into your lovely, fresh painted living room.

Could regular old wear-and-tear be causing your penetrating damp problem?

It’s completely normal for our homes to acquire a bit of character over the years of us living in them. However, it might be time to think of some maintenance work if you think any of these building defects are the source of the penetrating damp in your home…

Check your roof for any slipped or broken tiles!

Why is this causing penetrating damp in your home? Your broken, cracked or poorly fitted roof is bound to cause problems at some point! This is because any defects on your roof allows a direct pathway (no matter how small) for any rain water or moisture to enter your home, especially as the wear-and-tear would gradually worsen over time! Fixing the cracked or broken tile would solve this problem at its root, ignoring this little annoyance could mean you’re in for some terrible water damage in your lovely home!

When was the last time you did a little maintenance on your gutters, soffits and fascias?

You may want to get the ladder out just for a quick check on these! Unfortunately, you may find that a damaged guttering system could be the direct cause of your penetrating damp.

So, why is this causing penetrating damp in your home? Quite simply, your gutter’s sole purpose is to collect the rainwater falling from your roof and deliver it to the ground, more often than not into a drain. This pipe is then supported by the soffit and fascia, they work as a team of three. Now, the most common cause of damp and mould directly for guttering, is a blocked gutter, where any debris or muck has built up. It will block the water from leaving the pipe and eventually make its way into your home through any cracks or porous bricks! Other ways damaged guttering units can cause damp is if they-

  • Have missing or worn seals
  • Are sagging
  • Are fitted when a house is being built as the weather can affect the structure of your roof. The guttering can then end up being inadequate to properly drain water from your rooftops.
  • Have broke

Your plumbing could be the source of your penetrating damp problem!

There is no question as to how this is causing penetrating damp in your home, is there really? Any leaky pipes are sure to cause penetrating damp in your home! Another thing to look out for is lazy plumbing. Be sure to know any plumber that’s doing work in your home is fully qualified and ready to give you the best service, otherwise you could be facing a hefty water bill, on top of the penetrating damp in your home.

Have you ever thought about moving house?

The location of your home, unfortunately, can be a key factor in whether or not your house will suffer from penetrating damp.

How does my home’s location cause penetrating damp? If you live near the coast, or anywhere prone to wind-driven rain, unluckily, you are highly likely to suffer from penetrating damp in your home. The relentless battering of your home by the elements, and your house’s inability to dry out properly due to the wind driven rain, means wetness will cling to the exteriors of your walls and eventually penetrate through into your lovely home! At an even faster rate with any of the building characteristics and defects you read about above!

Cavity wall insulation and penetrating damp

…along with these causes, your home’s susceptibility to penetrating damp will increase tenfold, when you have failing cavity wall insulation? Any dampness penetrating through your cavity walls will definitely cling to the insulation inside, causing it to deteriorate, and worsen the damp (and eventually the mould) problems in your home, whilst making them chronic. The damp caused by, or deteriorated by failing cavity wall insulation makes managing the problem almost impossible. Let us be honest, the only way to rid your home from damp for good, is for you to invest in cavity wall insulation removal. This could definitely be food for your thoughts…

A quick recap...

From this article you will have realised how common the causes of penetrating damp are! Did this article help you on your venture to explore the possible causes of your penetrating damp problem? It is absolutely our pleasure to help! If you would like to contact us regarding any damp and mould issues you may have, please do not hesitate! You’ll find our friendly colleagues are happy to help and provide advice wherever possible. Or maybe you would like to get in touch regarding cavity wall insulation removal? Your damp-free home is just one call away.