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There are lots of ways water can unexpectedly damage a building. Among those least familiar to most is a phenomenon called “rising damp.” It is characterized by the wicking of excess water from the base of the building into the foundations and walls. It can happen to any building and is especially common in those with basements, cellars, and crawl spaces. In this blog, we’ll explain all you need to know about rising damp!

Rising Damp Graphic

What is Rising Damp?

As I’ve already mentioned, rising damp occurs when a building wicks excess water from the ground and up a building’s structural components, including the walls and floor. Many issues may cause rising damp, including grading problems, poor drainage, overwatering nearby soil, and more.

Many homeowners are unfamiliar with rising damp and often overlook it until it is revealed by a severe mold problem or water intrusion. Left untreated, rising damp can cause significant damage to your property. This can include rotting timber (thereby compromising the building’s structural integrity), soaked drywall and plaster, and even damage to your decorations and other belongings, to say nothing of mold! If you own a home or other building, understanding rising damp is critical to identifying and preventing it from happening.

Here are a few steps you can take to prevent rising damp and avoid costly repairs down the road:

Causes of Rising Damp

Because it occurs when there is excess water at the base of or underneath a building’s foundation, it is critical to prevent water from collecting there! Some common causes include:

  • Heavy rain oversaturating the ground
  • Grading problems that cause water to pool up at or near the foundation of a building
  • Overwatering planters near the base of a building
  • Flooding in basements and crawlspaces

Possible Solutions for Rising Damp

  • Check for leaks. They can be hard to find, but the longer they go unaddressed, the more water will collect and the more time mold has to grow.
  • Remove excess moisture from your home (especially your basement!) by using fans and dehumidifiers. Healthy airflow and consistent dehumidification will help prevent oversaturation in your building components.
  • Seal cracks around windowsills to prevent the ingress of water.
  • Fix grading problems. This is a major repair, but if left unaddressed, grading problems will bring water to the base of your building, which in turn will take on moisture.
  • Waterproof the basement and/or foundation! There are companies that specialize in this kind of waterproofing, and it can be a big help.

If your home is already suffering from rising damp, seek out a mold specialist.

If you suspect your space is suffering from rising damp, find a mold specialist to recommend repairs and remove mold. If your building components are saturated with water, you likely have a mold problem, even if you don’t see any. You can’t solve a mold problem without first dealing with the moisture problem, so fixing the cause of rising damp comes first.


If you suspect your home has rising damp, give Pure Maintenance a call! The longer you wait, the more damage it can do, so take action today.