Identifying and solving rising damp checklist

Checklist provided by

You can usually spot a damp proof course by looking on the outside of the property and seeing ‘blue’ bricks or some drill ‘holes’ or you might see a ‘grey line’ between the bricks in the mortar joint. 
If there is a damp proof course, this doesn’t mean it’s still working. In older houses these can perish and break down. In modern houses they are more durable, but in reality any property built before 1990 needs to be thoroughly checked.
If the damp proof course has failed, this will cause rising damp in the property.
  Other signs of rising damp to look out for are:
  • Damp ‘tide’ marks on solid walls
  • White ‘salt’ marks and discolouration 
  • Peeling wall paper 
  • Dry or wet rot to  skirting boards 
  Understand if the problem is  caused by ‘penetrating damp’ or ‘rising damp’ for example, ‘penetrating damp’ can be  caused by:
  • Loose slates and tiles
  • Defective gutters and leaking downpipes 
  • Cracked render
  • Damaged brickwork 
  Ensure you secure a specialist to diagnose the problem, a local builder or tradesman is not experienced enough to diagnose damp problems.
  Always choose a timber and damp expert who is a member of the Property Care Association.
The timber and damp specialist should produce a report  for all of the property – not just the areas you think are a problem.
The report should be accompanied with a quotation to fix the problem or if the problem does not require a specialist, then advice will be given to cure the problem.
Understand the pros and cons of different solutions, especially the guarantee for the work:
  • Chemical treatment. This is the most common and requires an injection of a chemical at different intervals in the wall 
  • Electro osmotic. This is where a small electric current is applied to the wall and it drives the moisture down the wall 
Your walls will need re-plastering after the work is carried out, but make sure you:
  • Add a salt-retardant
  • Allow the walls to dry out for up to six  weeks before applying final decorations
  • Do not paint with vinyl paints for up to a year
Make sure you secure a guarantee for the work from a company who has already been in business ideally for 20-25 years or more. 
Keep the survey report paperwork and photos of the work carried out to show potential buyers when you sell your home.


All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner OBE, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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