Damp Walls


We can provide help and advice with regard to property surveys, building surveys, structural surveys, dampness reports, structural reports, engineers reports, or any other property matters.

We like to meet you at the property during the survey and we are more than happy to talk to you about the reports. Please free phone 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat with one of our surveyors.

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Damp walls, or should we have called it damp through walls?

The technical term often used for damp coming through walls is lateral dampness, which is used in the building and surveying industry and simply means dampness coming through the walls. There are several reasons for this. Let us start at the top of the property and look down.

Getting independent advice

We would not recommend asking a damp proofing company (often known as specialists) if a property needs damp proofing, as this is what they sell!

Equally, whilst it may have a damp problem their solution (we are assuming they insert a damp proof course into the wall) may not be the one your property wants. This is why we would recommend independent advice.

Dampness coming in via the chimneys

Chimneys are probably the most exposed element of a property and, due to their location, not regularly checked. Indeed, many chimneys are difficult to even view. A close up view of a chimney by someone who knows what they are looking for and who will be able to identify if there are any problems and, we would also add, doesn't have a vested interest in telling you there needs to be some work carried out.

This is a close up view of a chimney on a three storey property that has been zoomed in by an optical digital camera with a x16 magnification
Chimney in need of repointing

The most important thing is having the knowledge to know where to look, as the dampness within the property literally cannot be seen.

Efflorescence to the inside of a chimney breast.
Dampness being identified to a chimney breast using a damp meter, but you have to know how to use a damp meter properly

Efflorescence Defined

This is where salts appear on the surface of the brickwork in a white dust or crystal formation.

Dampness coming from gutters and downpipes

Frequently we find problems with gutters and downpipes. These can be very basic problems, such as a need to clear the gutters and downpipes, or maintain them in the case of cast iron, which often has not been maintained and therefore rusted. We would not necessarily advocate their replacement with plastic, as cast iron correctly maintained can last far longer than plastic and has many good properties.

Sometimes where plastic meets cast iron there can also be a leak.
The end cap of the gutter is missing, which means that the water discharges onto the wall beneath causing the wall to need repointing.

Dampness due to repointing being needed

The last example shows how leaking gutters can cause the repointing to accelerate and dampness getting into the property. However, also over the years weathering of the mortar can be a problem.

Weathering can be seen to the brickwork to the right hand side of this photograph
This is the effect of a leaking gutter. The pen is literally sitting in the joint where it has been worn away by leaking water from the gutter.

Plants growing on buildings can cause dampness to come through

Plants growing on buildings

Sometimes plants on buildings cause dampness to come through into the property and should be removed/cut back.

Combination of Problems

You can of course have a combination of several of these problems, which is more difficult to diagnose.

Common Problems

Here we have only looked at a sample of the common problems that we come across and we must add that even if you actually solve the problem correctly your damp wall will not become a dry wall quickly as it takes time to dry out. In a world of instant solutions this is sometimes difficult for people to accept/understand, or want to understand.

Please contact us for help and advice on dampness issues, wall matters, surveys, building surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, structural surveys, home buyers reports or any other property matters on 0800 298 5424 and a surveyor will ring you back to discuss this further.

If you would like Dilaps Help then please visit our www.DilapsHelp.com website and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site www.DisputesHelp.com .

We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).

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Dampness in Buildings - Basics Article

Dampness in Buildings - Technical Article

Resolving Dampness in your Basement


Shared Freehold and Problems with Dampness

Dampness Defects Report

Dampness Problems

Please see our section on:

Specific Defects Reports

If you require any information about Dampness in

Properties please telephone us for help and advice

0800 298 5424