Exploring the Long-Term Effects of Untreated Rising Damp

31 Aug 2023
When a property suffers from rising damp, it is important to take prompt action. Combatting the effects is only possible through professional treatment pathways. But what if the problem is simply left unaddressed? Untreated rising damp causes a whole manner of chaos within any property and this guide explores the reasons why.

What Causes Rising Damp?

Rising damp is largely caused by groundwater. This, as the name suggests, rises from the ground and seeps into your walls. It impacts both internal and external walls and can be difficult to navigate on your own. It is often difficult to notice a problem exists until there are visible signs inside your property.

The Warning Signs

The biggest warning signs of a rising damp problem include a bad smell, dark patches of moisture on the walls and skirting boards, mould, and salts on the walls.

The Impact of Untreated Rising Damp

When rising damp is untreated, there is an array of problems that can come about. These are unpicked in more detail below.

Ruined Décor

The first problem that tends to be the primary point of concern is that rising damp will always impact the décor of the area. You are likely to see patches of wallpaper peeling off or even ripping, and the plaster underneath can start to bubble, which will give the appearance of a warped wall area too. While décor is an aesthetic problem, it affects how you feel about a space and it costs money to fix. It is worth noting that there is no point in redecorating and reapplying things like wallpaper until a rising damp problem has been assessed and treated because the issue will just continue to return.

Woodwork Damage

The skirting boards will be impacted in a room with rising damp. Where the skirting boards are painted, there will be noticeable signs of flaking and wetness and it will be impossible to stay on top of it if the problem is allowed to fester.

Timber Damage

Aside from baseboards, internal wood will also be affected in many negative ways. Firstly, it will be vulnerable to rotting, and this is incredibly difficult to move on from. The majority of homes have some form of timber internally, potentially a suspended timber floor in an older property, and rising damp will find its way there if you don’t sort the problem out. It is, of course, entirely possible that it has already impacted the timber, and if this is the case, there will need to be further specialist treatment to fix the damage. For example, if this starts to affect your floorboards where the damp has taken hold, then there is a big concern that the floor itself will become weak and compromised. It may even fall through with enough pressure and continued exposure to damage. This will make your whole room unsafe.

Brickwork Damage

The external brickwork will see a few signs of noticeable consequences where there are concerns about rising damp. There may be mineral build-ups or the mortar might suffer from degradation. Fortunately, as long as DPC is operational as soon as possible, bricks and mortar are easy enough to salvage in the grand scheme of things.


Mould, though not a structural issue, is still a major concern for anyone with this problem in their home. Mould impacts health and makes it difficult to live in the area until it has been resolved. The sad fact is, that without some kind of rising damp treatment, mould will never be eradicated within the property. Therefore, it will come back time and time again because it favours damp conditions and festers there most commonly.

Damp Odour

A lingering damp odour is exceptionally difficult to combat and tends to linger for a long time. Damp has its own distinct smell and will be noticeable immediately upon entering the property if the problem has been left untreated. While a bad smell is not the end of the world, it detracts from both the value of the building and the overall enjoyment.

Common Treatment Paths For Rising Damp

The most common treatment path for rising damp is a DPC. A trained professional who understands the problem and the best way to address it must do so. Once complete, which may take between three days and 3+ weeks depending on the extent of damage, it will be possible to redecorate and use the room comfortably with your health intact. There are a few different types to think about, and there is more information here.


DPC cream is a very common treatment. It is injected straight into the mortar of the wall and requires complete removal of any plaster before it can take place. It is highly effective, and the more cost-effective option where it is possible.


If cream is not advisable, there may be a path forward for DPC rods. Like creams, they are placed in the mortar and aim to soak up the moisture as it traverses through the structures. This is more costly than cream but is effective when done properly.


Sometimes, there is a need to completely revamp the original damp proof course. This is the most expensive option, but properties that need it will benefit greatly. It is a complex procedure and will take longer than the first two options.

What Should You Do?

If you notice any signs of rising damp, act immediately. There is no point at all in delaying the treatment because this will simply make your property vulnerable to extensive damage throughout every room where the problem exists. While rising damp is harder to diagnose, it is incredibly straightforward to treat in the majority of cases. Untreated rising damp causes chaos and untold damage to any property. Where the signs are spotted, it is vital that you get in touch to carry out a survey and professional assessment of the area. Left to its own devices, rising damp will damage the integrity of your foundation and structure to the core and make it difficult to decorate and live comfortably.

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