Investigating damp is important to prevent damage and disruption

If you know – or even suspect that you have some damp in your home, it’s vital to promptly ascertain what type it is, the cause, and have it dealt with by experts to prevent potentially expensive damage.

What type of damp is it?

There are generally three types of damp and it’s important to understand which one is causing moisture problems in your home.

The three types are: condensation, penetrative and rising damp.

To spot the clues as to which one is affecting your property, you should look for the following:


It’s formed when warm air contacts colder surfaces such as air warmed by hot water hitting a colder kitchen wall or window, or steam in a bathroom hitting a cold mirror or wall. It shows as droplets or a sheen of moisture on the colder surface.

A main cause is lack of ventilation; often opening a window or using (or fitting) an extractor fan will help.

While heavy bouts of condensation are easy to spot – such as in a kitchen or bathroom – and extra ventilation may cure it, elsewhere damp from condensation may be harder to isolate and remedy.

For example, if you’ve had some insulation and maybe new windows fitted these may – while improving heat retention – cause condensation as air isn’t escaping as freely as it used to.

Some detective work may be required and, as with other forms of damp discussed below, the services of local experts such as Essex based Ward Damp Proofing can help diagnose the exact cause and suggest a permanent solution.


This is where water or moisture gets inside your home from the outside such as through a hole in the roof, a leaking pipe or water ingress via poor waterproofing such as in a cellar or basement.

Signs of penetrative damp include:

Bubbling plaster, a patch of damp in the ceiling, damaged woodwork or damp patches on wall surfaces.

Clearly the first thing is to discover where the leak is coming from; the type of damp you’re experiencing will offer a clue – for example, a damp patch in the ceiling could indicate a roof leak. Be aware though as the water may be entering in a different part of the home to where the ‘damp evidence’ is showing due to water maybe being routed along and down roof joists.

Seek expert help if you can’t easily spot where the leak is.

Rising damp

This is formed when moisture rises from the ground into parts of the house structure at or near ground level. It’s caused when the damp proof course is losing its effectiveness.

Signs your problem may be rising damp include a musty smell often in various areas of the property, wallpaper detaching from surfaces, new paint not staying on, crumbling mortar on the outside, flaking plaster, and the tell-tale tide marks on the walls.

Rising damp can spell severe problems if left untreated, so swift diagnosis and remedial work from damp proofing experts is required; if this doesn’t happen, major structural damage can occur at times, causing widespread resurfacing and maybe some rebuilding.

Damp survey

A quick fix isn’t always possible with damp; one small leak could hint at further issues to come, so damp removal experts would often recommend a damp survey to assess what damp vulnerabilities are present, what others may occur, followed by the drawing up of an action plan to combat it.


What to do if you suspect damp in your property; diagnosing what type of damp you have whether rising damp, condensation or penetrative and using damp proofing experts.