Dampness in Walls, Its Signs, Causes & Treatment | Complete Guide

Dampness in walls is a concern of many houses and architecture because it may turn the whole building into a ramble. Also, it can shake the whole building structure to its core by weakening its internal structure and strength. especially, dampness in walls becomes quite common in the winter season.

Although the matter is really concerning, yet, it can be under control. There are many ways by which you can deal with dampness in walls to give your constructions a longer life. To get rid of damp walls or avoid dampness, you need to understand some crucial factors involved in their occurrence. In addition, it is also important to understand what exactly is dampness and what are the possible signs of it.

Simply, if you lack knowledge about your problem, you may fail to find its solution. For that, we have written a complete guide about dampness in walls featuring its possible causes, signs, and treatment. Also, the guide includes the most potential health hazards caused by damp walls. So, let’s quickly delve into the dampness in the wall guide.

What is a Damp Wall?

Dampness in the wall refers to the condensation of moisture on the cold surfaces, which presents as wet and flaky patches on the wall. The water in the wall causes discoloration and exposes the underlying cement structure, which appears grayish in color. Wall dampness is a common issue in households and other buildings because the use of water has progressively increased over time, and this issue leads to the destruction of walls and the whole structure of the building.

Dampness in walls

Dampness can result in any wall of the house depending upon the moisture content in the air, but most frequently, we see the dampness in walls that are in junction to the kitchen or bathrooms. The water channels in the kitchen and bathroom walls can leak and cause an accumulation of water in the walls.

This accumulated water can lead to wet external surfaces of the walls, and this moisture can also propagate to the surrounding walls of neighboring rooms. If leakage is present in a wall on the upper floors, it can affect the walls of the lower floors as well. Dampness in walls is a contagious process that rapidly spreads to surrounding areas.

What Causes Dampness In Walls?

Dampness in walls is caused by many factors and some of which are listed below:

  • The primary reason for dampness in walls is the presence of water leakage in surrounding walls, for example, leakage in bathroom tiles or kitchen tiles that are neighboring the wall.
  • If the building is constructed in an area where weather conditions are primarily humid and temperate, there is a natural tendency for the chances of dampness to rise.
  • If there is a discontinuity in the structure of roofs or windows, rainwater can quickly enter the walls and cause dampness there.
  • If there is no proper wall insulation, moisture can quickly enter it and cause damage. Proper insulation should be provided to increase the life of walls and the construction.

Signs of a Damp Wall

Signs of rising dampness in a wall:

  • Rising dampness is the one that rises upwards from the floor, and its leading cause lies within the floor area. In this case, you may witness a wetting effect in the wall that extends upwards through the wall from the floor.
  • A border or a tide may be seen at the topmost level of the wet surface. This border can be of a brownish to yellowish color because of the leaching of substances from the internal wall structure.

Signs of Dampness in Walls

  • As this kind of seepage begins from the floor, you may notice that the flooring just below the dampened wall has been destroyed.
  • Penetrating dampness is the one that extends horizontally across the wall, and an apparent color change can be seen traveling through the wall.
  • The dampness appears as a brownish discoloration of the wall or sometimes grayish due to the exposure of underlying cement and plaster in the wall.
  • We can see chipping off the wall or cracking of the paint and exposure of deeper structures.
  • Another significant sign of wall dampness is the appearance of soft powder-like deposits on the walls because of the dissolution of the wall coverings and paints.

When to Worry About Wall Dampening?

Wall dampening is a very rapidly destructive process, and you should be worried about it when you experience the following:

  • A tidemark in the wall encloses a surface that has discoloration.
  • The surface of the wall is raised above its surroundings.
  • Cracks in the wall.
  • Visible dampness on the wall

Treatment of dampness in walls

The treatment of dampness in walls depends on many considerations like the financial budget, the condition of the wall, the area of the wall, the extent of damage to the wall etc. Taking all these factors into consideration, a specific treatment can be chosen for the issue.

The treatment options available are divided into 2 groups based on the procedure:

Treatment of dampness in the wall externally

Externally, the dampened wall can be treated quickly without exposing the internal structures. It includes the following treatments:

You can apply a damp-proofing injection cream to the damaged area. This product is in a cream form, but as soon as it is injected into the walls, it assumes a liquid texture and is dispersed to the surrounding areas. It absorbs the moisture from between the wall structures and forms a protective covering or insulation over the wall to prevent future damage from water and dampness.

Repair any cracks or discontinuities in the surrounding structures which can become a cause for the transport of water into walls. Any holes in the roof or windows and defects in the floor can make the walls susceptible to moisture retention, so fix these problems before it causes significant damage to your walls.

The main reason for dampness in walls is moisture, which can be because of humidity in the air; if you live in areas with humid weather, you should definitely apply more vital wall insulation during construction. If you have missed proper insulation, you can make arrangements for good ventilation and manage the temperatures and high humidity levels.

If there is any prominent and externally visible water leakage in the neighboring washrooms, you can repair it to stop further damage by dampness. The leakage of taps is highly damaging to the walls because water perforates into the walls so quickly, and it accumulates there because there is no way out and it cannot be dried up.

You can scrape off the damaged paint and repaint the wall with waterproof paint to achieve a smoother and clearer outer surface of the wall. If there is a garden right next to the wall, there is a high chance that the wall will absorb moisture from the soil. It will get dampened by the passage of time, so place insulating tiles on the wall just adjacent to the floor, or you can tile or cement the floor itself to prevent contact of wet soil with the wall.

Treatment of dampness in the wall internally

Internally, the treatment of dampness is different; it is more costly than external treatment, requires more time, and requires more resources and manpower, but a good point is that it is a more efficacious treatment and can prove to be a permanent solution to wall dampness. Following are the methods by which we can treat wall dampness internally:

By deconstructing the outer coverings of the wall, inner structures will be exposed, and you can quickly identify the fault due to which the damage has been taking place. This way, the internal damages can be treated, which will be a permanent solution to wall dampness and seepage. This procedure involves repairing or reconstructing water pathways and pipelines within the walls to cure internal leakages. After treatment, the wall is rebuilt and repainted.

Adequate insulation can be added to the wall by internal treatment, and it will prevent further penetration of moisture into the wall. Waterproof tiles can also be used in place of previously damaged tiles. It is also important to mention here that the construction of your home plays a crucial role in saving your home from dampness. That’s why it is always highly recommended to get your home or building constructed by reliable construction companies.

Health Hazards Due to Dampness In the Wall

Damp walls are related to moisture and humidity, and the dampness in the wall may cause increased dampness within the room, and it can also incite a foul smell within the area. These factors may impose an increased risk of respiratory infections and allergies.

Asthma can also be aggravated and worsened by the dampness in the room.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs:

When should we be worried about wall dampening?
You should start looking for the cause of seepage in the wall as soon as you see a tidemark on the wall or a raised and cracked surface on the wall; you should also start thinking of the treatment for this dampness by this time.

Does wall dampening weaken the construction?
Yes, seepage or dampness in the walls weakens the structures because it traps moisture within the wall and continuously eats up constructive materials like a termite.

What is the most probable cause of wall dampness?
The most likely cause of wall dampness is leakage of water by a washroom tap or by water pipelines within the walls. The 2nd most important cause of dampness is the moisture that resides within the air; the more the humidity levels, the greater the chances of dampness in the wall.

The Final Take

Dampness in the walls is now a common finding in many households because of increasing humidity and climatic changes and overuse of water in the houses. It is not a non-treatable issue, it can easily be treated by some valid measures. It can also be prevented easily, but once it affects a structure, it progresses rapidly and tends to destroy the entire construction. It makes the walls weak and can lead to the collapse of buildings and architecture very rapidly.

It spreads to the surrounding areas like a termite. If dampness in walls is treated at the right time, the wall can be saved from massive damage, and recurrence can also be prevented easily.

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