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Rising Damp and Health Issues

Rising Damp and Health Issues

05 May 2018

First of All, What Is Rising Damp?

Rising damp, a worldwide phenomenon, is a major cause of decay to masonry materials such as stone, brick and mortar. Even when mild it can cause unsightly crumbling of exterior masonry and staining of internal finishes. It may also cause musty smells in poorly ventilated rooms.

Rising damp occurs as a result of capillary suction of moisture from the ground into porous masonry building materials such as stone, brick, earth and mortar. The moisture evaporates from either face of the wall (inside or outside), allowing more to be drawn from below. The height to which the moisture will rise is determined by the evaporation rate and the nature of the wall. The normal limit for rising damp ranges from 0.5 to 1.5 metres above ground level.
Accurate diagnosis of the cause and extent of the damp problem is very important. Specialist advice should be sought.

Health-Related Issues caused by Rising Damp

Mould associated with damp buildings can trigger nasal congestion, sneezing, cough, wheeze, respiratory infections and worsen asthma and allergic conditions.
People who are more susceptible to these symptoms and other serious health effects include those with:
● weakened immune systems
● allergies
● severe asthma
● chronic, obstructive, or allergic lung diseases

According to the NSW Health Department

People with asthma, allergies, or other breathing conditions may be more sensitive to mould. People with weakened immune systems (such as people with HIV infection, cancer patients taking chemotherapy or people who have received an organ transplant) and with chronic lung diseases (such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and emphysema) are more at risk of mould infection, particularly in their lungs. The NSW Health Department continue to state, Rising damp is ground moisture rising up a brick or stone wall. Poor subfloor ventilation or moisture in the subfloor area will worsen the problem. This can be fixed by installing a new damp course or waterproof barrier in the wall. Ensure the weep holes and air vents at the base of your home are uncovered.

If you have rising or lateral damp an experienced building consultant can check the ‘damp course’ and recommend ways to fix the problem.

For more information call 1300 314 113

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