Damp can affect any property of any age and there are many different types and causes of damp but ordinarily the costliest to resolve tend to be rising damp, followed by penetrating damp.
Whilst rising damp is a problem that can affect any property it is the least common form of dampness found in properties compared to the other types of damp (penetrating and condensation).
While rising damp can affect any property, it is more commonly found to affect older properties that do not have a damp-proof course in place or has one that has become damaged over time.
Unfortunately, the simple answer is that it is more than likely that your home insurance wont cover any damp proofing works you may require. The reason for this is that when you sign onto the insurance policy you normally have agreed that the property is already in good condition.
Having a damp survey carried out on the property is the best solution to sorting out the problem. This will help you understand the cause of the issue, to see what damp problems your property is affected by, and if any treatments will need to be carried out.
This information will also help when seeking insurance to help validate any claims that are accepted.
What is Rising Damp?
Rising damp occurs when groundwater creeps up the walls and/or through the floors of a building by a process known as ‘capillary action’. Building materials such as bricks, mortar and cement are porous, and so they can absorb and draw moisture upwards, just as a piece of tissue paper would if you dangled the end of it in a jar of water.
The property has no damp-proof course (DPC) inside its walls or damp-proof membrane (DPM) under its concrete floors. Alternatively, the DPC is place may be damaged – then the water is able to rise up above the foundations of the house and could eventually rear its ugly head in your ground-floor rooms.
This form of damp can also be caused by the external ground level being raised – for example, if a flower bed is directly up against an exterior wall, or an area next to the building has been concreted over or paved. There may be insufficient height to the damp proof course or if the ground levels next to the walls becomes higher than the DPC, it can act as a ‘bridge’ for rising groundwater. This allows it to bypass the DPC. The situation can be made worse if there is inadequate drainage to carry rainwater away from the building.
What is Penetrating Damp?
Penetrating damp is a common issue encountered by property owners, which is more common in properties which have been built with solid wall construction. This is also becoming a common problem in properties which have been built with cavity wall construction where cavity wall insulation has been installed poorly or been introduced in walls which are not suitable for the insulation material. This can allow rain to pass through a cavity wall and cause decorative spoiling internally.
Penetrating damp can affect your properties ceilings, walls and roofs and it can happen at any level of a property. It is much more common in older properties as they are far more likely to have solid external walls. A newly built property with cavity walls provides properties with much more protection and as a result is less likely to suffer from penetrating damp.
Your damp walls are likely to be a result of property defects. These can be internal and external issues. Some of the most common external issues tend to be issues such as faulty downpipes, defective roofing, defective masonry and leaking gutters.
What Damage Can Rising and Penetrating Damp Cause to Your House?
Rising damp and penetrating damp cannot only provide you with an unsightly stain on the wall but if left untreated it can lead to significant structural damage. This can occur if the dampness affects the timbers of the property which can lead to wood rot and wood infestation problems. If you are looking to sell the property, then this is going to deter any potential buyers.
Rising damp and penetrating damp issues do not fix themselves, so the sooner you can get an expert opinion on the root cause of your damp issue, the better.
Claiming for Damage from Damp on Home Insurance
We’re often asked “does house insurance cover damp?”. The answer to this question is most likely to be ‘no’.
To claim costs for repairs at your house then the damage needs to be caused by one specific event, which rising and penetrating damp don’t tend to fall in to/. This is because damp is generally caused by gradual deterioration in the condition of the building over a number of years.
There are a few insurers who do offer specific cover for rising damp, however, it is always best to carry out regular property maintenance to ensure that there are no expensive costs for treating rising damp in the future.
How to fix your Damp Problem
If your home has signs of rising ad penetrating damp then it is best to contact a damp proofing specialist who is fully qualified.
Fixing the root cause of your damp problem is the only the true way of getting rid of the issue so as not incur expensive costs in the future, which cannot be claimed through home insurance. Contact us now to help ensure the damp problem in your property is properly diagnosed and that you pay a fair price.