Most types of damp will be less noticeable in summer. They will often be forgotten about, until they resurface when the wet weather increases, in autumn and winter.
Rising damp is the result of moisture being sucked up from the ground through the foundations. This is most prevalent when the water table is high and there are large amounts of ground water present.
Most building materials, including bricks, stone, blocks, and concrete footings, are all porous materials. This means they can absorb a certain amount of water via capillary action.
As the water table rises, the moisture also rises through the masonry, which acts like a wick, sucking up the ground water.
In most instances your damp proof course (DPC) will stop this from happening. This is usually located roughly 150mm above ground level, where it can often be seen in the mortar joint on the external wall.
Depending on the properties age, this could be a modern plastic DPC, bitumen, slate or even 1-2 rows of engineering bricks below the height of the internal floor level.
Having a DPC installed was made compulsory in the 1870’s, so any property built after this time should have one installed. If your house was built before this time, it is likely it doesn’t have a DPC.
If your house was built after the 1870’s and you are suffering with rising damp, then it is likely your DPC has failed. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including a poor installation of the original DPC. As well as wear and tear, or any other type of damage.
Will rising damp occur in Summer?
Generally, rising damp is a seasonal problem. As a result, it is not something your property will suffer with in summer. Instead, it will usually get worse when there is more ground water present. This is more common in late autumn, winter, and early spring.
As the water table lowers in warmer summer months, the damp tide marks created by rising damp will usually start to dry out and appear to be improving.
This is because the water is no longer being drawn from the ground below. Also, the rise in temperature will aid in the drying process.
When rising damp does dry, you will still have tide stains on the wall. These are created by hygroscopic salts that are drawn from the ground and masonry. They are then deposited on the surface of your walls, leaving unsightly stains.
Even when your walls are completely dry, these stains will still exist, and you will need to re-plaster and redecorate to get rid of this issue.
It is also advised to use a plaster that contains a salt inhibitor and waterproofing. There are specialist damp proofing plasters designed specifically for this purpose.
Hygroscopic salts are very absorbent, and they will attract and suck up moisture. This means that even in warm summer months, if your house is poorly ventilated and there is a lot of moisture in the air, condensation could still be an issue.
Because the salts are so absorbent, it is not uncommon for them to absorb the moisture in the air, causing them to still appear damp. This will only happen if there is a lot of moisture present and will be quickly improved by improving ventilation.
How to fix rising damp in summer when its dry
Due to the weather being much drier in summer, it is the best time to fix rising damp issues. This is mainly due to the ground being much drier. As a result, your walls are not holding a high level of moisture.
One of the most popular ways to fix rising damp is with a DPC injection cream. This can be done with DIY injection kits, or you can hire a professional to do the work.
DIY kits are quite popular, as they will save you a bit of money. You can read more about some of the best DPC injection kits here.
Alternatively, if you would rather hire a professional, the price is not going to be that much more. You will simply be paying for materials and some additional fees for labour.
The advantage of hiring a professional, is you will often get a guarantee. This could be for as long as 15-20 years, where they guarantee that no further rising damp will occur.
You can also save money by comparing quotes from multiple local damp proofing companies. This is quite easy to do nowadays online.
There are various sites that rate and review local trades. We have found that the best one for comparing damp proofing companies, is a service called Bark. They allow you to get up to 5 local damp proofing quotes. Plus, you can see all the companies past reviews.
Also, because multiple companies are competing for the same job, it tends to be much cheaper than hiring a damp company directly. We have seen significant discounts for rising damp treatment costs.
Other things to consider
Once your rising damp has been repaired, there are a few other things to consider. This mainly involves installing new plaster, skirting boards, and redecorating.
When you have installed a new chemical DPC, you will have removed plaster inside. Before you re-plaster you should allow time for the wall to completely dry out.
Ideally, you don’t want to trap moisture in the wall, as this could cause more issues later. Also, as the walls dry, more salts will be brought to the surface. This is usually in the form of powdery white deposits.
These deposits can easily be brushed off. This will also help you to avoid any moisture issues in the future.
Finally, once your wall is re-plastered, you may want to add an additional layer of protection, with a good quality damp proof paint. Whilst this is not essential, it could add a final barrier for any small amounts of trapped moisture.
Rising damp is often seen as a winter issue. This is certainly when you are likely to see it flare up and cause the most problems. However, just because it isn’t as noticeable in summer, that doesn’t mean there isn’t still an issue that needs fixing.
It is highly advised that you take advantage of these warmer, dryer, summer months to resolve the issue.
If you get this problem fixed when conditions are dry, you will make the repairs much easier and avoid any future problems when the bad weather returns.
It is important to remember, that leaving any kind of damp untreated will result in the problem becoming more serious over time.