Penetrating damp is caused by water permeating through walls from the outside. Unlike rising damp, it can occur at all levels of a building but is more prevalent higher up.
Rain penetration through masonry (known as penetrating damp) is a common problem in buildings, particularly in the case of those of solid wall construction.
The problem is also increasingly common in buildings of cavity wall construction where cavity wall insulation has been poorly installed or used in walls that are not suitable for cavity wall insulation.
Other paths through which rain can cross through a cavity wall include incorrectly positioned wall ties and mortar obstructions in the cavity.
Penetration damp is usually caused by porous walls, spalled bricks and building defects such as defective guttering, down pipes, roof damage or dilapidated windows.
In addition, penetrating damp normally occurs on external walls where the external ground levels are higher than the internal floors (bridging). As a result, dampness within the soil bears against these walls and penetrates through them. Consequently, this type of damp is particularly prevalent in basements and cellars.
Penetrating damp above ground level may be confused with rising damp where it occurs at low levels on external walls. Moisture profiles will generally be fairly uniform over the affected area, perhaps increasing towards the source of ingress (i.e. through the depth of the wall). Hygroscopic salts are not usually found unless they were already present in the structure or where the building is in a coastal location. Hygroscopic salts can be introduced by flooding, particularly from seawater.
Mouldy smell or mould growth on the internal décor
Damage to existing plaster works:
Damage to the brickwork (Spalling):
Excessive moss growth on the external walls:
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