Rising damp, lateral damp, penetrating damp, condensation damp
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Damp Home? Know The Facts: Rising, Lateral, Penetrating or Condensation Damp

Damp Home? Know The Facts: Rising, Lateral, Penetrating or Condensation Damp

Whether it’s rising damp, lateral damp, penetrating damp or condensation, damp can be a major issue if not treated quickly. So if you’re considering purchasing a property, it pays to look for signs of damp in houses before you make a decision. In this article, we’ll discuss the types of damp and how to treat them effectively. 

Rising damp

Rising damp occurs when water seeps into the walls of your home from the ground up.  

Signs of rising damp: 

  • Tide marks (potentially up to 1m up the interior wall) 
  • Staining or blistered/peeling paintwork 
  • Musty smells 
  • Damaged skirting boards 


Effective treatments and preventions include: 

  • Ensuring the property has a damp-proof course installed prior to purchase 
  • Maintaining the level of garden soil surrounding the house (it should not rise higher than damp-proof barriers) 
  • Installing and maintaining rainwater drainage equipment 

Condensation damp

The amount of moisture in a room can cause condensation damp, especially when the air outside is colder than inside. It’s most common in areas where there is a lot of moisture, like the kitchen, laundry, and bathroom.  

Signs of condensation damp: 

  • Dark mould around windows 
  • Water droplets on windowpanes 
  • Streaking on walls 


Prevention is key with condensation damp. If left untreated, mould build up can cause health problems, and damage to window frames, paintwork and plaster.  

Ventilation systems are a good preventative measure. For example, extractor fans in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundries. 

Penetrating damp

Water leaks in the wall or roof are referred to as penetrating damp. It can be caused by leaking roofs, damaged exterior walls, ill-fitted windows and doors, leaking downpipes or internal plumbing, and overflowing gutters etc. 

Signs of penetrating damp: 

  • Sudden brown stains on interior walls/ceilings 
  • Wet, crumbly, or bubbly plaster 


Identifying the source of your leak is key in treating penetrating damp. Also consider: 

  • Ensuring maximum ventilation around damp-proof courses 
  • Properly applying and maintaining exterior paintwork 
  • Regularly checking and maintaining roofs  

Lateral damp

Like rising damp, lateral damp occurs when water penetrates your wall. The causes of lateral damp are damaged wall tanking barriers, garden beds too close to the house and cracked walls etc.  

Treatments for lateral damp are varied and often costly, and left unchecked, can be detrimental to your property’s structural integrity. As such, it’s best to seek professional advice from a building inspector if suspected.  

 Looking at a home to purchase and suspect rising damp is an issue? 

Contact Action Property Inspections to book a property inspection today.


About Andrew Mackintosh

Andrew Mackintosh has been answering home inspection questions in the greater Brisbane area since 1995. He has personally carried out over 20,000 building inspections and is a licensed builder and licensed building inspector, Member of Queensland Master Builders Association & Institute of Building Consultants. Being the business owner and the inspector, Andrew is passionate about providing clients with excellent customer service, value for money, honest, unbiased, thorough inspection and reporting in a professional and timely manner to allow clients to make informed decisions when purchasing property.

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