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Rising Damp is when moisture rises from the ground into the walls and plaster due to capillary action through the materials. It may be caused by not having a level of damp proofing in the wall, or by debris bridging the existing damp proof course.
The rising damp contains hygroscopic salts and as dampness evaporates from the surface, the salts remain in the plaster. These salts build up and absorb moisture from the air making the problem even worse.
Condensation occurs when water vapour is carried in warm air, (the warmer the air, the more condensation it can carry) and then comes into contact with cooler air or a cold surface and loses the water it is holding. Too much of this can cause damp.
Penetrating damp is classed as any water that finds its way inside from the outside. It occurs at all levels of the building but is more prevalent higher up and on south west facing walls. Overflowing gutters, missing roof tiles, downspouts, leaking pipes, badly fitting windows or doors and damaged pointing, cladding, flashing or render are all sources of penetrating damp.