Advice, Damp, Information

Different kinds of damp

It is the one word that everyone dreads ‘damp’.

You may have experienced damp already at some point or another your home, but did you know there are many different types of damp? In this article we will explain the different kinds of damp you would likely find in the home and how you can recognise what type it is.


Penetrating Damp

The most common type of damp,  this is caused by water leaking through the walls, it can expand across the walls or ceiling, but it will always move horizontally, penetrating damp is almost always caused by structural problems in the building, such as faulty guttering or roofing, cracks and holes in walls, eroding external brickwork, poor pointing – this makes for an easy way for water to get into the walls. Internal leaks can also be a cause, such as pipes under sinks and baths.

Signs of penetrating damp
Penetrating damp often shows up through damp patches on walls internally and externally or on ceilings, which may darken when it rains. You’re more likely to get penetrating damp if you live in an older building with solid walls.


Rising Damp

Another common type of damp, caused by ground water moving up through a wall or floor, most floors and walls allow some water in, but this is usually protected by a barrier called damp-proof course, this is to effectively seal and protect the floor and walls from ground water.

Newer houses should all have damp-proof course, but a lot of older buildings may not, or they may have worn down or been damaged over time, if this is the case your walls and floor could be at risk from rising damp. Rising damp can also happen when there is a lack of drainage.

Signs of rising damp
Rising damp can be noticed along damaged skirting boards, crumbling plaster, peeling paint, peeling wallpaper, wet patches, floor coverings lifting, damp patches, tide marks on the wall (up to one metre high – which leave a residue of water and salts), Nails or screws can also show signs of rust from water exposure, this type of damp is usually associated with a musty smell.


Lateral damp

Lateral damp is very similar to rising damp, but the water gets in from an outside wall, leaky pipes, missing tiles and overflowing gutters, the damp can appear at any point along a wall.

Signs of Lateral damp
Be on the lookout for dark, damp patches on the walls and ceiling, woodwork that shows signs of damage, mildew in crevices, crumbly, wet plaster and mould spores.




Condensation is another very common type of damp, usually caused by moist air condensing on walls, particularly kitchens and bathrooms where there is a lot of air moisture, condensation is most common in the winter as at this time of the year the walls are a lot colder and homes are a lot warmer inside. Condensation can become worse with poor ventilation i.e. extractor fan not working, heating being on and off, not using lids on saucepans, keeping windows shut whilst using the shower or bath.

A little bit of condensation is normal for most homes, however, a lot of it is a sign that there is simply too much water vapour in the house.

Signs of Condensation
You can easily recognise condensation, it is one of those things that you can’t really miss. Water droplets on walls or windows, dark mould appearing around windows and crevices, or along window seals, or notice a musty smell.


It is important to know how to recognise each type of damp as each needs to be treated differently, if you would like to learn more, please see our article ‘How to prevent mould and damp in your home’.

And if you think you have any of these issues with damp in your home, please inform your landlord or housing association as soon as possible, as damp does not fix itself, unfortunately it will only get worse if left untreated.

And if you have no luck with your landlord or housing association rectifying the problem, then please get in touch and see how we can help.


Have you been asking your landlord to fix issues at your home?

Have they failed to repair them?

In a few simple steps, Tenant Housing Repair Rights can assess if you have grounds to make you landlord repair your home.

We provide a completely free services and will put you in touch with the our friendly legal professionals, who will ensure you get the repairs done to you home you deserve.

Register you details and information about the items you have been asking your landlord to repair.


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