Trust Mark Logo
Which Trusted Trader Logo
Safe Contractor Logo

What Causes Lateral Damp?

who is the best damp proofing company

When soil presses against a wall that is cracked or made from porous materials, groundwater can seep through and saturate the wall, causing lateral damp.

You’ve probably seen lateral damp on a small scale when a flower bed is attached to an external wall. This wall will usually have a wet patch surrounding the flower bed caused by moisture being absorbed from the soil, which is exactly what happens when soil beneath the ground rests against the wall of a building.

Soil becomes wetter the lower you dig down, so the risk of lateral damp is increased in deep cellars and basements. Some areas have a higher water level in the soil than others, such as Fulham, Putney and Richmond, due to their proximity to the thames.

Buildings on sloped ground are also more vulnerable, as the slow flow of groundwater downhill puts additional pressure on any walls in the way.

But it’s not only underground floors that are affected. Soil rises over time, exposing groundwater to walls not originally built to withstand lateral damp.

In such cases, in addition to treating the damp, it’s worth excavating excess soil build up to stop the problem reoccurring.

Environ Property Service
Last Updated 13 September 2018

Book Your FREE Survey Now...

Calendar Book Appointment

Live Chat Live Chat

Email Email Us

Tanks for nothing

With enough time, water will always manage to push its way through bricks or cement. This is why building regulations require that all underground developments are equipped with a tanking system.

Tanking is a waterproof seal – either a slurry or a membrane – that allows water to pass into the exterior wall but stops it reaching the interior. This water then drains out naturally, evaporates or is collected and pumped away.

Unfortunately, tanking systems are often poorly installed or, in older properties, missing entirely.

Beware of hygroscopic salts

Lateral damp can become even more serious if hygroscopic salts from the surrounding soil contaminate the walls. Hygroscopic salts appear as a white, chalky residue on contaminated walls.

These salts are constantly absorbing moisture, even from the air, which can rapidly accelerate a damp problem as the wall ends up being attacked from two fronts, rapidly accelerating the spread of damp.

Book Your FREE Survey Now...

Calendar Book Appointment

Live Chat Live Chat

Email Email Us

Here are some helpful related articles

I Need a Carpenter Near Me

Finding a reliable carpenter in London is a challenge. Don’t waste time trawling through ads on Gumtree, give Environ a call for picture perfect carpentry from a family run London company. Whether...

read more

A Guide to Section 20 for Leaseholders

What does Section 20 mean for leaseholders? Section 20 considers freeholders, Resident’s Management Companies, Right to Manage Companies or any other property managers with freehold responsibilities...

read more

Should I Paint Over My Damp Walls?

One of the most common and costly DIY mistakes is trying to paint over walls or ceilings suffering from damp and mould. Before long, the paint is bubbly, peeling and mouldy again – your money wasted...

read more

What is Lateral Damp?

Lateral damp is when groundwater penetrates sideways into a property through cracks or porous building materials. It can affect any floor which is in contact with soil, but is most common in...

read more

What is Penetrating Damp?

Penetrating damp is damp which has entered the property from the exterior or from leaking plumbing. This also known as water ingress. If water is entering a wall, floor or ceiling at a faster rate...

read more

What Causes Penetrating Damp?

Do I have penetrating damp Penetrating damp is caused by water entering a wall, ceiling or floor from outside the building or from leaky plumbing. A wide variety of exterior defects can allow water...

read more

Why is My Basement Damp?

In London, it can be difficult to find the room or get permission to extend your property. This means that more and more people are turning to their basements for extra space. But no one wants to...

read more

Book a free, no obligation damp survey from our damp experts

Many types of damp share similar symptoms, so if you’re going to spend money fixing your damp, you want to make sure you get the right treatment.

To help you identify the damp in your property, we provide a free damp survey. Call us now or request your call back to book yours.