Rising dampness

The rising dampness is without any doubt one of the most common problems in buildings. The water naturally present in the soil rises up along the foundation, until it reaches the vertical walls, appearing in their lower side.

All building materials such as mortars, bricks, concrete etc. are characterized by a certain degree of porosity, that is the presence of air in them. All the areas where the air is present are called "capillary" and actually represent the way that water always follows to rise up on the materials.

The rising dampness after years can cause more or less severe damages to the walls: aesthetic damages or injuries, such as stains and moisture halo, detaching of paints, moulds and efflorescences; but also damages to the structural level: detachments of plaster parts, chalking and loss of consistency of materials.

Unlike what is generally perceived, is not the water the principal cause of these damage, but the minerals dissolved in it. These salts are naturally present in soil and in building materials and, once in contact with water, dissolve themselves inside it,  becoming a unique solution. But when the water evaporates, these salts remain in the pores of the masonry, crystallizing and greatly increasing their volume.

After some time, these salts will come inevitably to saturate the masonry, thereby exerting a pressure that causes the detachment and crumbling of the building materials. The classic example of this phenomenon is the release of saltpetre from brickwork.

To prevent the capillary rising of dampness is necessary to provide an adequate waterproofing of the entire foundation structure of the building: keeping dry the base of the structure, this will remain so throughout its complete height.

Where, however, that sealing was not realized during the construction phase of the building, to solve the problems related to rising dampness, it's possible to proceed with different types of intervention.