Rising damp


You’ve noticed the unsightly bubbling, flaking and peeling of your house walls. You’ve painted, repainted and painted some more - but it just keeps on coming back! What could the problem be? You, happy DIYer, are a victim of Rising Damp.

The good news is that it’s quite a common problem for homeowners and can be fixed with a bit of preparation and some elbow-grease.

What is Rising Damp, and what causes it?

Rising Damp is a form of damp that affects the walls of a building when moisture from the ground (or a leaky pipe!) travels up through the wall. In a nutshell, your home’s walls basically suck up water like a thirsty builder on a summer’s day.

What causes it?

The main cause of Rising Damp is a faulty Damp Proof Course (DPC), which allows moisture to penetrate your home’s walls.

Other causes include:

  • Inadequate sub-floor ventilation – this causes a build-up of humidity and means that only the minimal evaporation from the soil and base walls occurs. 
  • Sub-floor obstructions – any debris in the sub-floor that obstructs the flow of ventilation and may help contribute to dampness by bridging the DPC 
  • Poor drainage and/or damaged guttering and pipes – water may be directed underneath your house if you have poor drainage.


Commonly the first thing you’d find is a patch of wall with a band of dampness starting from the floor upwards – this often causes the paint to flake or the wallpaper to peel. Other unsightly and smelly signs include:

  • Damp smells and a musty odour
  • A reduced temperature at lower portions of your wall 
  • Rotting of embedded floor timbers 
  • Crumbling / blistered plaster due to salt crystallisation

Some tell-tale visual signs of rising damp

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Getting down to fixing it

Each case of Rising Damp varies from another, it’s best to visit your nearest BUCO with photos of your problem so our consultants can help you with the perfect solution. To give you an idea how to fix the simplest case – bubbling paint – without needing to chisel any plaster away.

Luckily with just a view items, all available at your nearest BUCO store, you will be able to treat rising damp yourself.


  • Scraper 
  • 1L Plaster primer
  • Paint brush 
  • 1L paint matched to your wall’s colour 
  • 1L Damp Seal


Step 1:

Start by scraping the peeling / bubbling paint off using your scraper. Make sure to remove every piece of paint from the affected area.

Step 2:

Apply a generous coat of Damp Seal and leave to dry for 24 hours. You can apply a second coat if required, again leave to dry.

Step 3:

Grab your Plaster Primer and paint over the treated area – make sure all cracks and joints are well sealed.

Step 4:

Repaint your wall with your colour-matched paint.

After all is primed and painter, this should be a very simple solve for you damp problem, however, we recommend you get professional advice and materials to help you if your Rising Damp problem is more severe.


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