Rising Damp or Salt Damp?

Do I have Rising Damp or Salt Damp?

Are Rising Damp and Salt Damp different issues?

Can a house have Rising Damp but not Salt Damp?

I don’t have Rising Damp, but I have Salt Damp.  These are common questions or statements we hear from our customers. And understandably there is a great deal of confusion surrounding the two phrases. Hopefully, this article will help to clear that up a little.

So firstly, What is Rising Damp?

According to Wikipedia (Damp (structural) – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rising_damp_in_buildings)
“In simple terms rising damp occurs when groundwater travels upwards through porous building materials such as brick, sandstone, or mortar, much in the same way that oil travels upwards through the wick of a lamp. The effect can easily be seen by simply placing a piece of porous brick, stone, or mortar in a shallow tray of water and observing how the water is absorbed into the porous material and is transported above the water line.”

And for the Wikipedia sceptics:
The publication “Salt Attack and Rising Damp” by David Young (2008) states that Rising Damp is “caused by capillary action (or suction) drawing water from the ground through the network of pores in a permeable masonry material”.

Ok, so now you ask – What is Salt Damp?

Salt Damp (as it is referred to in South Australia) is the SAME ISSUE.
So why do we call it something different?
No it’s not because we are from SA and we change names to suit us (yes I am referring to the Fritz / Devon debate) and no, we haven’t consumed too much of our famous Shiraz. On this occasion there is a valid reason.

South Australia suffers from extreme soil salinity because of considerable land clearing in our early settlement days. This has meant that we have close to ground level  water tables full of salt and very salty soils. In turn, this means that when groundwater travels upwards through our porous masonry, it carries with it large quantities of soluble salts. And it is these very salts that cause considerable internal and external damage to mortar, bricks, stone and plaster.

So therefore very early on the issue in SA became known as Salt Damp. Mostly because the damage caused by the salt in the masonry was far more significant in this state than in other states. In other areas of Australia, the UK and Europe their walls are affected by moisture and salt (Rising Damp & Salt Attack), but in South Australia, the decay in our walls happens more dramatically and to a higher degree. The salt content in our walls is considerably higher and the damage caused by Salt Attack greater.


So to conclude, whether you call it Rising Damp or Salt Damp then, either way, you are calling it the correct thing. There is no difference in the issue itself –  Salt Damp is just the term referred to by most South Australians.

However, one issue does remain, and that is you have a problem that needs to be repaired.   And to minimise the damage that occurs you are better to do this sooner rather than later. We would recommend that you will need to have it checked and repaired by a licenced and experienced professional.

Want us to come out for a free inspection; then either call us on 81321166 or click here to contact us.