BUILDING DAMPNESS: Effects, Causes & Solutions

You are a thief, a cheat, you bought fake building materials for me and all sorts were what I heard my brother shouting at a painter.

There was a time my brother just got his house finished with very high-quality paints. It was amazingly beautiful and great. But not quite long, the said building started becoming ugly on daily basis which gave him a serious concern, all his books and clothes had gone bad, the rendered wall and the paints are budging, peeling off from the wall, he was left with flakes of the mortar and paints on the ground to get rid of on daily basis.


Have you ever observed various wet patterns or wet maps on your walls before which always give you serious concern? Many times, these wet patterns make it looks like everything is not right in your building. Often times, you feel like carrying your building out of that location to another all because of the ugly wet maps on your building. These BUILDING DAMPNESS: Effects, Causes & Solutionsfeatures on your wall are referred to as dampness.

The effect of this dampness ranges from

  • distorted aesthetics,
  • damaged painting,
  • flaking of block wall rendering to differential settlement of the building


After serious investigations into these ugly experiences, the following was discovered to be some of the causes:

Leakage from mechanical piping

This causes a kind of dampness that is always observed on walls bordering the toilets, bathrooms and kitchen. Many times, there may be bad fitting joints on the water supply lines or wastewater lines. These joints leak water in bit continuously and soak the wall from the inside till it appears on the external. The leaked water affects the aesthetic and structural integrity of the building.

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This can be corrected by re-piping the plumbing lines and pressure testing the laid pipes before commissioning.

Upward movement of water from soil

All building and civil engineering structures rest on the soil or earth. When there is rainfall, water percolates into the soil. The soil has the ability to retain water for certain period of time before it moves horizontally beneath the ground surface. Sometimes, the soil gets saturated or oversaturated due to rise in water table.

As a result, the water moves towards the ground surface through capillary getting in contact with the walls, foundation or ground floor slab. Consequently, this causes dampness on the wall, on the foundation or the ground floor slab of the building.

This can be corrected by oil base paint or bituminous paints. For a new building, lying of the damp proof membrane before concreting the ground floor is essential.


When there is rainfall, there are different movement of water ranging from

  • water splashes on the building walls
  • water moves from the top of the building
  • from the roof slab
  • roof leakages.
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This is usually associated with wet patterns from top of the building in contrast to the ones always observed on the bottom of the building.

This can be remedied by

  • the timely arrest of roof leakage using a flash band or de-roofing,
  • felting of roof slab using felt membrane
  • coping on the top of the wall before roofing the building.

Stagnant water body

The dampness of building may occur as a result of water finding its way to escape when trapping between walls. This usually occurs when the ground floor is impervious for water to percolate. I visited a site and saw the wall soak and after series of analysis, it was discovered that water sips out of the building through the walls because the ground floor was impervious.

Always allow for water drain outlet or avoid standing water in a building.

If dampness is not arrested early, it will cause termite infestation, flaking of paint, corrosion, weak rendered wall. Imagine your building looking aesthetically old than its age.

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For consultation on your building construction send an email to oluoniao@yahoo.com or call 09055522237.

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He is a civil engineer and has over 7years experience in civil engineering and building construction. He has a degree in civil engineering

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