Understanding Water Ingress: Causes, Effects, and Solutions

What is Water Ingress or Penetrating damp?

Water ingress, also known as penetrating damp, occurs when water enters a building and causes damage to the structure and its contents. Unlike rising damp, water ingress occurs when water penetrates the cavity walls causing damp patches leading to further problems such as structural damage, cosmetic damage and even health problems. Water ingress should not be confused with water egress. They are two separate forms of water seepage. Unlike water ingress, water egress drainage is important to some degree. Allowing water to escape the building. But, defective water egress drainage can be just as damaging to a building. It is essential to deal with water ingress issues quickly to prevent further damage.

Causes of Water Ingress

Common Causes of Water Ingress

Building defects and structural faults, such as cracks in walls and floors, and poor drainage can cause water ingress. But there are many more causes that you may not think to check;
  • Inadequate basement waterproofing or missing damp proof membrane/damp proof course
  • Foundation cracks or groundwater pressure caused by foundation damage can lead to rising and/or penetrating damp.
  • Defective drainage, faulty plumbing or broken pipework, causing leaks and water ingress.
  • Gutter and downspout issues causing overflow.
  • Poorly sealed window frames and doors allowing water ingress and causing condensation.
  • Roof leaks caused by missing tiles, poorly built flat roofs or other roof damage.
  • Broken tiles, blocked air bricks, cracked render and cavity walls can also allow water to penetrate causing severe damage to masonry.
Causes of Water Ingress

Identifying Water Ingress

Warning Signs of Water Ingress

There are several signs to look out for to identify whether you may have water ingress.
  • Damp walls, ceilings, and floors. This may include damp spreading across surfaces.
  • Mould and mildew growth, musty odours and a feeling of dampness in the air.
  • Peeling paint, bubbled or peeling wallpaper and water stains.
  • Fungal decay and damage to internal walls and partitions.

Effects and Consequences

Damage Caused by Water Ingress

Water ingress can cause structural damage that can lead to costly repairs for property owners. For example, water ingress that comes from a damaged or poorly installed roof can cause timber deterioration which can attract fungus leading to wet or dry wood rot. This can cause more serious structural issues. It can also be the reason for masonry deterioration, occurring with water ingress through porous brickwork, render, or deteriorating mortar. Worryingly, chronic health issues can arise from damp which releases allergens, irritants, and toxins.

Unique Challenges in Cellars or Basements

Water ingress in a cellar or basement is a common issue in the UK. Ground water ingress through brickwork and foundations is usually caused by an inefficient waterproofing system. The type C waterproofing system is a popular solution for waterproofing cellars and basements. Other methods include using a waterproof slurry coating on walls, water egress drainage in the basement structure and surrounding ground.

Water Ingress Prevention and Treatment

How to Prevent Water Ingress

Regular property maintenance and performing your own inspection is crucial to identify potential problem areas. There are some preventative checks property owners can perform to keep on top of water ingress before it becomes a larger issue.
  • Improving exterior drainage, including valley gutters.
  • Identify the source of water ingress and address the root cause. Make sure you check internal walls and external ground level as well as near windows and guttering.
  • Sealing cracks and gaps in masonry as water ingress prevention.
  • Use a water repellent or facade cream to prevent water ingress through masonry.
  • Ensure your property and plumbing system are in good shape to prevent water ingress.
  • Damp proof course (dpc) and other damp proof systems can prevent water ingress through brickwork, ground levels and keep your property safe from damage.

How to Treat Water Ingress

Alongside preventative measures, it is important to treat water ingress as soon as it is noticed. Seek the help of a professional damp surveyor to assess the water penetration, internal walls, water ingress and even potential water egress problems. A professional will advise on where your problem is stemming from and the best treatment to fix the issue and prevent water ingress from recurring. Contact Damp Surveyors Ltd today if you notice any of the common signs of water ingress mentioned in this post.

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Picture of Sam Fitzgerald – CSRT Damp Surveyor

Sam Fitzgerald – CSRT Damp Surveyor

Author – CSRT Damp Surveyor
Sam is a highly qualified and seasoned damp surveyor with over ten years of specialised experience. With a strong academic foundation in building surveying and numerous professional certifications, Sam has established himself as an authority in the field of damp diagnosis and remediation.

At Damp Surveyors Ltd, Sam applies his extensive knowledge to help homeowners across the UK address and solve their damp issues effectively. His approach combines cutting-edge techniques with a commitment to honest, client-focused service, ensuring that every survey and recommendation is tailored to the specific needs of the property.

As a thought leader, Sam’s insights into damp prevention and treatment have been featured in industry publications, underscoring his role as a trusted expert dedicated to maintaining the integrity and comfort of your home.

Testing device for measuring dampness in a house


At Damp Surveyors Ltd, we stand out as your premier choice for damp survey services in the UK. Our commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction sets us apart. Here’s why you should choose us:

  • Exclusive 3 Free Quotes: We offer a one-of-a-kind optional service where you not only get our top-notch damp survey but also receive 3 free quotes from vetted local companies, giving you peace of mind by saving you thousands on getting the most competitive quotes, and also time researching and contacting other reputable companies.
  • Knowledge and Experience: We provide unmatched knowledge to every survey we conduct thanks to our team of seasoned professionals and years of industry experience. This guarantees accurate assessments and practical solutions.
  • Nationwide Coverage: Whether you’re in a bustling city or a rural area, our services extend across the UK, making us accessible wherever your property is located. Choose us for nationwide reliability and excellence.

Choose Damp Surveyors Ltd as your reliable partner for all-inclusive survey needs. Our top concerns are the health and safety of your property, and we are committed to providing outcomes you can trust.

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