Old buildings in Cornwall were constructed using different materials than they are today, therefore a more sympathetic approach is required for their maintenance.

Damp Walls in Cornwall

Cornwall’s older buildings would have been constructed using Cob, stone or brick, with an earth or Lime binder. All of these traditional building materials have qualities that enable moisture to enter the structure, but also allow it to escape again. This moisture movement process is also known as breathability.

Damp Walls in Cornwall

Modern day building materials and methods are not normally of a breathable nature and when used on older buildings they affect the structures’ natural breathing process. Hindering the breathability of old building materials will almost certainly lead to moisture build-up within the structure, which will ultimately result in damp walls.

Completely eradicating moisture build-up (damp) in old buildings in Cornwall is impossible but managing it can be accomplished by following sensible/logical advice and using sensitive materials that reinstate their breathability.

Damp Walls in Cornwall Damp Walls in Cornwall

Along with the use of sensitive materials there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration when attempting to significantly reduce levels of damp. Please see our Damp Limitations website page for more information.

There are many reasons why your property is suffering from damp issues but in our, Leslie Cornell Building Restoration Ltd, experience the main causes of damp we find and the methods we undertake to limit the moisture build-up are:

Non-breathable Claddings

Careful removal of the existing non-breathable claddings, e.g. cement-based renders or plasters, followed by the introduction of a breathable Lime application, e.g. Lime pointing, Lime render, Lime plaster or Lime bag-rub.

Damp Walls in Cornwall Damp Walls in Cornwall

Damp Walls in Cornwall Damp walls in Cornwall

If a Lime render, plaster or bag-rub is introduced and painting is required, then it is imperative that a Lime paint or Mineral paint system is used as these too have breathable qualities.

Damp Walls in Cornwall

Ineffective or Non-existent Land Drainage

Installation of an appropriate land drainage system around the base of the walls will ensure that any water/rainwater is unable to saturate the structure. Drainage trenches and associated pipework, with a suitably distanced soak away, will ensure that rainwater run off from the walls will naturally find its way into the trench, any ground level water will finds its way into the trench before reaching the base of the wall and rainwater from guttering and downpipes will be diverted into the drainage pipework.

Damp Walls in Cornwall Damp Walls in Cornwall

Ineffective Rainwater Goods

An inspection of guttering and downpipes should be undertaken to ensure it is secure, no leakage and is suitably placed to fit directly into gulleys to flow into a land drain. Any ineffective rainwater goods should be repaired/replaced appropriately.

Damp Walls in Cornwall Damp Walls in Cornwall


All external vegetation on or within close proximity to the wall should be removed or cut back as this can reduce the moisture evaporation from the wall surfaces and can cause damage to the building materials.

Damp Walls in Cornwall Damp Walls in Cornwall

Following the implementation of any of the above processes, a good amount of time should be given to monitor the impacts and effects. Immediate and noticeable improvements will not be seen straight away due to an appropriate amount of time needed for the structure to dry out.

Living in an old property in Cornwall will require monitoring and general maintenance, as with any other property. They have been around for a lot longer than us and need a little sympathetic touch up every now and again, but this is not something to be wary of. Using the correct materials and getting the right advice is paramount to the buildings’ happiness and longevity.

If you have damp walls in Cornwall that you would like to discuss, please Contact Us.

Damp Walls Cornwall – Old Building Specialists Cornwall – Land Drainage Cornwall – Lime Specialists Cornwall

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Leslie Cornell
Unit 13/14 St Austell Bay Business Park
Par Moor Road
St Austell
PL25 3RF

Tel: 01726 337577
Mob: 07851 153 683
Email: cornellcob@outlook.com