What is the Difference Between a Leak and a Damp Patch


Burst Pipe in Hoyland

So today we were called by a customer in Hoyland near Barnsley, who said a couple of months ago they had a pipe joint burst around their boiler and it flooded the downstairs. They took up the carpets that were damaged and after everything had dried out had a new light coloured one laid in its place. Over the next few weeks, the skirting board started to go miss coloured in the corner and the carpet and floor appeared wet. there was also a damp musty smell.

Outside this room was the garden and the door then the built in garage. The garage had an Aco drain in front of it but the doorway had not and water pooled here after the rain. On the brickwork, you could see the physical damp proof course (DPC) in the brickwork and it is low on the corner compared with the floor level and DPC, but then the ground tapers off.

Outside the room with the damp issues.
Outside the room with the damp issues.

The customer thought that after heavy rain the area inside became wetter and came to the conclusion that water was somehow getting in via the wall floor joint or something.

When our surveyor arrived he did the basics first by looking all around outside where the problem was ruling out things and looking for potential causes.

The first thing that sprung to mind was the hole in the mortar joint where the DPC was visible, could rainwater be driving in through here? Secondly, there was a hairline crack along the mortar joint on the DPC level, is rainwater driving in here? The third and final question was the sealing around the window and the sills, it had shrunk and there were slight gaps all around. This was the favorite and main contender at the moment as water could have been accessing the cavity from above and running down to the bottom rather than traveling across.

The issue was still the amount of dampness and the pattern of the readings taken. readings taken said the amount of moisture in the corner was extremely high and pointed to a wetter place than the rest of the wall..

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The walls had been plasterboarded and stuck with drywall adhesive and at the bottom was a line of dots that plasterers put on the wall so the skirting will fix to it.

The Surveyor sought permission to open up the wall.
The Surveyor sought permission to open up the wall.

The surveyor saw the radiator and saw that the pipework was the new thin plastic type that is embedded in the wall. He then started to wonder if it was a burst pipe. We asked permission from the customer to take off the skirting as they were only tacked and stuck on, and the moisture had losened them anyway to which he agreed.

After removing the skirting we asked if we could try to locate the pipe work which usually runs up in the corners of the wall.

The plasterboard was so wet and perished that it just pulled off and water could be felt dripping from the pipe.

Pipe exposed and found to be leaking
Pipe exposed and found to be leaking


The drywall at the bottom that formed a band was stopping the water running out at a greater speed and when the weather was wet they turned on the heating which pumped water around the system and out of the burst more so the customer put 2 + 2 together and thought it was the rain.

The customer contacted a plumber and we have put in costs for a scheme of repair once it is dry.

On the same day, we were called to a property on Gawber Rd, Barnsley and the customer said he thought that the macerator pipe which runs under the floor of his utility and out to a manhole was leaking. the wall was wet and this he thought was the only problem.

Damage due to a leak in Gawber Barnsley
Damage due to a leak in Gawber Barnsley

After surveying the outside, and testing the moisture content of the floor which had a type of composite tile effect flooring down, our surveyor still wasn’t convinced it was from the pipe buried in the floor. just to the right of the wet wall was a fridge and washer. We asked if they could be pulled out and the customer started with the fridge which just slid out. Then it was the washer as soon as it was moved from side to side we heard a hissing sound. when it was pulled out as far as it could, water was spraying out of the plastic connector that linked the cold water to the washer. we turned off the stop tap which was under the sink unit and inspected the back. It appeared that the plastic was cracked and had probably been leaking for around 3 years. this has caused a bit of damage that will be claimed for on the house insurance.

The Culprit, Leaking washer causes damp issues in Barnsley
The Culprit, Leaking washer causes damp issues in Barnsley

If you have damp issues that you think we may help you on visit our website and fill in the contact us form.  alldrydampproofing.com

You can also download both our e books for free on 9 signs of damp in your property and 7 things you should know before converting your basement. We also have a Youtube channel with some informative videos on.



2 comments on “What is the Difference Between a Leak and a Damp Patch


Had an inspection/survey done on our 1930’s terrace. It has a damp problem in the kitchen, the lack of radiator in that room I don’t think are helping either.
There seems to be some patches on some parts of the walls, about half a metre up from the skirting. To the touch it is not wet, just cold. There is no water on the floors at all, it is just cold.
I have been told that it is because with old houses the plaster goes right down to the floor (new houses stop behind skirting?) and so any damp/wetness is soaked into plaster and to make things right they will cut some plaster back. Then leave room to dry out. Any reasurance would be grateful. Do you think this advice is correct?

    Simon Cooper Post author

    Hi Hannah,
    If you go to our website contact us form you can send us an enquiry and we will reply and if you send us pictures of the patches in the room we will try to help you.

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