Having damp in your home is a common problem that can be easily solved if you spot the warning signs early. If damp is left to fester too long it can cause huge damage and run up a sizable bill to put it right.
Don’t let damp ruin your home by following this guide on identifying damp and how it can be treated.
The three types of damp that can occur in your property are condensation, rising damp and penetrating damp.
Below are the signs you need to look out for when identifying damp in your property:
Signs of Condensation
The most common form of damp is condensation, which is down to moisture being absorbed into the warm atmosphere of the property. Once the property cools down, condensation can be seen on cold surfaces such as window sills, walls and windows. To identify condensation, these are the signs to look out for:
- Water droplets on windows and window sills
- Black spot mould
- Damp musty smell
- Plaster peeling off the walls
Signs of Rising Damp
Rising damp is a less common damp issue and is the result of moisture rising through the fabric of the wall. This type of damp is more likely to occur in older properties where there is no damp-proof course put in place, or the course has become damaged in some way. The signs to look out for in rising damp are:
- Tide marks on the walls
- The plaster starting to peel away from the walls of the property
Signs of Penetrating Damp
Penetrating damp is the horizontal movement of moisture through the walls of the property. Penetrating damp occurs when there is heavy rainfall and there is damage to the rainwater goods, or roof fabrics are faulty. The typical signs that your property may be experiencing penetrating damp are:
- Damage to internal walls or external roofing
- Black spot mould on the inner walls
- Watermarks appearing on the masonry
How to treat Condensation, Rising Damp and Penetrating Damp
Condensation is caused by day to day living activities such as cooking, washing and drying clothes inside. This moisture is usually vented away, but in some cases, this doesn’t occur because of blocked air vents, draught exclusion and double glazing all preventing a constant airflow in and out of the property.
The way to overcome condensation is to improve the ventilation flow within your home. An easy solution is to open your windows when you are carrying out your day to day activities or set window air vents to trickle flow.
Moving your furniture away from radiators can also improve the airflow when you have your heating on. If you can see that you have black spot mould on the walls, then using a mould kit will kill off the mould spores.
Other good practices include running your bathroom extractor fan after a shower and making sure laundry dries either in a tumble dryer or outside.
There are several treatments that can be applied to your property that can be used to control rising damp. One solution is to install a damp-proof course by injecting it into an old brick and stonework structure. By injecting a damp proofing cream into the walls, it will fill any gaps and will act as a barrier, so moisture can’t pass through.
An injection mortar is another type of system that can be used to treat rising damp. This type of system is injected into the porous mortar beds and rubble where it crystallises to form an impermeable barrier to control subsequent water rise.
For penetrating damp problems, check rainwater goods and any other exposed areas that may be blocked. Clear any areas that are obstructed.
If the above does not work, consider measures such as replacing ineffective guttering or changing window frames and doors that have gaps.
Remember, if you can’t fix the issues yourself, get a builder to rectify them.
Potential outcomes of not treating Damp
Timberwise advises that if damp is not treated immediately then it can lead to more serious property issues such as dry rot. Dry rot is a dangerous wood-destroying fungus that can digest the strength and integrity of the timber and weaken the structure of a property.
You may also start to see signs of woodworm beetles occurring in your property. This is because woodworm larvae can easily digest wood with high moisture content and are also attracted to cold and damp conditions.
Damp can lead to the degradation of the plaster which can be visual unappealing, especially if you are trying to sell your home to a potential buyer. Dampness can also lead to problems with health such as asthma which affects many people across the UK.
Identifying and treating damp may seem like a difficult task to do on your own but hopefully, the tips that I have explained in this guide will give you a useful insight into tackling damp problems in your home.
Once you understand the cause of damp issues, you can then make sure to use the correct treatment to resolve the problem. It is always best to use a qualified surveyor to inspect your property to make sure you have identified the type of damp correctly and don’t spend money on unnecessary treatments.
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