Homeowners have to deal with damp problems for a number of reasons, the most common cause being ‘condensation’. Condensation occurs when warm, moisture-laden air makes contact with cold surfaces like walls or windows and forms water droplets on its surface. Damp in our homes poses a serious danger if the underlying source is not identified and fixed especially as it can begin to compromise our building’s structural integrity. Before you can accurately determine and fix your damp problems, you need to properly understand what you are dealing with. If your need is local, reach out to London damp specialists to remedy your issues with damp. This article answers the frequently asked questions homeowners have about damp.
Also Read: Mold inspection guide.
How do I know if I have damp?
There are three major types of damp (rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation), and each type has its own specific signs that a damp specialist can help you distinguish after carrying out a damp survey. However, there are general telltale signals that can tell you if you have a damp problem. Some of them are;
- Mildew or black mould/spores on the walls
- Damp patches present on ceilings, walls and floor
- Rotting skirting boards
- Crumbling bricks and mortar
- Peeling paints and wallpaper
- Damaged brick work
- A distinctive musty smell
- Water droplets on the ceilings and walls
- Bubbling or flaky plaster and salts within the plaster
Can damp hurt me?
Damp houses are the perfect breeding spots for black mould (microscopic fungi). These moulds can reproduce and form spores which, when touched or inhaled, causes nasal congestions, skin rashes, throat irritations, breathing discomforts and other bronchopulmonary problems. Damp also compromises the structural integrity of your property, and you might be at risk for accidents like collapsed ceilings or walls.
How do I know the type of damp attacking my home?
Here are the types.
Rising damp: usually caused by the upward capillary movement of groundwater through the walls or ceilings. Rising damp usually becomes a problem when the Damp Proof Course (DPC) installed in a building is compromised. This type is characterised by peeling or blistering paint, white powder-like deposits on the wall and wet patches.
Penetrating damp: this type of damp occurs when moisture from outside gets in through the walls either due to rainfall or dew. Faulty building structures like cracked roofs, tiles, drainage
systems or leaking pipes in bathrooms and kitchens are usually the underlying causes.
Condensation: this type of damp is the most common, and it is caused by day-to-day household activities like showering, bathing or cooking without proper ventilation.
How do I prevent moisture build-up in my house?
1. Cover pots and kettles with their lids to keep moisture from escaping, especially on particularly humid days.
2. Keep your house warm.
3. Take colder and shorter baths.
4. Ensure to install adequate ventilation and heating systems.
What is the best way to handle a damp problem?
The first thing you need to do when you suspect that you might have a damp problem is to hire a damp specialist to do a damp survey on your property. The damp specialist will help you identify all the areas affected by the damp, what the underlying causes are and recommend a reasonable course of treatment.
For rising damp, installing a new DPC or reinforcing the existing one with a damp proof membrane usually resolves the issue. Also, all issues with drainage will need to be resolved immediately. Penetrating damp issues can be easily resolved by identifying and fixing all faulty plumbing and guttering or by installing cavity wall insulation.
Installing window panes, extractor fans, and dehumidifiers for proper ventilation are some of the ways to effectively solve condensation problems.
Damp issues can cause really devastating structural damage to your property if allowed to fester. This is why it is important to; be able to identify the kind of damp affecting your home and know which steps you need to take to address the problem before it worsens.