Damp is a problem that can affect homes all around the country, regardless of their age and type of construction. This is because there are three main types of damp, each of which has their own cause, which also means they have their own solution. Take a look at the different problems below and the right way of dealing with them.
Condensation is by far the most common type of damp and is caused where there is too much moist air in a house. When this warmer, moist air comes into contact with a colder surface like a wall or window, the moisture is released and leaves droplets of water on the surface and increases the moisture levels in the room even further.
Condensation is usually caused by everyday activities such as cooking, using the shower, bath or tumble dryers. This release a vast amount of warm, moist air, therefore to combat it, you need to make sure you increase the ventilation or use an extractor fan. Open windows or even doors whenever you are doing anything that creates the moist air, which when trapped, can cause the very damaging black spot mould fungus.
Rising damp occurs when water from the ground is transmitted through the pores of the masonry by capillary action. If left for a long period of time it can rise to a height of approximately 1.5 metres, causing wallpaper to stain paint to peel and plaster to rumble. Unsightly damage and watermarks on walls can also allow unsightly mould to grow. Rising Damp is often caused by the partial breakdown or breaching of an existing damp proof course, which with modern methods can be easily repaired by a specialist.
A damp proof course is an impervious barrier, which in older properties was often a double layer of slate or a bitumen material, built into the base of the wall when the property was built. Unfortunately, all properties move slightly, and this is often when a damp proof course can become damaged. Another common cause is increasing the hight of the external ground levels, which bridges the damp proof course.
Rising damp is recognisable by the base of the wall being very damp with a sharp cut off and sometimes tide mark at the top of the damp. If you think you have signs of rising damp, you will need to get a damp proofing expert to professionally assess it. This will involve testing the walls with a calibrated damp meter, to measure and map the level of moisture within the walls, to determine the exact cause. Once this has been carried out, the specialist can then suggest exactly what needs to be done to repair and prevent it from happening again.
The third most common type of damp is penetrative damp. This is where rainwater penetrates the house through a weakness, such as a leaking roof or rainwater goods, defective external rendering, cracks in brickwork, leaking window seals or a high ground level outside.
Dealing with penetrating damp first involves finding the defect that is allowing the rain to penetrate. Once this is determined, repairs can be can be carried out to fix the problem. This will immediately stop more water from getting into the house so any internal damage can be immediately repaired. A good damp proofing expert can advise you on exactly what is required to get you back to normal quickly.
Deal with damp quick
It is important that as soon as you spot potential signs of damp, you don’t ignore it, in fact, you do something about it straight away. This will usually mean contacting a reputable damp proof company or ringing your landlord, managing agent or housing association, who will handle the problem for you.