Damp can be caused by a wide range of issues in your home. It’s important to address damp at the first signs of trouble, as this issue won’t go away without intervention. You first need to rule out if the way you are using your home is leading to a build up of dampness, and if you are confident this isn’t the case, it’s time to investigate further.
If your damp is caused by structural problems, you’ll need to consult a professional to fix the problem. For example, leaking pipes and cracked roof tiles could lead to a buildup of moisture in your home. In the right conditions, dampness can lead to mould and mildew building up on your walls, floors, ceilings, furniture and possessions.
In this guide, we’ll look at the most common causes of damp and how to cure damp walls in your home. If you need assistance dealing with damp in your property, we encourage you to reach out. Our expert team can help you to understand the extent and cause of your damp problem and then offer solutions to get your home or business back on track.
What causes damp?
Damp is caused by excess moisture that is allowed to build up in the home. Modern home (and many traditional homes) are designed with moisture in mind, so dampness is able to flow out of the home through proper ventilation. Or the dampness is prevented from entering the home through a solid structure.
When these measures fail, this can lead to dampness in your home. Damp proofing a property is complex and the measures won’t last forever, so if you’re facing damp in your home, consider if the following issues could be to blame.
- Leaking pipes that could be hidden behind walls or under floorboards
- A cracked or missing roof tile
- Faults in the external rendering of your home
- Rising damp from outside your property
- Penetrating damp from a basement or cellar
- Poor ventilation in your home leading to moisture build up
What are the warning signs of damp?
When damp is caused by structural issues, you might only know about it once the damage is quite extensive. For damp caused by poor ventilation, the effects will be more obvious and immediate.
Common signs of damp include:
- Walls that are cold to the touch
- Moisture on walls and windows
- Warped or rotten floorboards and skirting board
- Peeling paint or wallpaper
- Mould spores on walls, floors, ceilings and furniture
- White residue from mildew
- Water stains on walls, floors and ceilings
- Respiratory problems and an increase in allergy symptoms for residents
- A musty or mouldy odour
These might not be easily visible in your home. For example, they might be behind large pieces of furniture. Damp issues are most common on external walls which are typically colder. Damp can also make your home harder to heat and keep comfortable, so if you’ve noticed you need to leave the heating on for longer to warm up a room, damp could be the issue.
How to cure damp walls
The first step to curing damp walls is to identify the cause of the problem. You’ll need to address the cause of the damp before you can move forward. Next, you will need to draw moisture out of the walls and other materials using dehumidifiers. This can be a time consuming process. Finally, you will need to address the cosmetic issues caused by your damp problem. This could mean redecorating or replacing furniture that has been damaged by damp.
Identifying the root cause
Hiring a professional can help you to understand the extent and cause of the damp problems in your home. It could be due to a faulty damp proof course which needs to be replaced. It could also be issues with your roofing or rendering which are allowing moisture into your home. In the case of dampness in a basement or cellar, the cause is likely to be a lack of waterproofing measures. Once you know the cause of the damp, you can take steps to stop it.
Drying out your home
Once the root cause has been identified and addressed, it’s time to dry out your home. The most common way to achieve this is by heating your home evenly and using dehumidifiers to draw excess moisture out of the walls. This might not necessarily be fixed overnight.
Addressing the cosmetic concerns
With your home dry and protected from damp, you can now think about addressing the cosmetic issues related to damp. You might need to replace flooring or wallpaper, or paint your home. Using a damp proof and breathable paint will help to prevent the issues from returning. You’ll also need to replace any floorboards or skirting boards that might have been damaged by the damp.