No-one wants damp problems in their home, but it is something many of us may encounter at some time or the other. Whether you are a homeowner or you rent, whether you live in a bungalow, a three storey house or any other type of property, damp can still occur. Nor is it just something that happens in older houses – insufficient ventilation can lead to damp in even the newest of properties.
Damp is one of the most damaging things your property can have but there are professionals that can help and also quite a few simple things you can do, to control moisture. This guide will walk you through the steps to identify and tackle damp walls and clear that damp problem.
Damp is often most common in winter but it can appear at any time of the year. There are some parts of the property that you should monitor for signs of damp and particular places where signs of it may appear.
Top of the list are the walls of your home. Do they feel damp and cold when you touch them? Are there signs of mould or fungi growing such as small black speckles or grey growths? Is the wallpaper peeling off because this is another sure sign of a problem. The ceiling can also be an area to keep an eye on for damp. Discoloured or stained areas, brown patches or black spots could all mean a damp problem.
Bathrooms and kitchens are often the most common locations for damp because of the warm, moist air we create from the showers, bath and cooking. Black spot mould can grow on wood or PVC as well as on walls so regularly check these areas for any signs of a problem.
Cold basements and any unheated parts of the house are the other areas to monitor for signs of damp. You may notice a musty smell and the air feels humid. Check for stains on concealed walls and woodwork too
Isolating the cause
The walls are the most common place to find damp problems and therefore are usually where you start dealing with it. Once you have spotted damp signs or noticed a wall that is feeling damp, then you need to tackle it quickly.
It is important to handle the cause of the damp first. This might be penetrating damp on upper walls and ceilings where a leak above is letting rain in. It might be a problem with a broken down damp proof course, which is allowing water to rise from the ground. Or the most likely problem, which is condensation – warm moist air from showers or cooking that cannot escape the house and causes damp.
Dealing with damp walls
The first step is to start controlling the humidity you produce by opening windows. Once the walls feel dry to the touch, you can start applying a mould removing treatment. Even if you can’t see the mould. There are special mould wash products you can buy to do this but if you are going to do it yourself, be careful not to spread the spores.
Once the affected areas are mould free and dry, you can apply special anti-mould paint. You can apply this to walls or ceilings to stop the mould coming back.
Solve the damp problem
Treating the walls is a big part of clearing a damp problem but it is even more important to handle the underlying cause too. If the issue is condensation, then consistent heat and ventilation are key. If it is rising damp, a new damp proof course and special replastering may be needed. And if it is penetrating damp, the external cause has to be repaired. It is best to get help from a specialist damp expert to make sure the problem is eradicated properly and doesn’t come back.