Damp is an issue that can affect just about any home, and can turn out to be a big problem if it isn’t found and treated. Health issues can come with damp, so you’ll need to work out the exact kind of damp you have to remedy it properly. Here are the most common causes of damp and the different kinds of damp they belong to:
Rising damp is caused by water on the ground moving up through a wall, as shown in the picture above. The majority of walls end up letting some water in, but it’s usually stopped from causing too much damage by a barrier called a damp proof course. A damp proof course is usually in the form of a slate strip or horizontal plastic in the wall. If you don’t have a damp proof course or the ground outside your home is higher than your damp proof course, you could get rising damp. Waters that rise from the ground will usually introduce contaminating salts into the walls and plaster coats, which will result in the plaster having to be removed and replaced. The signs of rising damp are:
- Decaying skirting boards.
- Crumbling, discoloured, stained plaster.
- Decaying timber floors.
- Peeling wallpaper and paint.
- Rain Penetration/Penetrating Damp
Rain penetration or penetrating damp, is usually caused by water leaking through walls due to building faults. This kind of damp will move around with a building, but will move horizontally rather than upwards as rising damp does. This is due to structural problems with the building, like faulty guttering and roofing. The signs of rain penetration are:
- You’ll probably notice damp patches on the walls, ceilings or floors. These could grow or get darker after a long period of rainfall.
- Damage and discolouration to plaster, decay in exposed timber, and mould growth.
Another cause of penetrating damp is lateral damp penetration, caused by the external ground level being above the floor level.
Condensation is caused by moist air condensing on the walls, mainly found in winter. Condensation can happen if you have poor ventilation, or heating that comes on and off throughout the day. The signs of condensation are:
- Running water on windows and walls. This can lead to stained curtains and decay of window frames.
- Mould on wallpaper and paint in poorly ventilated areas.
- Fungal decay in floor timbers.
Although damp problems aren’t as serious as they can look, they can still be bad for our health by causing respiratory problems and making the property cold. Damp can be caused unknowingly by poor maintenance of a property, but all kinds can all be sorted by professionals – so don’t worry too much! To combat damp, make sure you have regular external maintenance on your property, act fast if you find signs of damp in your home, and do your best to control the moisture within the building. Now you know what’s causing your damp problem and hopefully the kind you have, you can start remedying it right away!