Damp is a common problem in many homes – particularly older properties, or newer ones that have not been built to a good standard.
Damp in your home can wreck your health, your family’s health, your furniture, your décor, and ultimately your bank balance. Left untreated damp has a habit of creeping insidiously through a property getting into corners you might never have known even existed.
Ultimately, it could cause severe damage to the very fabric of your property.
What are the signs of damp in a property?
There are a number of signs that you need to keep an eye out for. First and foremost a damp house can give off a distinctive, musty, fusty, damp smell. This is often the first indication, as the smell will often proceed any visual evidence that there is damp in your home.
Once you have detected the smell, you need to examine regularly areas such as the walls, ceilings skirting boards, around window and door frames to see if you can spot the signs of damp. The sooner you can catch it, the easier (and cheaper) it is to treat it.
Damp patches and mildew
As damp seeps through the walls mildew will start to take root. Mildew is a thin, whiteish coating that grows on the damp surface. It is a type of fungus and if cleaned off quickly it does not necessarily cause any health problems. However, without treating the underlying damp issues it will reappear consistently. If left untreated it will grow and spread, and eventually release spores which are damaging to health, causing, or exacerbating issues such as asthma.
Water droplets and excessive condensation
When the damp inside a building meets cold damp air it forms into water droplets that gather as condensation. This can lead to wet walls and woodwork, causing rotting woodwork and lifting and peeling paper from the walls.
What are the different types of damp?
There are three types of damp that you need to look out for.
Condensation: condensation is formed simply through day to day living in the property – cooking, bathing, drying damp clothes, for example. It can be avoided through opening windows and ensuring there is adequate ventilation throughout the property.
Rising damp: you can spot how the damp patches literally rise from the skirting boards upwards, affecting skirting boards and causing them to rot. Sometimes it manifests itself as yellow or brown tide marks staining the wall.
Penetrating damp: penetrating damp seeps in from external sources of water such as groundwater. Similar in appearance to rising damp, it tends to spread horizontally rather than rising from the ground up.
What causes the damp?
There are a number of issues that can contribute to the prevalence of damp in a property. Easy problems to spot and solve are broken tiles on roofs, leaking or burst pipes, blocked gutters and leaking windows. Once you have spotted the culprit area which is letting in the water then you can call the relevant trade who will solve the issue at source. You then need to allow the damp to dry out and redecorate.
More complex damp problems may be caused by excess groundwater in properties which have basements which are partially or fully subterranean. In these cases the only solution is to implement a full waterproofing system from Garratt’s Damp and Timber Ltd that tanks out the basement with a pump which gathers and removes any water ingress from the groundwater, maintaining an environment which is protected from any water ingress. This is by far the most effective and permanent solution to the most severe of damp problems.