If a house is suffering from a damp problem, it means there's unwanted moisture. It's usually found in the walls, ceilings or floors. A damp problem can occur when water or moisture works its way into your house. This can simply be as a result of condensation around windows, but there can be plenty of other causes.
If left untreated, damp can pose a number of risks including: structural timber decay, damage to plaster, corrosion, health issues for those with asthma and respiratory problems, unsightly staining and mould growth.
Damp can be a horrible problem to live with. In addition to making your home feel cold and uncomfortable, it can wreck your decor, damage your furniture and exacerbate health problems like asthma. In severe cases it could cause structural damage to your home.
So, how can you spot damp before it's too late? Firstly you need to know what type of damp it is. There are 3 main types of damp: Rising damp, Penetrating damp and Condensation caused damp.
Rising damp is where moisture rises up from the ground through walls in a capillary action. Newer houses should have a damp-proof course to guard against dampness, but they can be compromised over time. Signs of rising damp include: Damp patches that start at the base of a wall and gradually move upwards, rotting skirting boards or plaster, floor coverings such as tiles, vinyl or carpets that are wet and lifting and peeling paint or wallpaper.
Penetrating damp is the result of external problems on your property, where water finds its way in from the outside. This could be anything from missing roof tiles to broken or porous brickwork as well as issues with guttering or damaged seals around windows and doors. Signs of penetrating damp include: Damp patches that move horizontally through walls, rather than up from the ground, and that might get darker when it’s raining, external damage, including to brickwork, and moss and algae growth and peeling paint or wallpaper
Condensation caused by damp is the most common form of damp and is often the result of carrying out basic household tasks without decent ventilation. This could include steam from cooking or drying damp clothes. The air condenses on cold surfaces and creates water. Signs of condensation-caused damp include: Damp patches and water running down walls in any room whether there’s likely to be steam, such as bathrooms and the kitchen, Water on windows and mould around the windows.
In the early stages, the only sign of a possible problem might be a musty smell. To check for areas of damp in a house, carefully examine walls, floors and ceilings for any tell-tale signs. Feel for wet patches and peek under flooring that appears to be lifting.
Problems caused by condensation can be improved by doing your best to remove as much moisture from a room as you can and improving ventilation. To prevent condensation in the home, make sure you’re using extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens, and keep windows open. Where you have a localised problem you might want to think about using a dehumidifier.
No one should have to live with dampness in their house, if you notice any of these signs make sure to get them checked and sorted immediately!