Spotting Signs of Damp in Your Home

One of the most common problems in households around the UK is damp, and with an average of 25,000 gallons of rain water hitting these homes, there is no wonder why many suffer from this problem. What’s more, once you have damp in your home it can lead to more serious health problems, which is why it is imperative to notice any signs of damp in their early stages and get them treated as quickly as possible.

In the majority of cases, a damp problem in the home isn’t as bad as you may first think, but regardless of the seriousness of the damp, it can be very bad for your health if left untreated. The emergence of damp can lead to an aggravation of any respiratory problems, alongside an increased amount of mould and mites in the home. Furthermore, damp can make the house much colder and far less appealing, especially if you want to sell it or rent it out.

Damp is caused, on the most part, by poor maintenance in the home, which encourages damp to spread. You may find damp in your windows, doors, walls, roof, pipe-work or floors, but all of these cases are treatable. If you do find that damp is visible in an area inside your home, you will probably be able to identify the cause outside, such as a leaking gutter or missing tile.

Understanding Rising Damp

This is a type of damp that rises from underground, and will enter the property through a capillary action, which means the water is forced to rise upwards in a gap between two surfaces, e.g. your foundations. Water that enters the building in any other way is not rising damp, as the only cure for rising damp is to have a chemical damp proof course installed in your home.

Rising damp can often be incorrectly diagnosed despite it being a very common problem in certain styles of buildings. Therefore, if you are concerned about potential rising damp in your home it is important to speak to a professionally trained surveyor who will be able to diagnose the problem and offer the best advice as to how to go about treating it. One recommendation for choosing this type of surveyor is to see if they have received a CSRT (Certified Surveyor in Remedial Treatment) qualification.

In a lot of homes, the way it has been built will allow for water to move via capillary action into the home, but this is usually stopped by damp proof coursing or a physical barrier that will prevent it from moving any further. When this barrier is missing, has been damaged or has broken down, it is possible to have a remedial damp proof course installed into the property to prevent this water from rising any further from the ground.

If water does rise from the ground it can often bring with it salts that can contaminate plastering and walls in your home. If this does occur, the plaster will have to be removed and replaced with a plaster that has been formulated to be resistant to these salts.

What are the Signs of Rising Damp?

The following list of problems you may have identified in your home could signify that you have an issue with rising damp, but they may take a while to notice. However, as soon as you spot them, it is highly recommended to seek professional advice as soon as possible.

  • Your timber flooring has started to decay.
  • Your plaster is starting to crumble, become stained or discoloured, or has become salt stained.
  • Your skirting boards have started to decay.
  • Wallpaper and paint are starting to peel off the wall.

Identifying Penetrating Damp.

This type of damp will normally be found when water has moved from a higher point to a lower one, or it has moved horizontally through your walls.

It will move through your walls in many different ways, but is not penetrating damp, and is normally caused because of defects in the external construction of your home.

If there are problems with the building fabrics of your home that encourages water to leak into the floors or walls, this is when penetrating damp will occur. The most common causes of this type of damp is poor pointing work to your brickwork, ineffective downpipes or guttering, rendering that has cracked and when ground levels have been built up higher on external walls.

Older homes with solid walls are more likely to suffer from penetrating damp, whereas new builds have often got cavity walls, which provide more resistance to rain. In whatever case, it can often be difficult to spot exactly where the penetrating damp is coming from and you may need to seek professional help in order to get the problem fixed.

What are the Signs of Penetrating Damp?

• You may find decaying timber where it is exposed, mould growth or damage to your plaster and decorations where the effects of the penetrating water are more long term.
• Where you find damp patches on your floors, walls or ceilings, this is often the first indication you will have of penetrating damp, and will often darken or become bigger when there is a heavy or long downpour.

Understanding Condensation

Condensation is the most commonly found cause of damp in many homes and buildings, caused by water from the air cooling and forming water droplets on various surfaces.

Buildings in which a lot of day-to-day activities occur in; such as drying clothes, cooking and breathing result in an increased level of humidity in the air. Cold surfaces in the home, including cool walls and windows, will often result in condensation as this air with a lot of water in it will cool upon contact, depositing the water droplets onto this surface.

You may also find condensation an issue when there is poor ventilation or heating with your property, but this isn’t the only reason condensation damp can occur, even though many take the view that it is, which can lead to other forms of condensation being left untreated.

Condensation is primarily a problem that occurs during the winter months, when windows and walls are cold due to the external air being colder. This means that cold air is entering the building, which will then be warmed by heating devices for the inhabitants inside. This warm air will then take up moisture that is found in the atmosphere (from activities such as breathing and cooking), before it comes into contact with cold surfaces, which results in the water droplets that form on these cool surfaces. This point in transformation of the water from its vapour form to a liquid is called a ‘dew point’.

The most common places in which condensation will be found due to the high levels of moisture in the atmosphere tend to be bathroom and kitchen walls, solid floors that aren’t insulated and solid external walls.

The problem of condensation can be accentuated when a property is heated and then left to cool down as the warm damp air will be cooled down, which results in a lessened ability for it to continue holding the water. As the air cools, condensation will form, before the home is reheated and the water enters into the air again, creating a vicious cycle.

Continue reading next page, Signs of Condensation

Pages: 1 2

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Comments are closed.