What is damp?
Damp in the home is something we all dread, no matter what room it’s in. However, damp in the bathroom can be a particular area of concern.
Most damp problems are the result of water getting into your home from the outside, damp should be addressed right away, as it can lead to mould which poses a serious health risk. There are many different kinds of damp, all of which can also cause damage to the structure of your home, resulting in large and costly repairs.
Your bathroom poses one of the biggest risks as the water vapour comes from inside the room itself. After a bath or shower, you will notice that the windows and walls will be wet. This is the result of warm, damp air coming into contact with cold surfaces where it forms water droplets - if left unchecked, this condensation can lead to damp.
How to avoid damp in the bathroom?
To keep damp at bay, it’s important that you keep your bathroom dry and free of prolonged periods of condensation.
Open a window
Opening a window is one of the easiest and most effective measures you can take against the damp - this brings in fresh, dry air into your bathroom while allowing humid air to escape. Instead of opening a window, people often open the bathroom door and let the steam escape that way, but this just allows the steam to spread around the home.
The best method is to open a window before you turn the hot water on, as this will allow the humidity to escape right away.
Turn on an extractor fan
It’s important to have an extractor fan fitted in your bathroom, particularly if it doesn’t have a window, as this is a requirement under Building Regulations. If you don’t open a window or turn on the fan, the humid air has nowhere to go and will eventually lead to damp and mould. You should clean and maintain your fan regularly and make sure that it isn’t blocked.
The fan should be turned on before your bath or shower and then turned off around 20 minutes after you get out.
Keep surfaces dry
Going over the bathroom surfaces with a towel or dry cloth after you’ve finished bathing or showering, particularly in areas where condensation collects most, is a good way of keeping mould from building up. While you can’t be expected to keep your bathroom completely dry, it’s important to mop up as much water as possible.
Fit air bricks
If condensation is particularly bad, then you might want to consider fitting air bricks. These bricks have tiny holes in them and can be added to exterior walls, allowing air to pass under a suspended timber floor. Usually made from plastic, air bricks are becoming an increasingly popular method of tackling condensation.
Use a dehumidifier
Bathrooms that are prone to condensation may also benefit from a dehumidifier. These are designed to take moisture from the air and collect it as water, which you'll then have to empty.
Use moisture-resistant or anti-mould paint
There are now a wide range of paints on the market that absorb moisture and prevent condensation. There are also some that include anti-mould agents.
How to reduce steam in your bathroom
The easiest way to limit the amount of steam that’s created is taking shorter, cooler showers and baths. The longer you are in there, the more vapour that’s released. So, reducing your time in the shower from 10 to 5 minutes could make a big difference.
How can your heating prevent condensation?
Making sure that your central heating system is working correctly not only keeps your house warm, it can also help you in the battle against damp. The warmer the surfaces are in your bathroom, the less chance there is of condensation building up. A properly working radiator or underfloor heating system will limit the amount of condensation build up and will also help the room to dry once you’ve had your bath or shower.
It is also important that your boiler is serviced regularly so that your radiators don’t let you down in the fight against condensation and mould.