Damp in your home is a serious issue and should be addressed immediately - if you leave it to escalate, mould can form, which poses a serious health risk. Damp can also cause damage to the structure of your home, resulting in large and costly repairs.
If you notice damp forming, it’s important to understand its cause in order to get rid of it. There are three types of damp, and you can find out how to identify the kind of damp forming in your home, and what to do to combat it, below.
Condensation damp is the most common form of damp found in homes and is caused by hot air hitting cold walls and surfaces. It can easily be avoided by making sure moisture build-up doesn’t occur.
To get rid of condensation damp, do the following:
- Keep your house warm and set your heating to come on periodically throughout the day
- When you’re creating steam or moisture, such as when showering, bathing, cooking or drying clothes, keep the door closed in that room and open windows to let moisture escape
- Ventilate your home when you’re not creating moisture - keep doors open to allow circulation and open bedroom windows for 15 minutes every morning
- Use a dehumidifier in affected rooms
- Use moisture-resistant or anti-mould paint
After completing these steps, try and dry out damp areas as much as possible by using dry cloths and dehumidifiers.
Wipe away any mould with mould cleaner or warm, soapy water, and be sure to use cloths and not brushes in order to prevent more mould spores being released into the room.
Following this, dry the area as thoroughly as possible with towels or cloths, throw all of the materials used to clean mould away and leave the dehumidifier running for as long as possible.
Wash any fabric furnishings, blankets or clothes from the room on a high-heat setting, and continue to follow the above steps to prevent condensation damp from returning.
Rising damp is caused by groundwater moving up through your wall. Most walls have what’s called a ‘damp-proof course’ built into them, which blocks water from moving upwards through them, but rising damp can happen if it’s ineffective, or if the course was never fitted to begin with.
Signs of rising damp are:
- A line of white salts on your walls
- Damp only on the lower half of your walls with a ‘tide-line’ above it
- Fluffy white salt on your walls
- Peeling paint and wallpaper
- Brown, crumbling plaster
- Skirting board damage
To get rid of rising damp, a new damp-proof course must be installed in your walls. This can either be done with chemicals or with a physical barrier and a professional damp specialist can help with this.
Penetrating damp occurs when water leaks through from outside. This happens for a number of reasons, such as poorly-installed windows and doors, bad joinery, leaking downpipes, roofing issues, blocked guttering or almost any building defect that allows or causes water to be absorbed into the building substrate.
To stop penetrating damp, check for any cracks, faults or defects on the following, and have them fixed:
- Flashing - this is where your roof meets your chimney
- Outer walls
- Your loft
- Windows and doors - especially their frames
- Gutters, pipes and general drainage system
Penetrating damp usually damages the structure of your house more quickly than other forms of damp, so it's important to spot and deal with it quickly.
You may have penetrating damp if you notice blotchy or wet plastering, wet patches and damp during or straight after heavy rainfall or snow, and/or cracks in masonry surfaces, renders or mortar joints.
It’s important that you seek out professional help if you notice penetrating damp to avoid serious damage to the structure of your house.
As previously mentioned, condensation is the most common cause of damp and is easily avoided - and fairly simple to get rid of. However, if you’ve taken adequate steps to get rid of condensation damp, or think your home may have rising or penetrating damp, it's important to contact a professional for more advice.