A damp problem means that there is moisture either inside or outside your home and the moisture is either excessive or trapped and unable to escape. Unfortunately, damp problems never just ‘go away’ and in fact, will only get worse, so it is well worth doing a monthly inspection just to check that you have no damp problem developing.
If you do find a problem developing, it is far better ‘to nip it in the bud’. You will need to seek some expert advice, but having said that, there are some really effective products on the market and a smaller problem is easier – and cheaper- to deal with than a larger one.
The golden rule, even if you don’t have a damp problem, is to ensure that your home is well ventilated – even in the winter months as condensation will only make things worse Just think how much steam is created in your home. Hot showers, cooking pans bubbling on the hob, the tumble dryer etc. It is essential that the steam can escape so leave internal doors open and open windows in all rooms, at least slightly, every day and use extractor fans to clear the steam in the bathroom and where the tumble dryer lives. In the warmer months, regularly give your home a really good airing and sleep with at least a small window open in every bedroom.
There Are Three Types of Damp
Condensation. The most common one and the most easily sorted type! Solutions include the use of de-humidifiers and ventilation systems which can both be easily bought.
Rising damp. This is when moisture comes up from the ground and travels up through floor boards and walls. This type of damp can be successfully stopped but this is usually by the construction of a damp course or the installation of a damp proof membrane.
Penetrating damp. When damp travels through the wall from the outside in – usually. This is usually caused by a structural problem such as leaf-filled guttering, a crack in the wall on the outside or a missing or dis-lodged roof tile – all of these can be fixed to remedy the problem. This type of damp can also be caused by a broken water pipe inside the building.
Here Are Ten Tell-Tale Signs to Look out For?
- The classic smell of a dampness is easy to recognise as the room will smell musty and this indicates that there is a problem with damp in that room.
- Are there any dark patches on your walls or ceiling? This is a good indicator rising or penetrating damp.
- Is your flooring beginning to lift? This can be an indicator of rising damp.
- Are your window frames black and mouldy? This is caused by condensation. Wiping carefully with bleach will get rid of the mould, which is mainly a winter problem of poor ventilation, exacerbated by central heating.
- Wallpaper that is lifting or peeling is another good indicator of penetrating damp.
- Have you checked your basement walls and the ground floor? Rising damp travels vertically up from the soil, so feel the walls are they damp to touch? Can you feel salt granules under the wall paper or see a white salt deposit on the paintwork? Feel the skirting board carefully – is it soft and rotten in any places?
- Is rain getting in? Do you get water dripping through the ceiling after a downpour? This is a classic indicator of a slipped or missing roof tile that needs prompt attention before the damp problem develops.
- Does rain get in through any of the window frames? This suggests that the window does not fit its frame as snugly as it could – there are a number of products on the market that can sort this problem out quickly.
- Do the windows get bad condensation? This is usually because of all the steam being created in your home- opening a window slightly to increase ventilation will help.
- If the wall near a water pipe is becoming discoloured or mouldy, check that the water pipe has not been cracked – this often happens in the winter in an unheated room. Another place that is well worth checking regularly is under the kitchen sink to ensure that washing machine and dishwasher pipes are in good order.
If you do find damp, act promptly. Condensation can be effectively alimented and there are some good products on the market. If you suspect rising or penetrating damp, call in an expert as it must be dealt with promptly as the problem will only get bigger.