A damp problem in a house means that water is somehow getting into the walls, floors or ceilings and this can happen for a number of reasons including cracked pipes, a loose or missing roof tile, or moisture is coming up from the soil and that some bricks are now porous.
There are two different types of damp. The first is ‘rising damp‘ which travels vertically up walls from the ground and the second type is ‘penetrating damp‘ which usually spreads horizontally or downward. Sadly, the problem of either type of damp will not go away and can only become larger and more costly to resolve in time. Coupled with this, a damp home can lead to health problems, especially in people who are sensitive to mould spores and can suffer from skin, eye and chest irritations. Medical conditions such as asthma can be exacerbated by dampness.
As the autumn is now here and winter is just around the corner, it makes good sense to inspect your property for any damp problems or any potential problems and to get them sorted.
Having decided to tackle the problem of damp ‘head on’ or to check for problems, what are the signs to look out for?
That characteristic damp smell
Our sense of smell is actually the strongest of our five senses. A damp room has a characteristic damp, musty smell – especially when the door has been closed or a wall cupboard is opened. Another sign is an unnatural amount of condensation in the room.
Are there tell tale signs on the walls or ceiling?
Walls will quickly show any damp problems either with a patch turning mouldy with mildew or with a white coating like a layer of sea salt crystals. Sometimes a patch of plaster will change colour and darken or if the wall is papered, this can start to flake or peel. A characteristic ‘tide mark’ up to one metre above the floor is another sure sign of damp.
If you have an older house, it is not unusual for bricks to become porous with age. If there are any areas that have black mould this certainly indicates a mould problem.
Do the ‘touchie feelie’ test
Carefully and methodically feeling different areas on your walls, floors and ceilings is a good way to check for any dampness as damp surfaces tend to feel unnaturally cool and damp.
Check at ground level too
If you suspect rising damp, it is a good idea to check out the condition of the skirting boards.
Can you detect any signs of damp? Is a section of the skirting board going rotten and beginning to decay? How is the flooring? If you have vinyl flooring, parquet or carpets are they in good condition? If you can, roll a section back so that you can check what is going on underneath.
Look at walls inside and out
It is possible to have damp problems on either side of the wall and it is a good idea to regularly check walls internally and externally, windows and roofs and if any repairs are needed, to get these done swiftly.
On completion of these tests, do seek professional help quickly if you suspect damp. A surveyor will visit your property and be able to assess the scale of the problem. Sometimes, the damp problem is caused by something that is hard to pinpoint such as defective insulation.
There are a number of different ways to effectively cure damp depending on what is causing the problem. We at Cavitech-UK specialise in insulation problems and can help you.
Seek plenty of good advice about which treatment will be the most successful and cost effective for you, as wearing flippers really isn’t an option!