Prevent damp problems in the home before it's too late.02/11/2011

Dampness is one of the most common problems in the home and can often go unnoticed and even worse, untreated. Even if you notice the tiniest wet patch lingering on a ceiling,window frame or wall, it’s better to get it checked out to prevent the problem from worsening.

Before long, each damp area will start to gather mould, causing dust mites and mould spores (otherwise known as allergens). Such complications can trigger allergies, asthma and other respiratory problems, so if left untreated, damp can really take its toll on the whole family, let alone the home.

The growth of allergens can also lead to the distribution of ‘volites,’ an unpleasant that is often related to nausea, fatigue and headaches. Damp can also rot certain household furnishings and floors – don’t let all of these problems build up!

Believe it or not, there are actually three separate causes of damp:

Condensation damp

Affecting one in five homes in the whole of the UK, condensation is the most common cause of damp. Condensation occurs when the temperature of a surface is below the dew point of the surrounding air. Condensation is even more common nowadays and especially in winter, due to the increase in cavity wall insulation and double-glazing; this is because humid stale air is trapped and has no natural way of leaving the home.

You can often spot condensation by looking out for tiny water droplets on windows and walls along with the discoloring of certain interior decorations. If you have black mould in your home then this is condensation at its worst and must be dealt with as soon as possible.

Top Tip: You can reduce condensation by closing the bathroom door when it’s in use to prevent any moisture from going into other rooms. Keeping a window open in the kitchen while cooking will also help, as will drying your laundry outside as opposed to on the radiators inside.

Rising damp

When water enters a structure through a permeable masonry and works its way through solid walls, this is called rising damp. Moisture rises by capillary action and continues to rise until it finds a way to evaporate. If the moisture in the pores of the masonry cannot find a way of evaporating then the build up of moisture will pull down the surface of the wall. Surfaces that may suffer due to the worsening of rising damp include plaster, wallpaper, paint or vinyl.

In addition to peeling paint wallpaper, decayed skirting boards and crumbling plaster are other common problems that can be associated with rising damp.

Top Tip: Never deal with rising damp yourself – rising damp can often be misdiagnosed so expert help is required here.

Penetrating damp

Penetrating damp is when water enters through the walls, floors or ceilings from outside. Defective guttering and cracked and faulty joints between windows and walls often identify penetrating damp. If penetrating damp is left untreated then expect damage interior decoration and timber or plaster decay. Mould growth can also form in the worst cases, leading to even worse complications.

If any of the above problems occur in your home or have been identified recently then you need to call an expert. EnviroVent are experts in dealing with condensation dampness and will provide guaranteed lifetime solutions. Diminish the damp before it’s too late.

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April Cook Wed, 13th July 2016
I've noticed some water marks along the bottom of one of our walls. I didn't realise it might be rising damp and might be harder to fix. If it is rising damp, will I need to have work done underneath the home to dry up any water damage down there? Are there any preventative measures I can take to keep it from spreading? Hopefully we can get this fixed before it damages the paint job. Thanks for the information!