If damp is allowed to develop in your home, it can lead to the growth of mould and cause damage to the structure of the property. If you discover damp in your home, it is essential to act quickly to remove the cause and take steps to stop the problems from worsening.
Damp is caused when moisture is allowed to soak into porous surfaces and saturate them. There are three primary sources of moisture that causes damp.
Rising damp is caused by water soaking up into the walls of your home from the ground. It is caused by a lack of a dampproof barrier (damp proof course) at the bottom of the walls. Rising damp only affects the ground floor of a property and can be identified by stains on plasterwork up to about one metre above ground level.
Penetrating damp is due to water soaking through a wall or ceiling. It may be caused by damage to external walls, gaps around windows and doors, and holes in the roof. Penetrating damp can also be caused by leaking pipes. Penetrating damp is commonly identifiable due to dark stains on walls caused by pigments from the underlying plaster or rust coming through the paint level.
Both penetrating damp and rising damp need to be fixed professionally by either a builder or plumber, and depending on how long the problem has been present for, you may need to redecorate afterwards.
The third type of condensation damp is caused by moisture from inside your home soaking into walls. In a house with poor ventilation, humidity levels can build up to the point where condensation forms on walls and ceilings. Over time this will soak through the porous paint layers and saturate the underlying plaster.
If left unrepaired, damp causes both superficial and structural problems.
The most immediately apparent issue arising from damp problems in your home will be paint or wallpaper peeling away from the wall. Over time this will be followed by the plaster starting to crumble away as the structure of the plaster breaks down due to the moisture causing some of the chemicals to dissolve.
Damp can become a structural problem if water is allowed to soak into the wood. Over time the wood will begin to rot, which can become a significant problem in timber-framed homes but can also cause issues with wooden window frames becoming perforated and allowing drafts and additional leaks into the home that can make problems worse.
Damp patches also serve as the perfect environment for various moulds to grow. Mould growth on walls and ceilings could be better, but it can also harm your health. All moulds spread by releasing spores that are an allergen which can irritate the airways of people with respiratory problems and worsen conditions such as asthma. Certain types of mould, such as Stachybotrys Chartarum, also known as Toxic Black Mould, release hazardous chemicals known as mycotoxins that can be extremely dangerous for children, older people, and those with weaker immune systems.
Damp is often worse in a cold home, and heating can help reduce dampness problems, but it is a short-term fix, and you will always need to deal with the underlying cause to prevent damp.
Using your heating to keep a property warm is essential and can help to slow down the spread of damp. Condensation dampness is caused by water from the air soaking into cold walls, so maintaining heat in the property will reduce the amount of condensation that will form.
Heating can also help dry out damp surfaces after the source of moisture has been removed, but heating is only a sufficient remedy if you stop damp from occurring.
Dampness caused by physical problems with your home, such as penetrating or rising damp, needs to be solved professionally by a builder or plumber. By removing the source of moisture, the dampness will be stopped and, over time, will dry out so that cosmetic repairs can be completed.
Damp caused by condensation requires improvements to your home ventilation to reduce the humidity levels in your home.
Installing efficient extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens and ensuring that they are used correctly can help to reduce the amount of moisture that can escape into the rest of your home, but these rooms are not the only source of moisture in the air. Drying clothes indoors, leaving towels on radiators, and even day-to-day activities and breathing all contribute to household moisture.
Whole house ventilation systems such as ATMOS – a Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) System manufactured by EnviroVent displace moist air throughout your home to reduce humidity and prevent condensation. In turn, this stops damp from developing and stops mould.
If you are worried about dampness caused by condensation in your home, we can help you to stop it. Enter your postcode below to find a local ventilation specialist who can visit your property to perform a free home survey. This survey will identify the causes of condensation in your house, and your local expert will be able to advise you about the best way to deal with the issue and stop condensation damp for good.
One of our local experts will contact you to learn more about your problems, offer free expert advice and make recommendations for a permanent solution.
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