Damp in bathrooms can be a common problem, and it can damage your home’s structure and create a breeding ground for various moulds that can damage your health. In most cases, damp patches on bathroom walls and ceilings are caused by high humidity levels, causing condensation. Thankfully, you can take steps to reduce condensation in your bathroom, which will prevent damp and mould from developing to keep your home healthy.
If you have discovered a damp patch in your bathroom, you should first identify the cause. In most cases, damp bathroom patches are caused by condensation forming after bathing or a shower. Still, it is also possible that a leaking pipe is allowing water to soak into walls and ceilings.
The easiest way to determine whether the damp patch in your bathroom is caused by penetrating damp is to look for a stain on the wall or ceiling. Because penetrating dampness is caused by moisture soaking through the plasterwork, the water will carry the pigments from the underlying plaster or be discoloured by rust.
If the damp patch you have found has a brown or beige stain around it, it may be penetrating damp, and you should look for a leaking pipe or hole in the ceiling or wall. This will need to be repaired by a plumber or builder and should be done as a priority before redecorating.
If the damp patch does not have a noticeable stain and mould has started to grow, it is more likely that the cause is condensation soaking into the wall, in which case, improving ventilation in your bathroom is likely to be the most effective way to stop the damp from getting worse.
When you shower or bathe, hot water evaporates to form steam which can build up in the air in your bathroom. An average bath can release 1.7 litres of water into the air. In an unventilated bathroom, this water will quickly condense onto cold surfaces such as mirrors and tiles and porous surfaces like walls and ceilings.
A bathroom extractor fan should run while you are bathing or taking a shower, and it will help reduce the room’s humidity by expelling the moisture-rich air outside.
While ventilation is the most effective way of reducing condensation, you can take some simple steps to reduce the risk of damp forming.
While bathing or showering, ensure that the bathroom door is closed. This stops the moisture-rich air from escaping into other parts of your home, where it can condense to create damp patches away from the source of moisture.
While ventilation will reduce moisture levels significantly, it only removes the moisture in the air. Condensation can still form on walls and ceilings before the air is extracted. Once you have finished bathing, try, and wipe down any moisture that remains on the walls to reduce the amount of liquid that could soak in to create dampness.
If damp is already established in your bathroom, ventilation will help prevent the problem from worsening. Over time, the damp patches will dry out; however, if mould has started to grow on surfaces, it is essential to remove it as quickly as possible. Most household moulds can be safely cleaned away, but if you are worried about a problem with toxic black mould (Stachybotrys Chartarum), you should have it professionally removed.
Mould can be removed using dilute bleach, a fungicidal cleaner, and a soft cloth. Spray the cleaner onto the mould patch and wipe it away. You should wear gloves, eye protection, and a mask when cleaning mould and dispose of the cloth afterwards to prevent the mould from spreading to other rooms.
EnviroVent’s local ventilation specialists can advise on the best solution to your damp problems. Simply enter your postcode below to find a local expert who can visit your property to conduct a free home survey. They will visit your home, identify the causes of condensation, and advise you about the right way to stop condensation permanently.
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