There are three main types of damp that can affect your home, and while all will affect the fabric of your home in similar ways and can lead to problems with mould growth on walls and damage to your plasterwork, they have different causes and need to be treated differently.
Rising damp is caused when moisture in the ground is drawn up into the walls of your home via capillary action. Rising damp can be easily identified because it will only form on the ground floor of your home and will reach about 1 metre above the floor. Rising damp occurs when the damp proof course in your walls is damaged or missing and needs to be dealt with by a professional who will install a moisture barrier to prevent the ingress of water.
Penetrating damp forms because of water leaking into your home. This can be due to gaps around windows, holes in the roof, or even damage to pipes. Penetrating damp is usually limited to a single area and is most often seen as a wet patch close to the affected area. If water is leaking from a pipe, you may notice a rusty looking stain on a wall or ceiling, while if water is leaking from a gap around a window, you will normally see a wet patch where mould might have started to grow. As with rising damp, penetrating damp will usually need to be dealt with professionally by either a builder, or a plumber. They will identify the source of the moisture and take steps to rectify it.
The final type of damp is condensation damp. This is caused by humidity in your home. Water vapour in the air from showering, cooking and other activities will form as condensation on cold surfaces such as exterior walls. If the condensation is allowed to soak through into the underlying material, it will gradually saturate the area and create a damp patch. Condensation damp is commonly found in bathrooms and on ceilings where mould will often grow. There may not be an obvious source of the dampness.
Condensation damp affects many homes, especially during the winter. If left untreated, condensation damp can lead to mould growth, damage to your property, and health issues.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways to stop condensation damp in your home. The main solution is to improve the ventilation in your rooms, so that the excess moisture can escape outside. Here are some tips on how to do that:
Reduce the amount of water vapour that can become trapped in your home. Ensuring that you use pan lids when cooking on the stove, and leaving the dishwasher closed until it has cooled down will reduce the amount of steam released in your kitchen. You should also use extractor fans while cooking to help reduce the amount of water vapour in the room and keep the door closed to prevent steam escaping into other areas where it might become trapped.
Make sure that the extractor fan in your bathroom is working correctly and use it while taking a bath or shower. A bath can release more than 600g of water vapour into the air which can quickly form condensation on walls and ceilings leading to the formation of damp.
Condensation will often form on windows overnight – particularly during the winter when it is colder outside. Wipe away the condensation in the morning to prevent it building up and having a chance to soak into walls.
Avoid putting large items of furniture too close to the wall. Allow a gap of about 5cm behind wardrobes and sofas. This allows space for air to circulate and helps to prevent mould from getting a head start.
Damp patches will often lead to mould growth, and this can have serious consequences for your health. If you find that damp is persistent in your home, the most likely issue is a lack of good ventilation. Extractor fans are essential in bathrooms and kitchens, but if you have discovered mould and damp in other rooms, whole house ventilation may be required. Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) systems such as EnviroVent ATMOS can be installed professionally and will draw fresh air in from outdoors to displace the humid air in your home. The circulation of air prevents condensation from forming and will stop it from causing damp and mould permanently.
Damp can be expensive to repair, and if mould is allowed to grow it can damage your health. If you are concerned about condensation damp in your home, we can help. Request a free home survey from one of our trusted local condensation specialists. They will visit your property and identify the causes of condensation and mould and provide you with advice about the best solution for your needs. Simply enter your postcode below to find an expert near you.
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