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Spotting The Difference Between Condensation and Rising Damp

Spotting the Difference Between Condensation and Rising Damp

Damp in your home can cause damage to the fabric of the building and repairing damp can be expensive. Extensive damp can cause plasterwork to crumble, discolour paint, and result in wallpaper peeling meaning that you will need to replace the plasterwork and redecorate. Damp can also create the conditions for mould to grow, and this can be damaging to your health.

In addition to repairing the damp that has developed in your home, you also need to understand and remove the source of the problem so that it does not return.

Understanding the cause of Damp

There are two primary types of damp in the home:

External sources of damp include rising damp from the earth, rainfall leaks, insufficient drainage, and damaged plumbing. Condensation is caused by the humidity that is created in your home by breathing, bathing, and cooking. Wintry weather often makes condensation moist worse because it makes it more possible for airborne humidity to condense on walls and windows. In wet conditions, other types of damp, such rising damp, are more likely to get worse.

You can normally identify the cause of damp visually. Condensation tends to produce patches of mould without an obvious source whereas other forms of damp will normally rise from the floor (rising damp) or be confined to an area around a window or ceiling.

Why damp can be a major problem

Damp causes many problems that must be solved as quickly as possible. In the long-term, damp issues may result in the deterioration of skirting boards, flooring, and window frames. Damp will often cause the plaster on walls to crumble and flake off.

These issues require expensive repairs, but there is also the danger of mould developing. Mould spores are an allergen that can affect the health of people with respiratory conditions or compromised immune systems.

What causes rising damp?

Rising damp is caused by water from the ground being drawn up into your walls. Usually, rising damp occurs because the damp course layer in your walls is damaging or has not been installed.

This type of damp can only reach approximately 1.2m above the ground level and is almost always detected because of stains on ground floor walls.

Rising damp needs to be treated by replacing the plasterwork so that you can redecorate. In order to prevent the damp recuring, the brickwork in your house’s walls will need to be replaced to install a damp course layer that will block the problem from coming back.

What causes condensation damp

As the name suggests, condensation damp occurs because of condensation forming on surfaces and soaking in to form damp patches. The air in your home carries water vapour from activities such as cooking and bathing. The amount oof moisture the air can hold is depending on temperature. In cooler conditions, the water content falls and condenses onto surfaces such as exterior walls and windows.

The air in your home will always have some level of humidity, but the production of water vapour from cooking, bathing, and showering, as well as breathing, adds to it. If condensation is left to linger on your walls for an extended amount of time, it can penetrate through paint and into the plasterwork where it causes damp and creates an environment where mould can quickly grow.

Reducing condensation

Stopping condensation damp from becoming a problem means reducing the water content in the air of your home. There are steps you can take to lower humidity levels:

Condensation can still be a problem even if you have extractor fans. Over time, they can become clogged, and the motors can wear out making them less effective. Ideally you should update or replace extractors every 5 to 10 years.

Find out More

Almost 1 in 5 UK homes have a problem with damp and mould caused by condensation! You can stop damp from damaging your home by improving your ventilation. Book a free home survey from one of our local ventilation specialists who will identify the source of condensation damp in your home and provide advice about the best solution.

Need help with condensation, mould or damp problems?

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.

During the free survey we will

  • check Assess any condensation, damp or mould problems in your property
  • check Take readings of the relative humidity levels
  • check Identify any underlying problems and make recommendations for a permanent solution

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