How to Protect Your Home from Damp

We’ve all heard of damp but what actually is it and how does it affect my property? Damp is a widespread common household problem, which often gets overlooked by property owners. By not recognizing the issue initially can be very problematic as damp can grow and progress through your property potentially leading to detrimental effects.

‘Damp’ is the term used to refer to “moisture diffused through the air or a solid substance or condensed on a surface, typically with detrimental or unpleasant effects”.

Damp problems can affect any building or property and if not treated you may face larger problems such as Dry Rot or Wet Rot. Damp is typically a result of a failing damp proofing course, poor ventilation and poor property maintenance. Here we will discuss the most the three most common types of damp and how you can combat them to ensure your property and yourself are free from any potential danger.

Rising Damp

Do not worry! It’s not as bad as it sounds. You will not find yourself drowning in damp any time soon. Rising damp is simply the result of groundwater tracking upwards through your brickwork or stonework. This ground water contains soluble salts, which deposit from the atmosphere giving a permanently damp feeling to the wall.

Most ground water contains small quantities of salts, which are in most cases at an acceptable level. Over large periods, say in excess of 50 years, the persistent rise and evaporation of water cause these salts to accumulate in large quantities.

Fortunately, signs of rising damp are easily recognisable. Typically detected through,

  • A murky colored ‘tide line’ above your skirting board
  • Compounds of salt deposits collected on the walls
  • Damp/damaged skirting boards or black mould spots on the wall.

What can you do to stop rising damp?

When dealing with an issue such as rising damp its always best to seek specialist help. Specialists will be able to identify the problem and recommend the most effective treatment to ensure problems will not persist in the future. The most common forms of rising damp treatment usually consist of a cream based solution injected into the walls of your property. In doing so, an impermeable barrier is created to control subsequent water damage. Other rising damp treatments such as an Electric Osmotic System, involve an electric current passing through the wall in order to repel moisture from the wall.

Penetrating Damp

Penetrating damp can affect all buildings but is most common in older buildings, which have problems with water ingress. Most commonly as a result of leaky pipes, broken gutters or cracks in the masonry. Often unnoticed penetrating damp can severely damaging often leading to other problems such as Dry Rot and Wet Rot, damp plasterwork and increased heat loss.

Signs that can help you identify a penetrating damp problem include

  • Damaged plastering
  • Constant damp patches on the wall
  • Black mould growth
  • A stagnant musty stench or weak and damaged timber.

What can you do to stop the problem?

To fix a penetrating damp problem you must first identify the source of the moisture. Doing this will allow you to take the next step of removing any damaged masonry, timber or plaster in your property. In severe cases of penetrating damp it may be necessary to install a cavity drain membrane to ensure no future damage may be able to occur.

Condensation

Last but not least there is Condensation.

Condensation occurs when moisture is absorbed into the warm atmosphere of your home and then as the house cools down the moisture condenses on cold surfaces. Condensation is caused by the buildup of moisture from our day to day activities such as boiling the kettle, drying clothes inside, taking a shower and even breathing.

Common signs of condensation include,

  • Water collecting on a window or windowsill
  • Black mould may begin to grow on walls, surfaces and carpets
  • A damp musty smell

The problem with modern properties is that they are effectively airtight sealed boxes; trapping any moisture within the house providing the ideal conditions for condensation to thrive. Ways we reduce ventilation in our properties include double-glazing, fitted carpets and the removal of traditional open fireplaces.

What can you do?

There is no way to prevent condensation however we can control it. The control of condensation is based on two very simple primary measures: improve your ventilation and your heating.

Improving your properties ventilation will allow moisture-laden air to escape and be replaced by drier air from the outside.

Maintaining a low level background temperature within your property will ensure no rapid heat changes to your environment. By heating the interior walls of your home it will reduce the risk of condensation build-up.

How to treat damp depends on the type of damp that’s affecting your property. It also may be a case that your home is suffering from more than one type of damp! Damp is a serious issue, which needs proper attention, when eradicating damp issues in your property it is always best to leave it to the specialists. This is where Timberwise come in. Timberwise are market leading property care specialists who provide a range of services, one of which is the solving of damp problems within property. At Timberwise we understand that your property is likely to be the single largest investment in your lifetime and will be their to assist you in all your property needs.

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