Damp is a common problem faced by many house owners. The presence of unwanted moisture in the structure of a building results in the damp. Residents of a house need to tackle the damp problem as it poses various health risks and compromises the structural integrity of the home.
Identifying the Problem of Damp
Some common signs which may help people identify the problem of damp are the following:
- Musty Smell in the House: This smell may be especially pronounced during winter months when the house is shut most of the time or in enclosed areas such as the basement.
- Presence of Fungi and Mould: Their presence can be detected in the form of dark and discoloured patches and growths on the walls and ceiling. They are most observable in rooms like the kitchen and the bathroom since they have high moisture content. Such stains might also be found on furniture and soft furnishings like curtains.
- Rusting: Damp can cause the deterioration of the house’s iron components, especially the nails and screws visible in the skirting board.
- Reducing in Aesthetic Appeal: This mostly shows in the form of peeling of wallpaper or paint on the walls, as well as the lifting of the floor coverings.
- Temperature and Condensation: Cold walls and floor is a common feature of homes plagued by damp. This is usually accompanied by condensation on windows.
Causes of Damp
The causes of a damp problem can be narrowed down to four main types:
Many activities, such as cooking, bathing, and drying clothes, are carried out within a house. These activities usually increase the amount of moisture present in the air, which can be observable in condensation on windows.
Modern homes are constructed with double glazing and cavity wall insulation to reduce heat loss from the house. However, this can often result in the accumulation of moisture within the house, especially if the home’s doors and windows are mostly kept shut, causing dampness.
The most common sign of damp caused by this issue is condensation on windows.
Every house is subjected to a Damp Proof Course (DPC) during its construction.
However, at times, the DPC of a house might not have been appropriately implemented.
This results in the entry of moisture from the exterior through leaking roofs, excessively porous walls, or degraded mortar.
The signs of penetrative damp show up in the form of dark and discoloured streaks around the areas where the DPC has failed. This is mostly seen on walls and ceilings.
- Plumbing Failure: Failure of plumbing can also result in the invading of a house’s structure by moisture. This kind of failure usually occurs due to leaks or blocked pipes. Damp caused due to this reason can be identified by looking for mould and stains around sinks and radiators.
- Rising Damp: This type of damp occurs in ancient houses that did not have a practical Damp Proof Course implemented.
This results in the travelling of damp from the floor to the walls and ceiling using capillary action.
Rising damp shows its signs in many forms, such as dark or discoloured patches on the floor, walls, ceiling, condensation on windows, and a musty smell.
Prevention of Damp and Mould
Avoiding moisture accumulation within the house can prevent the problem of damp and mould:
- The most crucial step to prevent the damp problem is to always be on top of house maintenance.
- One must avoid the build-up of moisture within the house. This can be done by being mindful of activities like cooking, drying, etc., that increase moisture levels.
- The house should be well-ventilated. This does not only depend on the structure and maintenance of the house but also on allowing aeration of the house by opening up doors and windows.
- Alternatively, a dehumidifier may also be installed.
- Moisture-resistant paint and wallpapers may also be used to control damp.
Repairing the Damage Caused by Damp
There are two main ways types of damages that need to be repaired once the problem of damp has sorted out:
Mould and Staining
The issue of mould and staining on walls and ceilings must be carried out by using an effective mould-removing treatment. This can be Do-It-Yourself, such as scrubbing with hot water and soap or using a manufactured mould-remover.
The first step for this is to get rid of all the excess moisture in the air.
It is essential to maintain precaution from mould spores during the treatment by using goggles and rubber gloves.
Once the mould has been cleared, spray the area with an anti-mould spray to prevent mould reoccurrence. This is followed by painting the area with a damp seal or stain blocker so that the staining cannot resurface. Finally, touch up the area with paint or wallpaper.
Grout and Sealant Repair
The mould growth on the grout and sealant around sinks and radiators can easily be cleaned using a mould-removing treatment. However, in the case of silicone-based sealants, the staining can persist, even clearing up the mould.
In such cases, the easiest fix is to replace the sealant. This can be done by cutting off the present sealant and replacing it with a mould-resistant sealant using a sealant gun.
Contact some professionals
If you’re struggling to keep on top of your damp, why not contact some Damp professionals such as Atlantis Damp. As Certificated Surveyor in Remedial Treatment (CSRT) they are the experts to diagnose and treat Damp and Timber issues in your home. Why not check out their services for more information on what they can do for you.
Damp can be a pesky problem that might trouble a lot of homes. Precise knowledge about its causes, prevention, and cure is essential to maintain a healthy home.