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How To Get Rid of Damp?

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Many people have had unpleasant experiences with damp in their homes. It can damage walls, plaster, furniture and clothes, as well as being bad for health and making the home feel unwelcoming. 

Damp can be identified by the signs it leaves behind – peeling wallpaper, damp patches and mould. Proper ventilation is important to reduce damp. Waterproofing and cavity wall insulation can also help and deal with any leaks.

Mould can be removed using a solution of bleach and water. Further prevention can be achieved by using a dehumidifier and running an extractor fan when showering and cooking.

It’s important to check your home regularly for signs of damp. If the problem persists, seek advice from a damp-proof specialist to identify and solve the cause.

To protect your home and your health, make sure to tackle damp. 

Table of Contents

Types of Damp

In the following section, we take you through the main types of damp, including how to identify the type of damp you have and the solutions available. It is possible to have a combination of damp problems that can make diagnosis more complicated.

  • Condensation
  • Penetrating Damp
  • Rising Damp

What Is Condensation?

The air in our homes contains water vapour from activities like cooking, washing, and drying clothes. When it’s cold outside, the warm and moist air (which can hold more moisture than cold air) moves to the cooler parts of your house.

As a result, the excess water vapour in the air condenses on cold surfaces like windows and sometimes walls, creating condensation. Condensation can also happen in less noticeable places, such as behind furniture, blocked-in fireplaces, and underneath laminate flooring.

how to get rid of damp
In kitchens and bathrooms, use a humidity-controlled extractor fan to remove excess moisture.

How do I Stop Condensation?

Good ventilation and regulated heating are the most effective ways to prevent condensation. Here are some suggestions to help you stop condensation:

  1. Improve ventilation by opening windows to allow air to circulate. You can also cross-ventilate by opening windows slightly at opposite sides of the house. Consider installing bathroom or kitchen humidity-controlled extractor fans or whole-home ventilation systems to prevent condensation.
  2. In kitchens and bathrooms, use a humidity-controlled extractor fan to remove excess moisture. Be sure to keep the doors shut to prevent moisture from spreading throughout your home.
  3. Regulate heating so that it stays on at a lower heat constantly. This will help prevent rapid changes in temperature and reduce condensation.
  4. Reduce moisture by using lids on pans when cooking, adding cold water before hot water when running a bath, drying clothes outdoors or in a room with a humidity-controlled extractor fan, and avoiding drying damp clothes on warm radiators.
  5. Improve insulation, such as cavity wall insulation, to prevent cold patches on walls and reduce the risk of condensation problems.

What is Penetrating Damp?

Penetrating damp appears when water from outside seeps into the building due to various defects in the structure. These defects can include faulty joints, improperly installed windows and doors, failed external render, damaged or blocked guttering, leaking downpipes, and faulty roofing, such as missing or damaged tiles.

Water can penetrate through absorbent substrates. These issues are quite common and can result in moisture entering your home. This problem is seen in older properties, and it becomes worse after rain.

The consequences of penetrating damp can be quite serious for the structure of your building. Any water that enters the building can cause surface staining and lead to paint de-bonding. However, the real damage occurs within the hidden components of the structure.

For instance, wall ties can corrode, timber lintels and floor joists can rot, which can eventually result in wet and dry rot. The masonry can be affected by freezing water, leading to surface spalling and eventual de-bonding of brick faces and renders.

How Do I Stop Penetrating Damp?

The focus should be on finding the cause of the penetrating damp. Begin by examining the common culprits such as gutters, downpipes, and damaged roof tiles. Once the issue has been identified, it is essential to have it repaired by a professional.

The following faults are worth investigating:

  • Check your roof space regularly for any signs of a leak, such as wet timbers;
  • Check for faults with gutters and downpipes;
  • Check for faults with your walls such as pointing or damaged pebbledash;
  • Check window frames and doors for gaps;
  • Check flashing (where a roof meets the wall of a chimney) .
What is Rising Damp
Another cause of rising damp is when the ground outside your home is at a higher level than your damp-proof course, allowing water to bridge the barrier.

What is Rising Damp?

Rising damp appears when groundwater moves upward through a wall. Most walls allow some water to enter, but this is typically prevented from causing damage by a barrier called a damp-proof course. The damp-proof course is commonly a horizontal strip made of plastic or slate embedded in the wall.

Most properties have a damp-proof course, which serves as a barrier made of plastic, bitumen, or slate. It is installed during the construction of the wall and is designed to block moisture at a lower level and prevent the occurrence of rising damp.

However, if the damp-proof course is missing or ineffective, your wall may suffer from rising damp.  

Another cause of rising damp is when the ground outside your home is at a higher level than your damp-proof course, allowing water to bridge the barrier.

How do I Stop Rising Damp?

To address rising damp, you need to ensure that your home’s damp-proof course is effective. This course blocks moisture from the ground below. Installing a damp-proof course can both solve and prevent rising damp. It is important to keep the soil at least 6 inches below this level.

There are various treatments for rising damp, which involve installing an effective damp-proof course. You can take the following actions or hire a damp specialist to do the following:

  1. Chemical damp-proof course: This involves injecting a chemical solution (damp-proof cream) into the mortar joint of affected walls through drilled holes. This creates a waterproof barrier and prevents moisture from rising above the new damp-proof course.
  2. Physical Damp Proof courses: Another option is to insert a new damp-proof membrane by removing a course of brickwork and placing the new plastic membrane before reinstating the bricks. Normally, only 3-4 bricks are removed at once, and it is advisable to seek the expertise of a professional when carrying out such remedial work.

Common Signs of Damp in The Home:

These are the most common signs:

  • A damp and musty smell;
  • The appearance of mould or mildew on walls, floors, or ceilings;
  • Walls, floors or ceilings that feel cold or damp;
  • Dark or discoloured patches on walls or plaster;
  • Lifting or peeling wallpaper;
  • Excessive condensation on windows.

If your home is experiencing rising damp, your damp-proof specialists will need to survey the property and determine the extent of the damage. The treatment for rising damp involves either a chemical or osmotic Damp Proofing Course (DPC) or the installation of a new damp membrane.

The DPC is injected into the masonry through holes and works by repelling water, while a damp membrane acts as a physical barrier to prevent dampness. The areas inside the house affected by the rising damp will likely need to be re-plastered with a salt-retardant plaster, and new skirting boards may need to be installed.

How to prevent dampness
Wipe down windows and sills every morning.

7 Damp Preventing Tips

The most effective way to remove condensation damp is to correctly ventilate your property. There are every-day things you can implement to help:

  1. Wipe down windows and sills every morning.
  2. Deal with steam from cooking.
  3. Get rid of bathroom moisture.
  4. Don’t overfill wardrobes & cupboards.
  5. Keep your house warm.
  6. Make sure the extractor fans are on.
  7. Don’t hang clothes to dry inside.

Selling a House with Damp Problems?

Damp can put off many buyers and anyone who needs a mortgage will insist that it is treated fully.

This is where we come in; we will buy your home in as-is condition.

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