Spotting Damp in Your Home – and How to Deal With It

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Buying a first home is, obviously, an exciting endeavour for the first-time buyer. The joy of exchanging contracts immediately overshadows the difficulties inherent to getting to that point – but can sometimes be then overshadowed by the work you have ahead of you. As well as renovating to personal aesthetic tastes, there are structural considerations to make, and the presence of damp is a direct threat to the health of your home in this regard. But how can you spot damp, and how should you deal with it?

The Risks of Damp

Damp might not seem like a particularly pressing concern to newer buyers with less hands-on experience with property. However, it can pose serious risks to the value of your investment, to the quality of the home itself and indeed to your quality of life within it.

Damp can bring about structural damage to your home, by rotting wood material and weakening the mortar bonds in brickwork. It can also, naturally, bring about cosmetic damage through the discolouration of your walls and the warping of your floorboards – not to mention the increased risk of mould growth on surfaces, which in turn bring their own health risks to occupants.

Identifying Damp

There are three principal kinds of damp: condensation, rising damp and penetrating damp. Identifying which kind of damp is presenting, and how it has occurred, is a key step to solving it and ensuring you receive the right recourse thereafter.

Condensation is simply the formation of water on internal surfaces from humid air; it is the beads of water that appear on windows in winter, or after a shower in the bathroom.

Rising damp is recognisable for the way in which it ‘rises’ from the ground, indicating some failure of your cavity wall insulation or foundation. Where cavity wall insulation is found to be the culprit, you may have a separate civil claim against the solicitor that failed in any initial civil action against the firm responsible.

Penetrating damp describes the introduction of water to the property via other means, such as failure of plumbing or damage to the roof or chimney. Cracks in the walls or roof can allow water ingress, and thus allow parts of your home to begin to rot or weaken.

Removing cutter

Removing clutter is a beneficial for multiple reasons when dealing with damp and mould. By getting rid of clutter in the home, you can reduce the areas where condensation can collect, which can eventually lead to damp and potentially mould. Similarly, removing clutter makes your home easier to clean which can further help prevention of mould growth.

When you take the time to declutter your home, this is an ideal time to look for early signs of damp spots and mould growth, as this can grow behind cabinets and on walls behind furniture. It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for these early signs while decluttering and organising your home.

Fixing Damp

Condensation is common and relatively unintrusive, though prolonged condensation can allow black mould to grow quicker. A de-humidifier can solve this problem handily, as can the installation of an extractor fan in bathrooms where steam is produced as a by-product of bathing.

Rising damp is a more complex issue to fix, as the brickwork and insulation themselves are responsible for water encroachment from the ground. This is remedied through damp-proofing injections directly into the walls’ mortar course.

Finally, penetrating damp is fixed by isolating its specific origin. Plumbing failures should be easy to find due to the regionality of damp elements, and professional help can ensure the leak or failure is fixed accordingly. Regular roof maintenance can enable you to catch potential points of water ingress, and patch them as they present.