Damp is a problem that all homeowners and those in the market for a new house hope to avoid. Associated problems such as musty smells, bubbling and peeling wallpaper and unsightly damp patches spread across the walls make the house feel unwelcoming and in a state of disrepair, not to mention the potential structural damage that could occur as a result.
Yet surprisingly, research has shown that damp and mould are the most common property flaws that homebuyers miss when evaluating a house. That’s why the experts at Rentokil Property Care have put together this blog to help you understand damp problems in the house and how to solve them.
Effects of a Damp House
The NHS says that alongside affecting the immune system, having excessive damp and mould in your house means you are more likely to have “ respiratory problems, respiratory infections, allergies or asthma.”
It stands to reason that we would want to tackle any potential damp problems at an early stage before they can develop into a threat to the building and ourselves. The first step, however, is understanding exactly what is causing the damp problems.
What Causes Damp in a House
Unless there an obvious fault like a burst pipe, you should know that regardless of whether you spot damp walls in the bedroom, excessive moisture in the kitchen or even damp patches on the exterior of the building, damp problems in a house are invariably caused by one of the following problems:
Perhaps the most infamous of all damp problems, if the house is affected by rising damp it means that either the original damp proof course (DPC) has failed due to age or deterioration, a section of the house like an extension was constructed without one, or that a new installation such as a raised driveway or flowerbed has ‘bridged’ the original DPC.
This allows rainwater that has accumulated in the ground to enter the building through the mortar and onto brickwork or plaster via capillary action – the same way water will soak up through a cloth if one end is submerged.
Water Entering the Building through Cracks or other Defects
Commonly known as penetrating damp, quite simply, if there is a flaw in the exterior of the building such as cracked render, overflowing gutters or damaged downpipes then water can force its way into your house through these defects.
Lack of Ventilation
Many homeowners and buyers are unaware of the importance of having a source of healthy ventilation in your house, especially in rooms like the kitchen and bathroom where we can expect a build-up of wet and humid air.
Without adequate ventilation to flush out this damp air, you run the risk of damp patches of condensation appearing in any room of the house, and not just on windows. Unfortunately, as well as ruining the look of the room, condensation also provides the perfect environment for black mould to grow and germinate.
How to Repair a Damp House
For those selling a house, it makes sense that you would want to solve your damp problems before putting it on the market, while if you have bought a house only to find underlying damp issues then naturally you would want to put that right as soon as possible.
Thankfully there are a variety of different damp treatments you can employ dependent on what form of damp is present in the building.
Installing a remedial damp proof course is the most common and effective method of treating rising damp problems in houses. This involves injecting a waterproof solution into the mortar joint at the base of the wall leaving groundwater unable to rise past this barrier.
Penetrating damp can frequently be combated by simply identifying the source of the water ingress and performing a DIY fix to seal up the building again. However, professional assistance may be required if the problem has deteriorated into a more severe issue like dry or wet rot.
Meanwhile, for condensation problems the best advice we can give is to ensure you have an adequate source of ventilation to make sure that the levels of humidity and damp air in the house do not become excessive.
This can be as simple as keeping a window open in affected rooms, utilising ventilator fans in kitchens and bathrooms, or for more persistent condensation problems you may want to contact a specialist to install a ventilation system in the building.
Contact a Damp Treatment Expert
Whether you are buying or selling a house, or just worried about worsening damp stains and patches in your house you may require the advice, guidance and assistance of a professional qualified damp surveyor.
This will allow you to identify the exact cause of your problems and they will draft up a treatment plan to get your house looking it’s best either in advance of a sale or for you to relax and feel safe and secure in.