Can you paint over damp walls to solve a damp problem? In short; no. Painting damp walls will never solve your damp problems. Even if you use moisture resistant or anti damp paint, the damp will eventually return if it was already there, anti damp paints are a preventative measure not a remedy. You need to treat the cause of the damp first before you can begin painting. In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about painting damp walls.
Why can’t I paint over damp walls?
Painting damp walls is the equivalent of papering over the cracks. It may solve aesthetic problems in the short term, but it is ultimately a waste of time and money. The damp will simply return on the painted walls and you will right back where you started. In fact, you may even be in a worse position as damp problems tend to get worse over time and as a result more expensive to treat.
Is Damp or Mould on Walls Harmful?
Although damp and mould on their own aren’t necessarily harmful, they have been known to aggravate symptoms of respiratory conditions.
If you notice damp spots or mould on walls, it is a sure sign there is an underlying damp issue that must be addressed. Although condensation is a common cause, rising damp and penetrating damp can also be the underlying cause. Condensation issues should not be ignored, as mould spores will spread and grow over time if left untreated. Penetrating damp can also lead to timber issues such as wet and dry rot, if timber is exposed to moisture over a period of time.
How to Prevent Walls Becoming Damp
There are several ways your walls can become damp, so there’s more than one step you can take to keep your walls damp free.
Condensation is a common cause of interior walls becoming damp. Condensation leads to mould growth on walls and ceilings around your home. It is important to treat any mould issues at the source before painting. To avoid a condensation problem, you need to make sure your home is well ventilated. Keep windows and trickle vents open whenever possible and ensure air bricks are clear to ventilate excess moisture created by everyday living. Sometimes this will not be enough and a mechanical ventilation solution will be required.
Penetrating damp refers to moisture entering your home from outside. This water ingress can come from structural damage and gaps in outside walls, roofs, window frames or doors. To prevent penetrating damp, keep your property well maintained, and don’t ignore any property defects like cracks in brickwork and blocked downpipes.
Rising damp can cause damp on interior walls. Damp from below ground level can rise up through the walls of your home through capillary action. This can be prevented by ensuring your damp proof course isn’t broken or bridged. This will stop moisture entering your home from below ground level.
What to do if my Walls are Damp
There is no step by step guide as it will depend on what is causing the damp issue to occur. The first step is to identify the cause of damp. This may be a condensation issue, or moisture coming through the ceiling or exterior walls. Once the problem has been identified, the next step is to treat the source of moisture before you can think about picking up a paint brush. Make sure that any mould growth on walls or ceilings has been removed. Once the damp problem has been treated, give your walls time to fully dry. Opening windows will help air out the walls. You may also need a dehumidifier to remove any lingering moisture. Once the walls are fully dry, you can now begin decorating.
Should I use Anti Condensation Paint?
Anti condensation paint will reduce the risk of damp problems such as mould. However, it’s still important that you don’t rely on the anti condensation paint alone and still take the above preventative steps. Condensation will simply return if you stop ventilating your home. If you notice issues with condensation or mould after you’ve painted, this means the damp issue is still ongoing.
Don’t Take Shortcuts when Protecting your Home
Damp walls that have been painted might look alright, but just because you can’t see the problem, it doesn’t mean it’s no longer there. It’s not a long lasting solution, and you will soon notice damp symptoms like mould growing back. Visit our damp proofing page to learn more about the various types of damp, and how to treat them.