Damp proofing your home

October 24, 2019

Damp can be a real nuisance in homes, causing unsightly and often smelly patches on walls, floors and ceilings. If left to its own devices, damp can become an even bigger problem, eventually turning into rot, which affects the structural strength of surfaces. For homeowners, it’s essential to deal with the issue when you first notice it and bring in an expert, if necessary.

What causes damp?

There are several causes of damp, but it mainly happens in homes with poor ventilation. It’s important that homes and buildings can ‘breathe’, with a source of constant air circulation. In homes where air circulation is stifled, damp is far more likely. Homes with poor ventilation have become more common in recent years with homeowners and architects increasingly concerned about trapping heat inside a home.

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What are the different damp issues?

When fixing a damp problem, it’s important first to figure out what has caused it. There are two main types of damp; penetrating damp and rising damp. Before deciding on the best course of action, take some time to decide what sort of damp you have:

damp paint peeling

Penetrating damp

Problem:Often presents itself as damp, blotchy patches on walls or ceilings. Penetrating damp will cause plaster to crumble. Often caused by leaks, or from poorly fitted doors and windows.
Solution:If you notice penetrating damp, try keeping a radiator on at a constant low heat to create a drier atmosphere in your home. If not, then a damp-proof course will need to be used.
Cost:Will depend on the size and area of the home. A single wall will cost around £200, but a full home can cost up to £1500.

Rising damp

Problem:Harder to see but will become obvious if the problem gets bad. Normally, you’ll be able to smell rising damp before you see it. The problem is caused by moisture rising up a wall, which if left untreated will rot surfaces.
Solution:Look to find a suitable chemical, or non-chemical damp-proof course, which can protect excess moisture entering a building.
Cost:Chemical damp proof courses are more expensive than standard ones. A small, single wall will cost around £230 with a detached, whole house costing £2000.

Condensation

humidifier to remove water in air

Problem:Happens in homes with poor ventilation and will present as damp patches, peeling wallpaper or black mildew. If you notice steamed up windows, or puddles on the window sill it’s likely your home is at risk.
Solution:The easiest to fix, use a combination of ventilation and a constant low-heat source to create a drier atmosphere. Avoid the use of non-porous paints and look into installing an extractor fan, if necessary.
Cost:As long as the problem doesn’t require a damp-proof course, it will be resolvable through improving ventilation. A good dehumidifier will cost between £130 - £250.
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