Damp is a common issue that many homeowners face, particularly because of how our modern homes work. With a focus on efficiency and keeping warmth locked in, it can be difficult to properly ventilate your property, resulting in an increase in damp issues.
If left unchecked, damp can lead to structural instability and mould growth, both of which can lead to health hazards and difficult or expensive repairs. With that in mind, it makes more sense to simply keep on top of your damp problem and learn how to reduce its causes. To help you, here are four of the main ways you can deal with your damp problem and prevent it from continuing.
Firstly, it’s important to mention that a lot of the time, addressing damp problems is about lifestyle changes rather than buying new equipment or services. A lot of damp and mould growth is the result of water vapour in the air, rather than water from outside getting in. This water vapour in the air is warm and when it touches the cold walls or tiles, it cools down into water droplets or condensation. This is the same condensation you’d see on the mirror, except it settles on the walls instead.
If condensation repeatedly comes into contact with the walls you can be left a long-term wet patch which develops into damp and eventually, mould. To avoid this, open the windows when you’re cooking, showering or drying clothes indoors – this will give the warm water vapour somewhere to escape instead of cooling down after coming into contact with the wall.
Building on from our point about condensation, a ventilation system can a great way of reducing your need for opening windows to let air out. This is especially useful in older properties that lack the natural ventilation you might need, or potentially just have fewer windows that you would prefer.
Ventilation systems vary in price and specification but ultimately offer the same advantage as opening a window; they give the warm water vapour somewhere to escape instead of settling on the walls. If you have the budget, consider introducing professional ventilation into your home for some added damp prevention.
Damp Proof Course (DPC)
If you’re wondering what a DPC is, you’re not alone. A DPC is a thin water-resistant barrier inside the walls of your property. All homes have a DPC because, without one, groundwater would penetrate the mortar in your walls and, through something called ‘capillary action’, rise up through the wall.
This groundwater results in rising damp, which is usually noticeable because the base of your wall will have a distinct line of damp rather than patches in various places. If you have this type of damp, your DPC could be damaged so it’s worth getting an expert in to take a look.
A final point to mention is guttering. Damp is often caused by condensation and groundwater, but it can also be the result of external water. If you have a damaged roof or broken pipe, these can both lead to water accessing places where it shouldn’t, leading to long-term damp problems. However, usually it’s easy to identify if you have a broken pipe or damaged roof; one of the issues that people commonly forget is broken guttering.
Gutters are used to redirect rainwater off our roofs and onto the ground, but as they host much of the rainwater our home is hit by, they can sometimes break and divert it elsewhere. If this happens, the water can end up in your home rather than outside it, resulting in damp.
To avoid this, regularly check the state of your gutters, clean them out and fix them if damaged. If you can’t make the repairs yourself then there are countless services available to help.
These aren’t the only remedies for damp, but they are definitely some of the most commonly effective. Always consult an expert if you are not sure, especially as many damp proofing companies offer free surveys.