Have you ever been in the middle of moving furniture around and found a big black mark on the wall that was sitting there the whole time? If so, your home has suffered from a damp problem, but luckily it’s easy to fix.
Damp can be caused by a number of issues which all result in an increased percentage of moisture in the air. In cities such as London and other highly populated areas, where homes are built on top of one and other, it is common for damp to be present in the home. This is because of a lack of ventilation in buildings, which causes damp to produce in hot and stuffy areas.
Common Causes of Damp
Condensation is the most commonly found type of damp in the home, largely because of how easy it is for the problem to manifest itself. Traditionally, kitchens and bathrooms (rooms that see a lot of running water) are most at risk of condensation. If the rooms are not aired out, such as failing to open a window or turn on a ventilation unit, after using water then the moisture in the air has nowhere to go.
This causes a build-up of mould, usually found on the window frames, that has to be wiped away. Unless the issue of why damp is building up is addressed, damp will only continue to gather no matter how many times it is wiped away.
As well as moisture in the air, damp will also rise up from the ground – this is called rising damp. This usually is a result of a damaged DPC (damp-proof course) in walls which may require a specialist to inspect and repair. A DPC is installed in walls to soak up damp in walls before it spreads throughout the building.
A DPC is not the only method of stopping rising damp that is used in residential and commercial buildings. If your property has a basement you should consider waterproofing the area as this will be at high risk of suffering from damp. Older buildings, in particular, are deemed high risk due to the fact that they will likely have been built with poor ventilation, which can act as a catalyst for dry and wet rot to form, which can be detrimental to the structure of the property if left untreated.
What You Can Do
Damp is a serious issue in the home, and some properties are more likely to suffer from infestation than others, especially if it is an older building and has not been fitted with central heating. Treating and managing damp, though, does not necessarily have to be difficult as long as you are thorough.
Dehumidifiers are an inexpensive piece of kit that soaks up moisture in the air that will help to reduce the formation of damp. These are available either as small disposable buckets that have to be replaced every few weeks or as an electronic device that fills a tray up with water than can be easily discarded.
If your home has central heating, which most new builds do, this will help to combat damp by heating the property and evaporating moisture. This combined with a well-ventilated room, either by cracking a window open or opening a door, will do wonders for beating the problem of damp.
In the event that your home still suffers from damp issues despite implementing all of the above, you should look to have a damp survey carried out. A team of specialists will be best placed to diagnose the root cause and advise on the best course of action to take and carry out any necessary repairs to the building.