damp patches on internal walls causing bubbling paint above skirting board

Diagnosing damp problems – What are the signs & causes?

How do I diagnose damp problems in my house?

Damp is one of the last things you want to experience in your home. Whether you are a renter or a homeowner, it’s not good as it can make a room feel unwelcome, cold, unhealthy, and at worst, it can mean water damage and structural issues. Unfortunately, damp problems are a common occurrence in UK homes.

Our blog on diagnosing damp problems will help you understand the major causes of damp & mould build-up. Learning more about the types of damp issues that can occur will allow you to diagnose damp problems in your home more effectively.

When the winter season starts, the outdoor temperature plummets, and there are instances that condensation and Damp can take over your home, causing indoor mould build-up. Though commonly affected people live in story building apartments, however, people living in bungalows or mansions also experience damp problems.

Studio apartments also get affected during the cold seasons, and the major cause of this condensation is the failure to carry the best house maintenance practices. Mould affects your furniture and clothes, posing various health risks such as asthma, making it quite challenging to live in a house with Damp. 

If you are wondering how to get rid of damp in your house immediately, we strongly advise the help of a trained damp surveyor. It is advisable to seek professional solutions to avoid health complications before situations get out of hand. To learn more about diagnosing damp problems yourself please continue reading below…

diagnosing damp and mould on walls

Diagnosing damp problems

After analysing all the possible causes and effects of damp in your home, it’s advisable to eliminate indoor condensation. Damp occurs in highly condensed rooms where the temperature goes from cold to warm regularly. You can notice a steam build up on the windows, and if it stays for too long, it eventually results in black moulds building up in the house. 

Generally, a house can get damp due to various reasons, including leakages in pipes, waste overflows, poor drainage systems, and many more. A very common cause of damp arising from the ground is rising damp, many houses experience affected damp courses or no installation on internal walls. Therefore, it’s advisable to get damp proofing treatment from damp specialists in these cases.

It is common for water penetrations from outside the house to go unnoticed. The water may seep due to a missing tile in the roof, gutter issues, porous brickwork, or a leaking space in the house. Diagnosing damp problems early in the house is essential to avoid serious damage and lead to more expensive means to treat it. Diagnosing internal damp efficiently all starts by getting a professional survey and analysing the possible causes. The damp patches on walls are the first and one of the main signs of damp. Leakages in the chimney wall can be the main cause of patches on the wall of a house so should also be investigated if areas are noticed.

diagnosing damp on internal walls

There are three main types of damp in the house, and they include:

  • Condensation

One of the most common types of damp, condensation, is caused mostly by poor ventilation or a house with heating issues. Some indoor activities like cooking, boiling kettle, or heating appliances can cause a rise in the humidity levels inside the house. The hot air with moisture is released that gets condensed on the cooler surfaces of the wall and windows. 

Furthermore, the presence of running water on the windows is a clear sign of condensation. Condensation is symbolised through stains on the curtains, window frames decay, and mould on the walls.

  • Rising Damp

Another common damp problem found in houses is Rising Damp. It affects the lower walls, rising from the ground upwards. It occurs when the water from the ground or around your house rises through the brickwork via capillary action resulting in damp in your wall, which manifests as wet patches, flaky paint, bubbling, or damaged internal plaster.

Normally, the structure of the house determines the chances of this type of damp. Tide lines (brownish or yellowish stains) mark the rising damp areas and encourage mould growth. Besides, there are several symptoms of rising damp, including floor stains, plaster stains, or peeling paint on the walls. 

  • Penetrating damp

It occurs mainly in an old building but can occur in new properties as well depending on the source of the issue. Penetrating damp is the outcome of water percolation via external walls and into the building. It can occur when stone walls or external bricks are degraded or when water enters the building through a defect where they become spongy and permits water ingress to pass via the building’s wall, eventually resulting in moulds and stains on the walls. 

The main cause of Penetrating Damp is usually defective flashing systems, faulty gutters, porous bricks, or cracks in the house. All these are associated with poor construction strategies in the house or bad home management. Keeping your property in good health will help you avoid all potential penetrating damp occurring.

How to treat Damp once it has been diagnosed

  • Remove the Source

As soon as you notice that there are damp symptoms in your house, remove all condensation causes. Eliminating the source of Damp is the best way to get rid of the mould in the house. Use fungicidal detergents to clean up your house.

  • Clean the Walls & Windows with Fabric

Wipe the house surfaces using a cloth that has been dipped in soapy water. Us a dry piece of cloth to clean the surfaces. Avoid brushing mould off as this spreads the mould spores resulting in more mould.

  • Cover all Pots & Pans

When cooking, ensure that you have covered pots and pans well. It helps to prevent the steam from escaping into the room or house surroundings as you cook. You can conserve and save energy through this strategy as well. 

  • Keep Your House Ventilated

You can improve the ventilation or heating systems in the house, especially in your kitchen area, which will help reduce moisture. There are many cost-effective and longer-term solutions you can implement in your kitchen area to avoid dampness.

Ventilate the house by opening windows fully at least daily or leaving the windows slightly open. Some materials used in a house to keep it ventilated include timber bricks and plastic as they allow a good airflow in the house. In addition, these materials help prevent damp and extreme moisture in the house.

  • Keep Bathroom Windows Open

Ensure to get rid of moisture in the bathroom as these areas generate a lot of moisture, especially hot tubs and hot showers. You can implement the best strategies for preventing bathroom moisture from escaping into the house by keeping the bathroom door closed all the time when taking a shower. Also, open the bathroom windows after taking a shower. If possible, you should fit an extractor fan in the bathroom to avoid moisture escape in the house.

  • Insulate Your Home & Keep it Warm

Carry out the best practices of keeping the house warm, especially during cold months. A warm house will rarely have moulding and dampness incidents. Ensure that your house has great insulation as it helps, especially for people living in cold areas. The walls are affected by dampness mostly during winter, but you can fight and eradicate dampness from your house with the best insulation strategies.

  • Use a Dehumidifier

You can always buy a dehumidifier if the condition worsens in your home. For example, a house that has been damaged due to extreme moisture can be transformed using a dehumidifier. Also, it’s advisable to avoid hanging clothes in the house, especially damp clothes. Winter seasons see more clothes hanging inside, and it’s advisable to avoid hanging even the inner wears inside the house. That way, you can easily avoid condensation and moisture build-up in your house. 

So these were some ways you can get rid of damp in your property! The tougher part is diagnosing damp problems correctly. It is common for homeowners to go through DIY routes to treat damp and miss diagnose the problem leading to more severe consequences.

black mould problems

Professional Damp Survey to diagnose damp

We can help you get rid of damp in your house! If you are worried about diagnosing damp problems incorrectly, contact Advanced Damp to get a professional survey and diagnose your damp problem.

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