amp can be a problem in many homes – especially at this time of the year. It comes in all shapes and sizes – none healthy and some potentially expensive to sort. But delay is not an option.
The easiest to deal with are leaky water joints or bathroom spillage. You can see the damage, and often figure out the problem. It could be a DIY job – tightening up a joint or resealing a shower tray. Ignoring this could bring down plaster or rot woodwork.
Condensation is next easiest to treat. It’s caused by warm air meeting cold so it’s worse in winter. Windows kitchens and bathrooms are most likely to suffer with damp. Left untouched, it turns into damp and black mould. And possibly brings a nasty smell as well.
The emergency treatment is wiping walls and windows dry. Then look for the cause. It’s often bad ventilation – blocking up chimneys and draughtproofing doors can be the culprit.
Turning the heating high and then low – rather than maintaining a constant midway temperature – may also produce condensation.
Covering radiators with wet clothing might also be a cause.
But a cure could be as simple as unblocking an external airbrick – perhaps earth or rubbish has piled up.
Putting in an extractor fan is often helpful in kitchens and bathrooms – these cost anything from £20 to £200 (plus fitting) depending on location, size and type. Or you could try a dehumidifier. These extract the damp from the room – a good one (and the cheapest may not be best) costs about £400.
Penetrating damp is more serious – and harder and more costly to treat. Signs include damp or black patches on walls which are worse during rainy periods. It may be caused by structural problems such as broken guttering or downpipes, a roof needing repair or replacement , or cracks in external walls. This is generally a “call the builder” rather than a DIY job so the cure is rarely cheap. Finding where the damp enters and treating that usually provides a solution.
Rising damp is probably the most costly and difficult to deal with. Symptoms include damaged skirting boards or plaster, peeling paint and wallpaper, and wet patches. You may also have problems with floor coverings.
It’s caused by ground water moving up through a wall or floor – it will be there even in summer.
This is usually because your dampproof cause is faulty – anything from earth or rubbish breaching it to a complete failure. It’s expensive to replace but without adequate damp course protection, your home is unhealthy – and could be unsellable.