A really common problem that people face at home is damp – and it can be pretty tricky to get rid of if you’re not proactive enough. If you’ve been considering making a new year’s resolution, deciding to tackle the damp issues you have at home would certainly be a very good one indeed.
First of all, you need to work out just what kind of damp you’re dealing with because unfortunately each kind will need to be treated differently.
Symptoms of rising damp include damaged skirting boards and plaster, peeling wallpaper and paint, and wet patches. Keep a close eye on your walls as well – if you see any white tide marks on them, you may well have a rising damp situation.
Penetrating damp caused by leaking rainwater goods can be treated by repairs to the offending defective fitting. It should then dry out normally unless the plaster on the inside is affected, in which case the plaster will need to be renewed.
A good idea is to inspect your rainwater goods when it is raining and any defect will become apparent. High ground levels which could bridge the damp course should be lowered to 6” below damp course level. If it is not possible to lower the ground then tanking of the walls internally will be necessary to stop the lateral penetration below the damp course level.
Walls under the ground such as cellars are subject to lateral penetration and should be waterproof rendered to stop the damp. Or you could have a cavity membrane installed – whichever is suitable for the job.
Condensation, meanwhile, is a lifestyle issue and condensation fans will help the problem along with advice from DW30 on living arrangements. If treatment is carried out as soon as it becomes evident it can be less costly to deal with.
If you have rising damp in London, for example, you’ll find it’s perhaps less easy to deal with than other kinds of damp – and it can be more costly to treat as well. Which is why it’s so important you get on top of the situation immediately so costs don’t spiral out of control.
Rising damp is caused by ground water moving up through the floor or a wall. Floors and walls will usually let a bit of water in but it’s stopped from causing damage by damp-proof membranes or a damp-proof course. Newer builds will have both of these as a requirement of building regulations, but older ones may not – so damp may become more of a problem.
If you find damp patches on the floor or your floorboards or lino lifting up, it’s likely the damp is coming up through the floor rather than through the walls. Where concrete floors are affected, this will be due to lack of damp membrane in the floor which will need to be replaced.