While damp can be a problem year-round, it thrives in winter. It can be frustrating to have a damp problem flare up from something as unpreventable as the weather. No matter which type of damp you have, the cold and extra rain is going to take a toll.
Damp does get worse in the winter. At this time of year, temperatures are lower and there is considerably more rain. This creates the perfect conditions for damp. The extra rain on walls and the grounds make penetrating and rising damp worse. The wind and rain can also cause damage to your roof, leading to leaks and damp ceilings and walls. General heating of your home can even contribute to condensation damp.
The Main Reasons That Damp Gets Worse in Winter
Different types of damp are going to be affected in different ways by the changing seasons. Below are some of the main reasons for damp getting worse in the winter:
- More Condensation – In the winter, more condensation is going to build up through keeping the house warm. Heating, drying clothes indoors, bathing, cooking, and rapid changes in temperature all contribute. This will lead to more condensation damp.
- Cold Air Outside – The cold air makes a big difference to the temperature of walls inside and out. This causes your walls to be cooler and creates due points which is a place for condensation to settle.
- Rain – With more rain, there is more water building up on your walls and the ground. This can fuel penetrating and rising damp. Especially, if you have problems with your brickwork. It can also make roof damage and leaks worse.
- Storms – Wind and heavy weather can cause roof and gutter damage. As a result, rainwater can enter the property and cause damp. It can also drive rain into other structural issues, which could contribute to penetrating damp.
Most Common Winter Damp Problems
Damp gets worse in winter, but not every type is the same. The exact cause of your damp is going to vary depending on the type. These are the most common winter damp problems:
- Condensation Damp – This occurs when moist warm air becomes trapped and hits cool walls to form condensation, which becomes damp.
- Rising Damp – Rising damp is where moisture is drawn up from the floor into holes in your brickwork. It then soaks through and becomes damp.
- Penetrating Damp – This form of damp is where moisture is drawn through brickwork and into the wall. It happens when rainwater comes through holes in your brickwork. It then soaks into the plaster on the interior side.
- Leaking roofs – This is an extremely common problem in winter. Water comes through the roof and soaks into the ceiling. This can cause considerable damage, especially if it is left untreated.
How to Winter-Proof Your Home From Damp
Damp might get worse in the winter, but there are some things you can do to deal with it. The measures that you take are going to depend on which type of damp that you have. Below are some common solutions to deal with each:
How to Deal with Condensation Damp in Winter
Condensation damp has to be treated by dealing with the root causes. These are some things you can do to cut down on condensation:
- Ventilation – Open doors and windows more.
- Vents – Make the most of air vents in bathrooms and kitchens. Putting one into a bathroom is going to be a big help if you don’t have one.
- Furniture – Avoid putting furniture against exterior walls. It can trap moist air behind a cold surface.
- Drying Clothes, Washing, and Cooking – Open a window when doing these things as they all add a lot of moisture to the air.
- Heating – Increase the temperature in your house gradually. Rapid changes lead to condensation.
How to Deal with Penetrating Damp in Winter
Penetrating damp is a little trickier to deal with since it involves more of a structural problem. These are some ways you can prevent penetrating damp in the winter:
- Pointing – This is the finish applied to the mortar between your brickwork. It helps to keep it waterproof, but over time it erodes. If you have problems with your pointing, the extra rain of winter will come through. Repairing this gives you an extra line of defence against penetrating damp.
- Rendering – Rendering can be applied to your walls to seal the brickwork off from the rain. For houses that are already rendered, it will wear over time and will need repairs. Defects can start to allow moisture in. Fixing rendering will seal it up and stop moisture from entering your property.
- Painting – Exterior damp paint can be used to block out water and damp proof a wall. If you are worried about damp, then applying damp proof paint earlier in the year may be a good solution to avoid damp in the winter months.
How to Deal with Rising Damp in Winter
Rising damp is similar to penetrating damp. Although, the moisture travels vertically rather than horizontally. In winter, the extra rain can make it a real problem. This is what you need to do in winter to get ahead of rising damp:
- Repairing damaged DPC – Damp proof courses are a protective barrier that stop water rising through the brickwork in your property. If it fails, there are DIY ways to repair it, such as injecting a chemical DPC. This fills the small holes in the mortar and brickwork through cappilary action. This creates a secondary DPC.
Repairing or replacing the DPC can stop your rising damp from spreading through the winter.
- Paint – Damp proof paint or damp resistant paint will not always be a complete solution. However, it can be applied to walls that have problems with rising damp. It can work particularly well on stone walls in cellars, which are quite exposed to the extra water over the winter.
How to Deal with Damp Ceilings in Winter
Damp ceilings are usually caused by leaks in your roof or guttering. Leaks caused by damage are much more common in the winter. If your roof is letting in water, then it needs fixing. The same goes for guttering. The winter can make these problems a lot worse. If you have access to your loft, this can help you identify where the water is coming from.
Winter storms might mean that you need some work done on your roof at a short notice. Keep an eye out for damage, and you should be able to act before damp starts becoming an issue
The winter months are going to make most types of damp worse. Ideally you should try and identify issues earlier in the year. All types of damp are likely to cause more problems during the winter months. The good news is, all types of damp can be treated, no matter what season it is. Some solutions may just require more work if you do not spot them early.