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Unfortunately, damp is a common problem. Every year, thousands of homeowners discover a damp issue in their properties. Fortunately, there are a wide range of treatments and solutions available. But the first question many homeowners ask is: How do I know if I need damp proofing?
The build-up of damp in a property can cause serious structural issues. As well as posing some very unpleasant health risks. The longer damp is untreated, the more expensive it can become to remedy the problem. All in all, it is important to protect your home from damp.
In this article, we look at 4 common signs that your property could have a damp problem.
Damp can be a complex issue linked to a combination of factors. Common problems are often down to the age of a building. Another issue can be the ineffectiveness of the property’s insulation. This is not designed to be an exhaustive list. But 4 tell-tale signs that show you have a damp problem are: damp patches and stains on walls, mould, damage to skirting boards, and peeling wallpaper.
Damp patches on the walls
One of the most common signs of damp is patches and stains on the walls and floors. Watermarks can occur in any room in the house. But damp is most common in kitchens and bathrooms. These are the rooms in the house that produce the most moisture. If these rooms have poor ventilation condensation is a common issue.
In other areas you may see isolated damp patches on walls, or tide marks towards the bottom of a wall. These will often appear above the skirting board. This occurs when water penetrates through a wall or rises from the ground below and evaporates.
One of the most unpleasant signs of damp in the home, is the appearance of mould. Mould is a direct result of damp. It’s also one of the first signs that usually appears.
If you see mould, you should test for the presence of damp before the situation deteriorates. An easy test is to remove the affected area with household bleach and to see if the mould returns. If it does, it’s most likely a damp problem. The good news is mould is usually easy to deal with. It is often caused by poor ventilation and condensation issues. This is far easier to deal with than penetrating damp or rising damp.
Damage and deterioration of Skirting Boards
Signs of mould are usually not something to worry about too much. But some damp issues can be more worrying. For example, if you notice crumbling skirting boards, there could be a more serious underlying issue.
If you do find signs that your skirting boards are cracked or crumbling. This can be an indication of something more sinister beneath the surface. It is often the case that this type of damage will be caused by rising damp.
As damp builds up, it can affect wooden fixtures within the property. Skirting boards are generally the first things affected. This is because of their close proximity to the floor. The damp enters the wood and makes it soft and starts to rot. Exposure to damp over a long period of time is a concern. It can result in the need for expensive repairs and replacement work.
Another sign of damp in the home, is wallpaper beginning to peel away from a wall. Excess moisture builds-up. This causes the dried wallpaper glue to re-hydrate. The paper loses its bonding to the wall. As a result, the wallpaper begins to peel away. It is common for this to begin at the seams, where the wallpaper joins. Move furniture away from the wall to see if this is happening, as it will start low down.
What’s the Next Step when you find damp?
You might be fortunate that damp is the result of condensation. This happens when there is poor ventilation in a property. Simple steps can be taken to remedy this problem. These include installing an extractor fan or even opening windows regularly. Both can help to remedy the problem.
You can also use a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of moisture in the air. You can learn more about the best dehumidifiers to help with condensation here
If the issue is being caused by penetrating or rising damp it may need a more complex damp proofing solution.
For rising damp, a damp-proof course is the most common form of protection. This can be installed in the walls of a building, just above ground level, at the same point where the existing damp proof course has failed.
For penetrating damp, there many potential problems and solutions. You can learn more about penetrating damp here
Protection against damp is important. This is especially true in a country such as the UK, with such heavy levels of rainfall. If it is left untreated, you could be one bout of heavy rainfall from a much bigger problem.
If you are struggling to find the cause of damp, or if you don’t know the best solution, it is highly recommended, that you seek the help of a professional. The cheapest way to do this, is via a damp proofing comparison site.
In many cases, you will be able to get a free damp survey, and because you are comparing quotes, it tends to be much cheaper than going direct. We have seen discounts as high as 40% including free surveys.
Also, the tradespeople are rated, and you can read previous customer reviews.