How to Deal with Damp



The appearance of damp in your home is never a welcomed sight and can sometimes seem like a daunting task to tackle. Not only does it look very unappealing but also can cause problems with health and indicates structural issues. Fortunately, however damp can be easy to treat and prevent if handled correctly so there is no need to panic.

Where is the Problem?

The first step to dealing with damp is finding the route of the issue. There are different signs to look out for when checking for damp in different parts of a room. Check for these signals to see if you may have a damp problem.

Walls:

  • Cold or damp feeling when hand held against surface
  • Dark looking fungal growth/mould which can appear as black marks
  • Flaking Paint
  • Curling Wallpaper

Windows:

  • Heavy condensation/puddles of water
  • Black Mould especially on wooden/pvc window frames
Ceilings:
  • Brown/black patches in corners
  • Stained/discoloured patches
  • Brown patches near chimney breast

Furniture:

  • Black mould can grow on blinds, curtains, sofas
  • Cloudy condensation on wooden or plastic furniture

Cabinets/Cupboards

  • Musty smells
  • Staining and mould growth especially in inside corners

Why do I Have this Problem?

There are a few common causes of damp, most are easily avoidable so knowing them is key to prevention.

Plumbing

  • Old corroded/broken waste pipes
  • Dripping from newly fitted plumbing
  • Damaged seals around showers and baths (especially power showers)

Humidity

  • Humid air especially in kitchens and bathrooms condensing to form mould
  • Tumble Driers
  • Poorly insulated walls

Roof Holes

  • Missing tiles/slates
  • Worn out thatching

Window Sills

  • Windowsill grooves blocked with components such as paint causing rainwater to run directly down the wall below the window

Downpipes

  • Rusted iron-cast downpipes
  • Holes in the back of downpipes
  • Downpipes disappearing straight into ground, causing blockage

Guttering

  • Undersized guttering spilling water over the edge regularly
  • Water from leaking gutters splashing on walls
  • Leaking water tracks following roof timbers

Rising Damp

  • Less substantial/no damp-proof courses built into home foundations in older builds
  • Addition of modern plaster/windows/insulation trapping moisture in walls
  • Brick walls absorbing water from ground below

Vegetation

  • Climbing vegetation can harbour moisture and prevent walls from drying

How do I Fix the Problem?

Repairing damp can be a simple and quick process so follow these quick steps to banish your damp worries.

Damp Stains/Mould on Walls & Ceilings

  • Before amending the damp, you must first make sure the route of the problem is fixed. Using our previous steps, find the cause and fix it. With water damage, you must ensure that the affected area is dried out and well ventilated.
  • Now, cover the space with dust sheets and wearing safety glasses, carefully scrape off mould growths and sand down the whole area.
  • Next, apply a few coats of stain-block because this will give the surface a protective layer against the staining mildew. Once the second coat of this has dried, apply a coat of emulsion paint and leave to dry fully.

Rising Damp

With rising damp, it is often the case that no damp-proof course exists in the structure, so you should use chemical damp-proofing injected into the walls to fix this damp problem. The most effective way to treat rising damp is with a damp proofing injection cream. The cream is injected into specially-positioned holes in the mortar course and once inserted, the cream reverts to a liquid. It then penetrates the bricks and as it cures, creates a water-repellent barrier and a chemical DPC stops water rising up the wall.

HOW TO INJECT DAMP PROOFING CREAM:

  1. You must first prepare internally and externally before using the cream. You should begin by removing skirting boards, architraves and disconnecting radiators, to expose the brick work being treated. The rising damp will have left plaster damage, so it is crucial that you remove this damaged plaster before injecting the cream. You should remove the damaged plaster to a height on no less than a metre.
  2. After the preparation is complete, drill 12mm diameter holes horizontally into the mortar joint 150mm above ground level. Ensure that you always drill with a 12mm drill bit to a depth of 10-20mm from the opposite face and at 120mm centres. Do not drill directly into brick or stone, make sure you always follow the mortar joint line.
  3. Next, inject the damp proofing cream into the holes with a cartridge gun or low-pressure sprayer.
  4. Now, leave the cream to transform to its liquid state and penetrate the surrounding masonry. The silane lines the capillaries in the substrate and creates a water repellent barrier.

After these steps, the job is not complete. You will now need to completely re-plaster the internal area. You should try and leave optimum time between the injection of the damp proofing cream and the re-plastering to supply maximum drying time to have the best possible effects.

YOU MUST NEVER:

  • Apply the damp proofing cream into holes that someone else has already drilled
  • Inject with bridged cavity walls
  • Drill into brick, stone or unknown substances
  • Inject DPC where there is already an existing working DPC
  • Inject the cream if the mortar joint is poor quality. You MUST repair before starting the filling process

Condensation

Damp caused by condensation can be an easy problem to fix. Depending on the severity of the issue, simply opening a window could be the best fix or for more serious damp installation of vents or extractor fans is necessary. This is usually the case in rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom. In even more serious cases, use of a dehumidifier could be the best option.

Damp is an inconvenience at its lowest severity but can cause serious safety effects if left untreated so it is important to act on it sooner rather than later. Following our step by step guide, damp is easily treated and prevented but if you are unsure, it is always best to consult a reliable and professional company to help you resolve the problem.