How to Get Rid of Damp
Damp can be a real issue in many homes. It can often occur in many different areas and it can be hard to keep at bay once it appears. However, if left untreated, it can lead to the spread of mould. Not only does this ruin the look of homes and cause damage to your property, but it can also be very detrimental to our health.
So what’s the solution? Here at Build & Plumb, we’ve created a guide on how to get rid of damp for good.
What causes damp?
Before you can tackle getting rid of damp, you’ll have to know what causes damp in the first place.
Damp and mould appear for a number of reasons. Common causes are:
- Leaking pipes
- Rainwater coming through the roof
- Rain seeping around door and window frames
- Rising damp
Damp appears when there is too much moisture in the air that can’t escape. For example, if a home isn’t well ventilated, it can be caused by a steamy bathroom or hanging clothes to dry frequently. Damp can also appear if a home wasn’t built with adequate damp proofing or if a plumbing problem has allowed water into the walls.
The first thing you need to do to get rid of damp is to work out what the root cause is and deal with this head-on.
How to get rid of damp
Condensation is one of the leading causes of damp. It happens when warm, moist air makes contact with a cold surface, such as windows and walls. The moisture from the air sits on the wall and creates damp patches. That’s why it’s most commonly found in humid areas such as the bathroom, utility room and kitchen. For this reason, damp around windows is also very common.
How to deal with damp from condensation:
- Use an extractor fan in your bathroom and when you’re cooking.
- Open windows, especially when cooking, showering or hanging wet clothes.
- Add extra ventilation such as air bricks to affected areas of your home.
- Replace single-glazed windows with double or triple glazing.
- Use a dehumidifier to help remove moisture from the air.
A good tip is to monitor the humidity in your home by using a moisture meter. Ideally, the moisture in your home should be between 30 and 60 per cent.
Penetrating damp is caused by water entering your home through the walls, ceilings or the floor. This could be from a pipe leak, plumbing issues or cavity wall problems, and the damage is usually localised to a damp patch in one area.
How to deal with damp from water penetration:
- Check that there isn’t a burst pipe in the affected area.
- Make sure your downpipes and gutters aren’t leaking.
- If the damp is on a ceiling below the roof, check for tears in the roof felt.
- If you have damp around windows, check for any gaps in the sealant around the windowpane that could be letting water in.
If you’re not confident in checking your pipes, call a qualified plumber as soon as possible.
Rising damp happens solely on ground-floor levels, caused by the moisture from the ground travelling up into the walls. If you have rising damp, you’ll see a tide mark stain low on your wall.
Dealing with rising damp can be tricky and you’ll need the help of a professional to determine if it’s because of an issue with your damp proof course.
A damp proof course is an essential barrier designed to stop water from travelling up the wall and damaging your property. If your house is old, you may not have a damp proof course, or it may be faulty and water has moved through the barrier.
How to treat rising damp:
We recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified professional who will be able to assess the cause of the rising damp and provide the necessary damp proofing treatment.
Rising damp can be treated with a damp proof injection, which squirts a silicone-based liquid into the masonry of your wall to prevent water from travelling up. Damp proof membranes are also often used. These are placed under the concrete itself to block moisture from the ground. You can find both these treatments within our damp proofing range here at Build & Plumb.
How to clean mould off walls
Damp causes mould and mildew to spread in homes, which need to be treated quickly. Once you’ve determined the cause of your damp and know how to tackle the problem, you can work to remove the mould build up on your walls.
However, if you have an excessive amount of mould do not attempt to clean this yourself, as it can release a lot of toxic spores into the air. Only use this method if you have a small patch to deal with.
To clean mould from walls:
- Open your windows to provide ventilation.
- Mix one part bleach with three parts water in a spray bottle.
- Spray this onto the affected area, and wipe the mould with a cloth. Don’t use a brushing motion, as this can realise the mould spores into the air.
- Use a dry cloth to remove any leftover moisture from the wall to prevent more mould.
If the mould is removed and you’re left with stains, you can give your walls a fresh lick of anti-mould paint, but only if you’re sure you’ve tackled the cause of the mould problem, otherwise this will just mask the issue.
Identifying the cause is imperative to understanding to get rid of damp in your home. Getting rid of damp can be tricky, but remember to keep your home well ventilated, well insulated, and check with a qualified professional to make sure there isn’t a larger problem than condensation at play.