Damp problems can be a serious concern in any home, whether you are a home-owner or renter, or living in any style of property. At best it can be a nuisance and make a room feel cold, unwelcoming and unhealthy, and at worst it can indicate structural or weatherproofing issues.
Trust me I know all too well about damp.
When we bought our house we didn’t do an internal survey. It’s an old house so we figured there’d be things that needed fixing and changing, so why spend a couple of grand for someone to tell us what we could find out ourselves? Well, we would of found out about the serious damp issue and leak in the kitchen and ask them to deal with it before we completed.
You live and you learn.
If damp goes untreated you may find yourself with a hefty bill to replace the damage, from re-pointing to replacing skirting boards – if this is the case, try using ovolo skirting boards for easy installation and longevity.
Fortunately, damp can often be treated and prevented without calling in the professionals. There are easy signs to keep an eye out for that might indicate a problem. Here are some helpful tips and advice on how to spot and prevent damp.
How to spot damp
On your walls: Hold your hand against the wall, does it feel very cold or damp? Look for signs of mould or fungal growth which will appear as black speckled marks or grey growths on painted walls, woodwork and wallpaper. Flaking paint or curling wallpaper can also be an indicator.
On your ceiling: As well as looking for signs of mould, pay close attention to the colour of the ceiling. Is it discoloured or stained in areas? Brown patches in the external corners and near chimney breasts can indicate damp.
Windows: Condensation on windows in the morning, along with small puddles of water along window sills, can indicate high moisture levels within your house. This can be both a cause, or symptom, of damp.
Bathrooms and kitchens: Inspect the grouting and sealant for signs of black mould. Check around window frames and on ceilings for similar damage.
Furniture and soft furnishings: Black mould can grow on the inside of curtains, blinds and on upholstered surfaces such as sofas. Check the back of furniture for specks of mould and also for cloudy condensation on wooden and plastic surfaces.
How to prevent it
Keep on top of outdoor home maintenance
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to damp problems. Check your roof regularly for damage, especially after winter storms. Keep gutters clear and fix or replace as soon as any damage occurs.
Keep the house warm
Try to maintain a constant temperature within your home by setting your thermostat to a lower temperature, but over a longer period of time each day.
Double-check that washing machines and tumble dryers are plumbed in and vented correctly. Install an extractor fan in bathrooms and kitchens. You could even use a dehumidifier. We have one to help with the damp in our cellar and it really makes a difference.
Avoid making moisture
Dry laundry outdoors on a rotary drier or use a tumble dryer whenever possible. If you can use an energy efficient tumble dryer.
Pans on the stove, as well as kettles, can produce considerable amounts of steam and moisture. Covering pans with a lid whilst cooking will help to minimise condensation on your kitchen windows. Switch on your cooker hood when using the hob, and leave on for five minutes once you’ve finished to help clear the air. My other half is always complaining that I don’t switch the extractor fan on when I’m cooking. Oops.
So those are just a few tips to help with the prevention of damp in your home. Like I said it’s something we’ve struggled with, but we do have under control.
We also use a specialist map pain on the worst areas. You can buy a seal or anti-damp paint which would also help with the spreading of the moisture.
You can read more of my home improvements posts here.