Damp might sound simple enough and it does have a pretty simple meaning. Damp literally is the presence of unwanted moisture in the structure of a building. This can be caused by condensation from within the building itself or it could be the result of an intrusion from outside the building. Sounds relatively simple doesn’t it? And it most cases finding the cause of your damp and getting the right treatment underway is usually relatively simple. However, this isn’t always the case.
Because damp can be caused in a variety of ways and can cause a multitude of problems, no two cases of it are going to be exactly the same. There are many different aspects of damp you’ll have to consider before devising the best cause of treatment for it.
While this might sound like a headache this can in some ways be helpful because not all types of damp share the same features. So by examining the aspects of the damp carefully you’ll be able to work out the cause and type of the damp.
The Many Aspects of Damp
There are four primary types of damp, each with its’ own distinguishing features. Unfortunately each type of damp doesn’t necessarily always work solo. Meaning that it’s very possible to have a mixture of different variants of damp affecting to your home or workplace. However, since there is no single remedy that can treat all types of damp, working out which type of damp (or types of damp if you’re really unlucky) is still a necessary step.
So let’s take an in-depth look at each of the four main types of damp.
1) Condensation Damp
This variant of damp is caused by warm air containing water vapour being cooled. This cooling can occur when the air comes into contact with a cool surface, or it can gradually lose heat in cool surroundings. As it cools, the air can no longer hold as much water vapour and the excess will transform back into its liquid state and leave the air as water droplets.
The main features of condensation damp are: black patches of mildew starting to develop on affected surfaces, clothes taking on a musty odour, wallpaper starting to become loose and feel damp to the touch, and water droplets being visible on effected surfaces. If left untreated mould will also likely start to develop.
2) Rising Damp
This variant of damp is caused by moisture rising up through the ground beneath your home or place of work. The moisture will continuously rise into floors and walls of the structure often to height of up to 1metre. The moisture evaporates from the wall and it is replaced by more moisture from the ground, and so the cycle continues.
The main features of rising damp are: wallpaper becoming stained and the plaster affected by white salt crystals, skirting boards and timbers may start to rot. It will only usually affect ground level rooms but wooden floors bearing into the walls may start to rot.
3) Penetrating Damp
This variant of damp is caused when the rainwater or damp from high ground enters your home through the walls. The main features of penetrating damp are: stains to the walls and ceilings outlining the affected areas, plaster will take on a perished or uneven and a powdery like surface and it can also cause wood rot to any timbers in contact with the wet ceilings and walls.
4) Damp from Ground Salts
This variant of damp is caused by contamination of your plaster with hygroscopic salts. The salts absorb the moisture from the air. Contamination can occur at any time for a variety of reasons – perhaps a failure of the existing damp proof course in the wall over time – and can even have been caused by contaminated of the walls and plaster when the home or structure was first built.
The main features of damp from Ground Salts are: stains that typically grow in size over time and only appear on plastered surfaces. (Also, the intensity of the patches can vary with outside weather conditions).
Treating the Various Kinds of Damp
So now we’ve outlined the features of the various kinds of damp, how do you go about treating each variant? Because as I’ve already said there’s no one single treatment for all variants of damp you’ll need to go about treating each variant of damp differently – and you can read more about our damp proofing treatment service in other sections of our site.
1) Treating Condensation Damp
There are many ways to treat condensation damp and in many instances it is best to use a variety of the treatment methods. All the treatment methods aim to reduce the amount of condensation in your home.
Simple things like closing bathroom and kitchen doors to stop steam entering colder rooms can be a big help. You can also make sure to wipe down surfaces that have attracted moisture, and if you have the money you could also consider using a dehumidifier or a policy of Whole House Ventilation using the latest Condensation Control equipment.
If mould has already started to form then you should attempt to remove it using hot water (use water only not washing up liquid) and then treat the infected area with fungicidal wash.
2) Treating Rising Damp
There are various ways to deal with rising damp, but the first step is to identify the cause. For example if the rising damp is being caused by a blocked cavity wall then you’ll need to remove the debris that is causing the block.
However, you might also find that the damp proof course (DPC) in your cavity walls may be beyond repair – in cases like this you’ll have no option but to replace them and install new ones. Replacing your DPC can be done on your own using gels and pastes you inject into the walls, or you can hire a ‘specialist’ to fully replace the DPC in a proper and professional manner, with guarantees for when you sell your house, that you won’t get if you do the work yourself.
3) Treating Penetrating Damp
Like we’ve already seen with the other variants of damp, the first step in treating penetrating damp is identifying the cause. If the damp is being caused by obstructions in your guttering or pipes it might be as simple as simply clearing the blockage.
However, it may also need more technical treatments if your rendering is cracked or in a state of disrepair then you’ll need to reseal your windows frames or possible even replace them.
Porous masonry can be treated by a ‘specialist’ to repel rainwater
4) Treating Damp from ground salts
Treating damp from ground salts may sound like a difficult task but it can be accomplished following similar principles to treating rising damp. Installing new DPC’s and using special salt retardants are the best way of ensure ground salts are removed – although any plaster that has been affected should be replaced during the course of the treatment.
To discuss your damp problems or to arrange a consultation please get in touch with your nearest office of Peter Cox Property Services here https://www.petercox.com/regions.php or you can also call 0800 789 500 to talk to the experts and we’ll send a surveyor with local knowledge of your area.