Signs of Damp

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How to identify signs of damp in your house

The earlier you can identify signs of damp in your house then the easier it is to take action and prevent the problem developing further. Our guide will help you spot the signs of the most common types of damp like rising damp, penetrating damp, and condensation.

Damp can affect any building new or old, but typically it can be attributed to poor property maintenance, poor build quality, the use of low-quality materials, or the absence or failure of an existing damp proof course. If you spot any of the signs of dampness listed below and feel that you would benefit from professional help, contact our damp specialists or book a survey using the form below.

What causes damp?

The cause of dampness varies depending on the type of damp problem in your home.

Condensation is the most common form of damp. It is caused by a build up of warm moist air that settles on nearby walls and ceilings due to poor ventilation. Inadequate ventilation means that this air will condense and release its moisture onto these surfaces and if left untreated, will lead to mould.  

Other common causes of damp include moisture from below ground level or external walls finding its way inside the building. This is due to a lack of damp proofing or cracks or gaps in the properties structure, allowing moisture to seep through.  

What type of damp is in your home

It is essential that you know what type of damp is present in your house to correctly treat it, remove the excess moisture, and ensure that the source of the water ingress has been addressed. This will make sure that it will not return.

Below we have outlined the most common signs of the main types of damp. The following tell-tale signs of damp are the key indicators of each of the different types. However, even with this help and guidance, without the knowledge, experience and qualifications of a certified surveyor, it can be very difficult to accurately identify the exact cause of damp walls in your house.

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Signs of condensation in houses

  • Beads of moisture on cold surfaces like windows, tiles and cold walls
  • Increased humidity levels
  • The appearance of fungal black mould
  • Damp smells
  • Condensation that is left untreated can result in peeling plaster

Read more about the signs of condensation


Signs of penetrating damp in houses

  • Damp staining on external walls
  • Damp patches on internal walls or ceilings
  • Wet and crumbly plaster
  • Black mould isolated to one area

Read more about the signs of penetrating damp


Signs of rising damp in houses

  • Damp tide mark rising up to 1m from the skirting board
  • White salt deposits left behind on the plaster
  • Damp and stripping wallpaper
  • Decaying skirting boards

Read more about the signs of rising damp


How do I stop condensation?

The most effective way to stop condensation in your home is to ensure the property is sufficiently ventilated along with regulated heating. Failure to tackle excess ventilation will likely lead to the presence of mould in your home.  Simply wiping away mould is not an effective measure. This is because the mould will simply grow back if the root of the cause is not addressed.

Take the following steps in order to reduce the effects of condensation and the likelihood of mould.

  • Sufficient ventilation - Keeping doors closed and window opens will help excess moisture escape the property before it can settle on walls and windows. Extractor fans should also be used when cooking and showering. Extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms will stop moisture spreading around your home.
  • Reduce moisture levels - Everyday changes can reduce the amount of excess moisture in your home. Keep lids on pots and pans when cooking. Where possible, dry clothes outside or alternatively, use a tumble dryer.

How do I stop penetrating damp?

In order to stop penetrating damp, you must find the source of the water ingress and eliminate the source. Signs of damp symptoms will simply keep recurring if the cause of the dampness is not treated. Here’s some of most common source of entry:

  • Check for gaps or cracks in gutters and downpipes.
  • Check for signs of water ingress on your roof space such as wet timber.
  • Check for gaps or cracks in doors and window frames.
  • Check for ageing porous brickwork

How do I stop rising damp?

Rising damp is prevented by the installation of an effective damp proofing course which ensures that moisture from below the ground is blocked. If you have noticed signs of rising damp, this means there is either no damp proof course in place at the property or it is ineffective.

The most cost effective solution to stop rising damp is the installation of a chemical damp proofing course. This involves an injection into the brickwork, creating a water repellent barrier which will prevent moisture rising up through the bricks.

We would recommend contacting a damp specialist to ensure that any damp proofing course is installed correctly.

Signs of damp on external walls

  • Water marks on walls
  • Salt stains on walls
  • Moss or vegetation growing on the exterior of buildings

If you have noticed any of the signs of damp listed above in your property it is likely that you will need assistance from a professional damp treatment expert to get your property back to full health.

How to stop damp problems occurring in your house

For less severe or easily identifiable damp issues there are some DIY solutions that can help you get rid of damp stains and patches in your house. We have dedicated pages explaining simple measures you can take to reduce condensation and how to tackle penetrating damp by fixing the source of water ingress into the home.

Unfortunately, rising damp or more severe cases of damp are not so easily resolved and you will likely require the expertise of a qualified surveyor to accurately identify and diagnose the problem. If required then they will also be able to install a remedial damp proof course or other professional damp proofing treatment to resolve your damp problems.

Have you spotted signs of damp in your house?

If you spot any signs of damp on your property, you should contact Peter Cox to arrange a professional damp survey. Our damp surveyors will be able to identify the cause of your damp problems, and give advice on treatments and solutions.

Peter Cox was established in 1951 and has over 70 years experience in providing damp proofing solutions. We are the market leader in the repair and preservation of all types of property.

Call the experts at Peter Cox today to organise a damp survey from one of our specialists. You can also click the button below to book a survey.

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Next Steps

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