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Whether you live in a studio flat or a five-bed country home, damp affects properties here, there and everywhere and can prove to be a real headache.
Finding it in your home can be incredibly frustrating and will often raise concerns over the potential costs involved to resolve the issue.
It can be all too easy to jump to conclusions and think the worst, after all, questioning if you’ll need to install a new damp proofing course, how it’ll affect your health and whether you’ll need to source alternative accommodation while it’s being fixed.
Put simply, it’s important to get on top of damp before it becomes a larger issue. And, to do that most effectively, there are a variety of DIY techniques you can utilise to keep its threat at bay.
We’re here to run through a few of these ideas in this article, highlighting exactly what you should do to prevent damp or mould from infiltrating your property.
However, before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to combat damp, it's important to first understand what causes it and the different types of damp you can get:
Rising Damp. Caused by dampness rising from the ground and being drawn up the wall through capillary action, this form of damp is particularly common in old buildings where damp proof courses haven't been fitted or a pre-1910 property with a now deficient damp proof course. Its typical signs include black deposits on the walls or ceilings, peeling paint, a musty smell, warped wood and a 'sweaty' feeling on walls.
Penetrating Damp. This form of damp is commonly associated with poor maintenance, generally related to defective gutters, cracked or missing render or poor pointing. Typical signs of its presence are similar to rising damp and include green/black deposits on walls or ceilings, peeling paint, a musty smell and a 'sweaty' feeling to walls.
Damp is typically caused by condensation, which is why it normally becomes more of a problem over the colder winter months; as the temperature starts to drop, condensation rises, creating moisture.
However, while condensation may be the major cause of damp, the problem can also be brought on in a number of other ways – whether it be a missing roof tile, an insufficient damp course, a leaking pipe or window frame, or a blocked gutter.
Therefore, before getting started on any of the DIY techniques listed below, you will need to identify the likely cause of your property’s damp. Otherwise, you could end up focusing your time, effort and money in the wrong areas.
Many properties will already have a damp proof course fitted in any areas where damp currently is – or has been – problematic.
However, over time, these courses can become deficient and less effective than they were when they were originally fitted. So, as a starting point, it's generally a good idea to check on any existing damp proofing courses you have in your home.
In doing so, this could even identify other issues like asbestos – a high potential health risk you’ll need to remove – if you haven't had your damp proof course checked for more than a decade.
While on the topic of damp proof courses, as you’re checking it, why not fix it at the same time to ensure it carries on working effectively?
Using a specialist chemical you can pick up from your local B&Q, Wickes or other trade dealership, you simply need to inject this liquid at the same level of your existing damp course.
This, in turn, will create a water-repelling layer in your wall, floor or ceiling which will then stop damp from being able to penetrate through.
As we’ve mentioned previously, damp can be caused in a number of different ways. So, one of the easiest techniques to avoid it becoming an issue is simply through regularly checking your home for leaks or any potential faults.
If there has been a recent storm, for instance, check your roof for any loose tiles. Likewise, make sure there aren’t any blockages in your gutter or any overflow regions of water forming across your property.
Then, if you notice any areas in need of attention, sort them sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you could end up making the issues a lot worse in the future.
Since damp is often caused by poor ventilation and the creation of moisture, it’s important to keep an eye on how well ventilated your property is – and no, that doesn’t mean you need to keep your windows open 24/7.
By investing in a dehumidifier, tumble dryer or simply covering your pans while you cook, this can significantly reduce the spread of moisture around your home, limiting the likelihood of damp forming.
Similarly, keeping your property nice and warm could help a lot as well. Since condensation typically occurs when warm, moist air comes into contact with a cold surface (i.e. a window), by maintaining your home at a constant temperature, this will avoid sudden temperature dips and rises taking place, limiting the likelihood of condensation developing.
Since damp is such a common issue throughout properties in the UK, moisture-resistant paints and wallpapers have been developed to combat the issue.
These products are specifically designed to resist moisture and steam meaning they'll not only keep damp at bay, but they'll also be easier to clean as well.
Therefore, if your bathroom, kitchen or utility room have seen better days, it could be worth giving them each a repaint to avoid moisture build-up becoming a problem in the future.
Damp can be a right nuisance to find in your property but it’s no longer the be-all-and-end-all it once was.
By following the advice listed above, you can help keep it at bay, improving the look and feel of your home both now and in the future as well.
Dwell Well with Moving and Improving