Below is a small list of things everyone should do to help keep the home damp free. Following these simple methods will help prevent damp from becoming a problem in your building and also save on the costs of re-plastering & decoration if they go unchecked and unnoticed.
Your local authority should check your water mains for leaks without charge. Leaking water/drainage pipes is actually a major cause of damp in walls resulting in the wrongful misdiagnosis of rising damp.
Find and check your stop cock. This will stop it seizing and also help prevent further damage if a leak is present. Regularly check all guttering for signs of leaks, moss or plants growth. Many people never do this leading to build up or faulty gutters which then cause water to run down buildings or into roof space. (Penetrating damp)
Inspect around window frames.
UPVC – Make sure they are sealed properly around the edges with silicone.
Wooden- Suitable weatherproof coatings are best for these. Check the timber is in good condition. If soft this may indicate problems resulting in water being able to penetrate through to the inside.
Bath stone- Poorly maintained bath stone bay windows are prone to penetrating damp. This is widely misdiagnosed as rising damp on ground floors as water penetrates the cracks in the sills resulting in damp on the interior walls.
All immediate areas to perimeter of the building/outer walls should ideally be at 6 to 8in below
the inside finished floor level. Many homeowners will get new driveways, footpaths and patios laid without knowing this unwritten rule, this causes a huge number of problems with damp both penetrating and rising.
Check your roof.
Are the tiles and felt in good condition? Are there any dislodged ridge or hip tiles?
Make sure any flashings around chimney breasts are in a suitable condition. Also check that the chimney breast itself is ok.
External render finishes and pointing should be kept in good condition. Cracking or poor pointing can allow the passage of water no matter how small they may seem.
Make sure you have a suitable seal around all baths, sinks and showers. This is another minor job which can prevent major problems to surrounding plasterwork and walls. If not sealed properly water will leak behind and usually goes unnoticed until the build up causes big problems that need rectifying asap.
Keep rooms warm and well ventilated. Install or open trickle vents in windows. Install suitable extractor fans in bathrooms and utility rooms. Not putting clothes on radiators or constantly drying your laundry indoors all help reduce the moisture in the air which in turn prevents condensation.
(See our condensation page for more hints and tips on reducing condensation.)
Do you have damp patches in various spots? A simple detection method is to draw a pencil outline and make note each time it rains. Is the patch increasing each time it rains? If so then you have found the cause.
There are also the obvious signs that indicate you have problems. When you see water marks on walls or mould growing they won’t just simply disappear! They will most likely get worse with time and these indicate problems whether its rising damp or penetrating damp its needs addressing.
Don’t forget our surveys are free and we only advise on what needs to be done. We promise not to try and sell you anything at all or make a problem seem worse. That’s not how we work; we want to be known for our honesty, excellent levels of service and our continued communication with our clients.
We have some more pages with great detailed info for the home-owner on the different types of damp that occur.