Is Your Home Under Attack from a Damaging Invader?
Damp can lead to health problems and expensive damage to your home. Do you know how to spot the warning signs before it is too late?
Ask any builder and he will tell you that water can sometimes be one of his biggest enemies. Like the world’s most persistent cat, it seems to have an almost supernatural determination to find its way into your home, and if there is even a miniscule gap, it will be in before you know it.
If your house is suffering from damp, there is clearly unwanted moisture coming from somewhere. Finding its source and then coming up with a solution is difficult enough, which is why most people in the city simply type damp proofing London into Google and get an expert along to deal with it. It’s a wise course of action, but one that you can only take if you are aware of the problem in the first place.
If a home has a severe damp problem, it is obvious enough. However, when it reaches that stage it can be complicated and expensive to put right. The key is to spot the first signs of damp and take immediate action to prevent a big headache further down the line.
Tell tale signs
Here are some of the most common signs of damp that you might experience within a house:
- That distinctive, musty smell – it is hard to describe, but quite unmistakable.
- Excessive condensation – if your windows are soaking wet and there are puddles on the sills each morning, something is not right.
- Cold, damp walls and ceilings.
- Mould or mildew forming – this is not always on walls, it could be on the ceiling or even the floor.
- Dark or discoloured patches forming, either on the walls or plaster.
- Peeling wallpaper.
Types of damp
Broadly speaking, a damp problem will be in one of two categories. Penetrating damp moves horizontally across the wall or ceiling and is usually the result of ingress due to, perhaps, a damaged roof tile or even a leaking pipe. Rising damp, on the other hand, moves up the wall vertically from ground level.
If you think you might have a rising damp problem, there are some specific clues that you can check for. As it starts low, skirting boards are often affected, so check these for damp or signs of rot. The same applies to floor coverings, which might be soggy, smelly or lifting. You might also see the formation of a white, powdery substance on the wall.
Look outside, too
If you have a problem with penetrating damp, it is most commonly caused by damage somewhere, such as a broken piece of guttering, a missing roof tile or even a crack in the wall. Look closely in the suspect area from the outside to see if you can see anything amiss.
It is also possible for old bricks to become porous over time, and to let water in. Be on the lookout for dark patches on the outside walls.
What to do
The above tips will help you to identify if you have a problem with damp, and maybe even its probable cause. At this point, it is best to call in the experts. Correcting a damp problem and preventing its recurrence is a specialist job, and DIY solutions are more likely to merely mask the problem in the short term, storing up even more trouble for later.