Is your home suffering from Damp? What causes Damp?

Example of damp wall
  1. Poor ventilation
  2. Not enough heating in rooms
  3. No insulation in walls (usually in older homes)
  4. Rain penetration through cracked walls, leaking roofs and windows
  5. Water soaking up through walls and floors
  6. Damp clothes, cooking, and bathrooms.

There are 3 common causes of damp:

  1. Condensation
  2. Rising Damp
  3. Penetrating Damp

How do you determine the difference between them in order to rectify the problem?

Condensation is formed when warm air full of moisture comes into contact with a surface such as walls or windows that are colder. The warm air is unable to retain the same amount of moisture and the water is then released onto the cold surface. This can be caused by day to day activities such as cooking, washing, heating, drying clothes and even breathing. It is the most common form of dampness and can lead to mould growth. If not dealt or treated correctly can lead to unsightly black mould growth and lead to musty smells that can aggravate or trigger health problems such as asthma. You can help prevent condensation by trying to keep the inside temperature of your home at constant, not drying clothes over radiators, using extractor fans in your kitchen/bathroom and ensuring there is proper ventilation if using a tumble dryer.

Rising Damp is caused by groundwater rising up bricks and mortar soaking up through walls and floors, in simple terms the same way water is soaked up by a sponge. Rising damp commonly occurs due to the failure of a damp-proof course (DPC) or even the absence of a DPC. Visible signs of rising damp on internal walls include; dark patches/staining of walls, ‘salty’ white patches on walls, peeling wallpaper, bubbling paint, crumbling plaster, rotting of wood.  You may even notice a musty smell in your room(s). In order to resolve the issue of rising damp the source of the damp must be located and then a DPC is more than likely needed to be installed. The interior of your property can then be correctly repaired and redecorated.

Penetrating Damp is caused by water penetration from the exterior of your property either through cracks in the brickwork or gaps in the outside wall. It can also be caused by defective guttering, leaking/cracked pipes, roof damage, plumbing issues or even gaps in the window frames. Visible signs of penetrating damp on the interior of your property will be random blotchy damp patches on walls, damaged plaster, rotting timber, black mould growth. Again you may notice a damp musty smell in the room(s) that are affected. As like any type of damp untreated, it can lead to health problems or cause exacerbations of any ongoing health issues. In order to resolve the issue of penetrating damp the source of the damp again must be located before any works / treatments can be done to fix this. Once the defects have been fixed, you can then correctly repair any damage on the inside of the property.

If you are tenant of a housing association or council and your property is suffering with any of the above, you can seek legal advice by contacting CEL Solicitors who specialise in Housing Disrepair claims on a “no win, no fee” basis.