Let’s face it, we live in a rather wet country here in Scotland! This can wreak havoc when it finds its way into the home – causing damage and even health concerns. Rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation are the most common types of damp in the home, alongside general leaks. Identifying which type of damp you have is important as they all need to be treated differently, as outlined below.
The most common form of damp in the home, especially in the winter months when walls are cooler allowing condensation to form. Kitchens and bathrooms are the most prone rooms to gather condensation, so a good first step is including enough ventilation in these rooms. If condensation is a problem, you’ll notice water droplets on windows or walls and dark mould can also form, causing an unpleasant smell and which isn’t good for the health of occupiers either. Simple steps to ensure there is extra ventilation in any affected rooms, such as opening windows regularly, can really help, as do installing extra vents and extractor fans and using dehumidifiers. Other options include installing air bricks to your home’s exterior, roof ventilation tiles or window vents.
This is caused by groundwater moving up through the floor or wall, causing damage to skirting boards and plaster, peeling paint and wallpaper, damp patches on floors or floor coverings lifting. This can happen when there is lack of drainage or damage to the damp-proofing in a building’s foundations. It’s first worth checking whether you have damp-proof course and damp-proof membrane. Older properties are especially prone to damage to this or may not have had adequate damp proofing in place when built – houses built pre 1875 probably won’t as it’s only after then that regulations came in to make this compulsory. It can be expensive to fix, especially bad cases which may need professionals to come in to do repairs. They will usually drill holes into the exterior of your property and inject a damp-proof cream to act as a barrier to further leaks.
This is where water comes through walls and ceilings, moving horizontally across these surfaces. It’s usually caused by structural issues in a building, such as leaky roofs, cracks in walls or faulty guttering. Patches of damp will usually get darker when it rains, indicating it’s a source from the outside environment. Older buildings are more prone to this due to wear and tear, for example, Glasgow tenements can often face leaks, particularly top floor flats, so it’s important to keep on top of roof maintenance. Other causes could be internal leaks from pipes in bathrooms and kitchens. The source of penetrating damp will be near to any damp patches that appear – check nearby guttering, roof tiles, window frames and for any cracks in walls. As this will often be work up at a height, it may be safer to call in the experts to do checks and repairs safely and properly.