Damp is a problem that can strike at any time and is something that can be difficult to get rid of once it does. The more established the damp is the more difficult it is to resolve the problem, so recognising damp early is important.
The Main Types of Damp and Identifying Them
There are three main types of damp, these are; rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation.
Rising damp, as the name indicates rises up from the ground and penetrates a building. Any part of a building that is in direct contact with water will act as a sponge. If a building is not properly protected, by a damp course that damp will eventually spread throughout the building. Rising damp typically manifests itself as damp patches on a wall. You will often see moss or lichen growing on a wall that has been affected by rising damp.
Penetrating damp occurs when a flaw in the fabric of the building allows water to enter from the outside. The damp that occurs when a roof leaks is a classic example of penetrating damp.
The third category of damp is condensation. A building that is not properly ventilated will become damp because condensation will occur and build up.
Basic Damp Prevention
Damp is caused by an excess of moisture. Good damp proofing pays dividends because damp can render a building inhabitable in just a few years. A building that is built to a good standard is watertight and properly ventilated will not be damp. Maintenance is very important. This means keeping the roof in good repair, checking and fixing problems quickly. Good quality guttering should be installed and maintained too.
Drainage is important. Installing a proper damp course is also very important. Basements and areas below ground level have to be properly tanked to stop moisture entering the building that way.
Gaps around doors and windows need to be plugged quickly. Cracks in walls should also be repaired as soon as possible to prevent moisture entering the building.
If a part of a building is in constant shade damp can become a problem. This is because this area of the building will never be properly dried out by the sun. Cutting back plants to prevent this is important.
Condensation is a very common cause of damp. Moisture is generated inside a building by cooking, certain heating systems, showers and many other processes and activities. For this reason, a building must be properly ventilated to stop condensation building up.
What to do if you already have Damp Problems
The best approach is to stop damp getting a hold by taking preventative measures. Once you have damp, it can be difficult to get rid of.
In most cases, if you have a damp problem you will need professional help to deal with it. You can repair a leaking roof, but working out how far the damp has spread is just as important and is something you are likely to need professional help with. If you simply carry out the repair and deal with the damp you see, there is a danger that the damp will remain in the building and continue to spread causing further damage.
Damp specialists usually also offer a full damp proofing service. This means that they are able to take steps to ensure that the building is protected from damp in the future.
Dealing with damp yourself normally works out to be a false economy. Firms that specialise in curing damp problems and protecting buildings from damp have access to specialist equipment that properly identifies the cause, and extent, of the problem.