Damp and mould are routine problems in the UK, particularly in the winter. Condensation – often caused by poor ventilation and heating – leads to these conditions and is very common. It happens when warm air condenses on cold surfaces such as walls and windows, which can lead to mould and stains.
Other culprits include gutters, overflows, leaking pipes and chimney stacks, defective window sills and water penetrating from outside.
Rising damp is linked to failed damp-proof courses. It happens when water enters a building from the ground. Look out for stained and decayed floors, skirting boards, paint, plaster and wallpaper.
Penetrating damp is when water comes in from outside and permeates the walls. Beware defective pipes and guttering, poor pointing and rendering.
– Wipe down windows and sills each morning using a soapy cloth followed by a dry one.
– Cover pots when cooking, and shut the kitchen door.
– Keep the bathroom door closed and open the window when showering.
– Install extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom.
– Open windows for at least 15 minutes every morning.
– Maintain a steady, warm temperature in the house in winter.
– Consider cavity wall or loft insulation – consult an expert.
– Consider fitting double or triple glazing.
– Hang clothes outdoors to dry or place a dehumidifier close by. A tumble drier will generate steam and moisture.
A surveyor might suggest a new damp-proof course (a water-repellent barrier) for rising damp.
To banish penetrating damp, replace or repair your gutters and ensure that you unblock your window sill drip grooves.
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