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What are the common damp proofing problems in buildings and properties? Understanding why damp exists and how to remedy it

Damp proofing is essential for your property, but homeowners need to go one step further and learn how to identify the risk factors and signs of damp.

Over 4 million UK properties were built during the Edwardian and Victorian eras – and any homeowner of one of these period buildings will know that unfortunately they require a lot of maintenance. Construction techniques weren’t as sophisticated in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and basic building regulations weren’t introduced until 1875, so damp proofing measures are sadly lacking in period homes. Nevertheless, even modern new builds can experience damp issues, so it’s important for homeowners of any type of property to be vigilant of the signs and risks of damp.

Rising Damp
Rising damp refers to moisture entering a property from the ground upwards. The condition will become apparent to the homeowner, if they see tidemarks on the bottom of their ground floor walls, usually no higher than a metre from the ground. You might also expect to see plaster and paintwork crumbling or bubbling, and an accompanying musty smell is typical.

This is often a problem in older homes that didn’t have a damp proof course built into the foundations during construction. Although in some cases, the initial damp proofing has worn away over time rendering it useless.

To remedy the existence of rising damp, professionals will be required to install a modern above or below ground damp proofing system. Any plasterwork that has been damaged can be replaced, and it may be necessary to include extra treatments for timber and woodworm for example.

Penetrating Damp
Although similar to rising damp, in that the moisture enters the building from outside, penetrating damp is often caused by faulty property maintenance, such as cracked tiles on the roof, broken guttering or burst pipes. It’s quite common to experience penetrating damp in the aftermath of severe weather such as a storm or unusually heavy downpour. As rainwater enters the building, whether suddenly or over a period of time, it can seep into brickwork, plaster and timbers and threaten the structural integrity of your home.

Signs of this particular type of damp are wet patches on your ceilings or walls, mould, mildew, spores and a musty odour.

If you discover penetrating damp in your home, then the first thing to do is start repairing the source of the problem whether that be the plumbing, gutters, pointing or cracks in the brickwork. If the damage is extensive due to an undetected ongoing issue and has reached the timberwork, then it’s important to call in damp proofing in Essex professionals for an expert analysis, which may include a thermal imaging survey.

Condensation
Condensation can also create damp but relates to moisture that builds up within a property due to imbalanced airflow conditions or a lack of ventilation. When humid air hits a cold wall, the vapour will turn into condensation which can then form the presence of mould. Extractor fans that are defective, attics with inefficient insulation, clothes drying on radiators or not opening the windows regularly can all cause condensation to form.

Condensation is likely to be present on cold, outer walls such as in a porch or a north facing wall. It can also be found in wardrobes or behind curtains, or closed blinds where condensation forms on the windows and the air hasn’t circulated effectively.

Condensation can be solved with some changes in living habits, such as heating colder rooms and opening the windows regularly. However, it might also be beneficial to look into more advanced condensation control methods such as installing a heat recovery or positive input ventilation unit.

With any type of damp, the sooner you act, the better the outcome will be for your property and your wallet. So, if you notice any signs such as mould or a wet patch in your home, now’s the time to call in the experts.

For more information visit https://protenservices.co.uk

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