types of damp

Which Kind of Damp is Affecting my Home?

Which Kind of Damp is Affecting my Home?

Damp in homes is a common problem that most of us come across at one time or another. Although, it may not seem like a big problem at first, damp in its various forms can wreak havoc if you do not take proactive measures.

Damp can lead to problems that can jeopardize the structural integrity of your home, and it can cause serious health problems. Most of us are aware that there are many types of damp. However, differentiating between them can be often tricky. The initial step of treating or preventing damp is to identify the kind of damp that is affecting your home.

Condensation, rising damp and penetrating damp are the three main types of damp in residential properties, and each requires different treatment. Let’s discuss each type in more detail:

Condensation

Condensation is the most common type of damp found in homes, and it occurs when hot air with high humidity levels cools down on the walls and other surfaces of the house. You can easily find condensation in rooms during winters like the kitchen and bathroom where the air has a lot of moisture and walls are generally cooler than the inside of the house.

The common symptoms of condensation are visible water droplets on windows, door glass, and walls. Also, an unpleasant moldy smell and dark mold can grow on the glass, especially on windows.

Poor ventilation and high humidity levels are significant condensation causes in homes. To solve this issue, you must install artificial systems to increase ventilation and decrease the moisture in the air. If condensation is left untreated, it can result in the growth of mold that destroys paint, plaster and wooden structures.

Penetrating Damp

Penetrative damp may become evident during and after heavy rainfall because it occurs due to moisture penetrating the walls through cracks or leaks in the wall, roof, faulty plumbing or guttering.

The signs of penetrating damp include dark patches on walls and roof that darken after rain or water exposure. These dark patches can expand horizontally.

Damp is common in older buildings as the modern style of wall insulation prevents moisture from getting insignificantly. However, if you have leaking pipes in sinks, then a newly built home can face this problem too.

Rising Damp

As the name suggests, rising damp rises from the ground and spreads up to the walls because it is caused by moisture that moves up from the floor through the walls. Rising damp occurs when the ground outside your home has poor drainage or retains too much moisture.

You can identify rising damp by the dark, wet marks that rise up the wall, damaging wall paint and leaving white powdery salt-like substance from the water. Rising damp starts from the ground and thus damages floors.

Modern building regulations require buildings to install damp proof course and damp proof membranes into the wall and floors, preventing damp significantly. The damp proof course is a plastic or bitumen felt strip that is built into the walls, whereas damp proof membrane is laid underneath the floor and is made out of waterproof material.


Basement-Conversion-Before

Professional Advice for Dealing with Damp

Professional Help & Advice for Dealing with Damp Problems

Damp is a common problem that should be identified and treated as soon as it gets a foothold in your house. Shockingly, damp problems can cause serious structural and health issues if left untreated. Fortunately, damp can be treated with a few simple steps that we will reveal in this guide.
One of the damp proofing and treatment specialists at Danford Brewer & Ives has shared his professional guidance for people dealing with the issue of damp in their homes. He holds years of experience in offering damp surveys and damp treatments to both commercial and residential properties. His vast experience has allowed him to gain professional insight into how people at home with little or no knowledge can treat various types of damp.

Expert Recommended Treatment for Condensation

Condensation is the most common form of damp and can also be the easiest to resolve. Condensation is caused when everyday actions such as cooking, bathing, washing and drying clothes create moisture in the air. The most common rooms for condensation to form in are the kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms.
The wet air will then target areas of cold surfaces such as windows and external walls. You can identify these areas by looking for blackish mouldy spots, water droplets on the walls and window glass, small puddles of water on windowsills and peeling paint.
There are many small and simple ways in which you can reduce condensation in your property, for example:

  • Ensure that each room has sufficient ventilation, such as opening windows and using extractor fans.
  • Ensure that the property is moderately heated. Without heat, the wall surfaces will become colder and attract further condensation.
  • Make sure that there is sufficient insulation within your loft space. Condensation will form on ceilings where cold spots are created through insufficient insulation.
  • Dry clothes outside. If you dry clothes indoors on radiators, then this will add moisture into the air. Also, if you use a tumble drier ensure it is either vented or a condenser tumble drier.
  • Keep all airbricks clear to allow air to flow around the property.
  • Keep furniture slightly away from the walls to allow air to pass around it.

If the above suggestions do not help improve the condensation issues you are experiencing, then other steps can be taken. Contacting a damp specialist means you will be offered the correct specialist solution to deal with the problem effectively, whether it is a Positive Pressure Unit, heat recovery humidity-controlled extractor fan, additional air vents, improved insulation, heating, or most likely a combination of these to find the correct balance.

Expert’s Recommendation for Damp Penetration

Penetrating damp is caused by water penetration in the walls. The most common reason behind this type of damp is structural issues.
It is vital that the cause of water penetration is dealt with before anything else is treated. Experts suggest checking for the following:

  • High external levels, built up paths or flowerbeds
  • Blocked & overflowing gutters
  • Broken, leaking downpipes
  • Running overflows from cisterns and tanks
  • Porous masonry (under-fired bricks, porous stone, porous mortar)
  • Cracks
  • Defective render & pointing
  • Unfilled joints and perpends
  • Defective seals around doors and windows
  • Holes in walls – e.g. where cables or pipes protrude

If you see blotchy patches with crumbling paint and plaster inside your property that is wet with mould and mildew growth, then, unfortunately, you are dealing with penetrating damp.
Ensuring that your property, especially older properties, is kept well maintained will help prevent penetrating water.
Treatment of penetrating damp can require stripping material back to the bricks, but it only happens in severe cases. Materials that are severely damaged must be removed and replaced. Do not merely paint over damp because it will not solve the problem from spreading further.

Experts’ Recommendation for Rising Damp Treatment

Rising damp is the common term for the slow upward movement of groundwater in the lower sections of walls. Rising damp can be a sign that your walls were not adequately protected from the moisture in the ground outside. It could be that poor drainage is a contributory factor, so it’s certainly worth checking for standing water in crawlspaces and basements. Rising damp has to be corrected as soon as possible because it can lead to severe damage to your house.
Signs of rising damp can include:

  • Tide marks/staining
  • Salting – white powdery substance
  • Peeling paint/wallpaper
  • Skirting boards becoming rotten
  • Plaster blowing/crumbling

To check and treat rising damp, it is essential that you enlist the help of a qualified reputable damp proofing and damp treatment company that can identify the cause of rising damp. These companies can come up with the most effective solution.
No one property is the same which is why Danford Brewer and Ives carry out a thorough damp survey on each property to identify the what the root cause of the damp is and provide a suitable treatment to fix the problem.  If you have a damp issue and would like a professional damp proofing company to take a look then contact DBI today and book a site survey with one of our certified damp surveyors.


Damp-Survey

Damp Surveys - What to Expect

What to Expect from a Damp Survey?

No one is looking for nasty wet surprises. Damp surveys ensure that there are no hidden surprises for you that might be causing major structural issues.

A damp survey is essential, especially when you are purchasing a new property. Once damp surveys are completed, a Damp Survey Report confirms whether a property is affected by damp or not. If yes, then it tells about what extent the property is damaged - mainly, the structure of the property.

As simple as it sounds, it might not be so simple. A simple damp survey can take about 1 to 4 hours. A surveyor usually examines a property physically before going to the next step and using specialised devices for damp detection.

The surveyor checks for indoor and outdoor flooring, wallpaper, floor lining, ceiling, gutters, downpipes, water lines, radiators, windows, and almost every single place where damp can set in. The surveyor makes notes of the findings. Sometimes, the surveyor might write down the conclusions of a few lines, but at times, there can be several paragraphs. The surveyor might also capture pictures of the damp damaged spots during a survey.

All of the data that is gathered by the damp surveyor is essential to make a damp survey report. A surveyor carefully stores every bit of information that he/she reveals during the physical examination of a property. Experienced surveyors are usually able to detect damp spots without the help of moisture detectors; however, if there are no signs of damp, a surveyor confirms it by using a moisture detector.

Sometimes, sellers purposefully try to disguise damp with fresh wallpaper and decorative items. Detecting damp might be too difficult in such cases; this is where surveyors take help of the moisture meter.

A damp survey does not only help understand the damage caused by damp, but a surveyor also points out the spots in the house that require immediate attention and damp treatment. The surveyor recommends measures to be taken for treatment of the damp damage. Also, it recommends whether or not professional help is required.

This is the reason that it is essential to ensure that a seller offers the latest damp survey report. Purchasing a property without a damp report can be a huge risk because you might end up buying a property that looks damp-proof; however, it might have severe damp issues that could lead to structural problems.

Overall, the damp surveys are essential for not only detecting damp damage but also help in figuring out the best ways to treat the damp damage. Also, the damp surveys can reveal how much it would cost to make your property damp-proof.

Even if selling your property is not on your mind, a damp survey is still essential, and is highly recommended; especially, if you live in an area that receives heavy rainfall and is prone to damp damage. Above all, the damp surveys help in ensuring that damp is not causing any structural issues to your property.

Danford Brewer & Ives are qualified and certified surveyors in structural waterproofing and remedial treatments.  All specialist works are covered by long term independent insurance backed guarantees.  If you are looking for a trusted company to carry out a damp survey then contact Danford Brewer & Ives today and book an appointment with one of our certified damp surveyors.


How-to-treat-condensation

What Causes Condensation?

What Causes Condensation?

“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” wrote Benjamin Franklin in 1789. For the purposes of this blog, it’s (very briefly) worth considering whether he dreamt up this line while gazing out of his study window on a warm summer’s morning. Because if he did so in the depths of winter, after noticing patches of moisture on the window’s sill, then he might have added another certainty to the list.
Is there a homeowner out there who hasn’t sighed when he or she opens the curtains and sees such a thing? Or perhaps spotted that wallpaper near a radiator – over which he or she casually drapes clothes to dry during the winter months – has started to bubble and peel.
Add plaster deterioration to the list and it’s clear that the consequences of condensation can be a pain. But when one adds the potential for the growth of bacteria and mould (which may cause respiratory problems) and even rot (which may, if left untreated, cause structural problems) it’s clear that consequences of condensation can – if left unchecked – be significant.
‘But what can I do?’ asks the owner. Well…exactly. Simply living within walls and under a roof creates condensation; the very act of breathing is a contributory factor, as are cooking, bathing, washing and drying clothes. Don’t worry, though: we’re not going to recommend that you always eat out, never bathe or do laundry – all the while holding your breath for as long as you possibly can.
Condensation is basically a dampening of the air until water gathers on cold surfaces such as windows, tiles and walls. And the colder the room, the worse it can be. Yet simple steps can help fight it. For starters, get hold of a dehumidifier and see for yourself how much water it can collect in a day.
Here are a few other ideas:

  • Temperatures might be on the low side, but that shouldn’t stop you from opening a window – if just a little – to reduce moisture
  • Wipe down surfaces, such as window sills, where moisture tends to collect
  • When cooking always use pan lids and open a window to ventilate the kitchen
  • When drying clothes, try and do it outside. But if that’s not viable (and, let’s face it, it isn’t quite a lot of the time) use a clothes horse rather than place clothes on a radiator. Better still, set up a dehumidifier nearby
  • If you use a tumble dryer that isn’t self-condensing, make sure it’s vented properly
  • When running a bath, turn the cold tap on before the hot; it’ll reduce the amount of steam
  • After bathing or showering, wipe down the tiles to remove the surface water. Then open the window and shut the door
  • When using extractor fans fitted in either the kitchen or bathroom, remember to close all windows and doors so they work more effectively
  • A temptation might be to switch the heating off to save money. However, heating set at a moderate temperature tends to be more cost-effective in the long run – while helping prevent condensation, of course
  • Always keep your house ventilated (even during the winter) and prevent the blocking of airbricks e.g. by leaves
  • Try not to place furniture against walls - particularly outside walls - as this prevents air from circulating freely and traps moisture

The war can never be won; it’s more a case of holding the enemy in check. But what if you’re losing the fight? Say you’ve bought a new property that does have damp and needs treatment?
Danford Brewer & Ives can help you. Damp is a tricky phenomenon to treat effectively – there are different types, misdiagnoses can happen and the wrong form of treatment can lead down a (potentially expensive) blind alley. However, we have the experience and nous to assess each and every situation and suggest an appropriate course of action.
Please contact us if you have any queries – whether it’s about condensation, damp, or any of the other building services we offer, such as timber treatment, basement conversions, extensions or building maintenance. As always, we’re more than happy to help.