Damp is caused by the presence of water in spaces where it is not desired, such as within walls and underneath floors. Damp can lead to a variety of health and structural issues, so it’s important to eliminate the source before it becomes an issue. So, What should you do before buying a house with damp?
Step 1: Figure out if you have damp
Damp can be identified through signs such as moisture stains, condensation on windows or walls. If you notice peeling paint, swollen woodwork or plaster, or a musty odor, damp is more than likely the culprit. Damp can affect interior and exterior walls and floors. The first step to eliminating damp is to identify if you have it in your home.
Step 2: Identify the source of the damp
The next step is figuring out what is causing the damp. The two most common causes of damp are condensation and rising damp.
Condensation occurs when warm air meets cold surfaces. This causes water to form on the surface, as seen in kitchens with gas stoves or showers. In bathrooms, moisture from showers and baths will condense on the walls because of cold tile or due to the use of humidifiers.
Rising damp occurs because of compromised building materials such as bricks or mortar. Over time, these materials will deteriorate, allowing water to enter the structure.
Step 3: Eliminate the source
Once you’ve determined what’s causing the damp, it’s time to eliminate the source. For example, if it is condensation caused by a gas oven, you should turn off the stove and insulate exposed areas of the wall with something such as thick towels. Choose a different type of paint for your bathroom walls and have the area behind the wallpaper professionally treated.
Step 4: Clean up mold and mildew
Mold and mildew is a common problem in damp areas. If you have identified the source of the damp, now it’s time to eliminate mold and mildew. To eliminate mold, scrub any remaining residue with a solution of diluted bleach (1 cup bleach per 5 gallons of water).
Step 5: Seal the cracks
Cracks in exterior walls, floors and ceilings don’t pose a health threat if they are sealed, but should be repaired before any damage occurs. Completely patching holes or cracks with mortar or other masonry materials will prevent leaks. In bathrooms with shower trays, condensation occurs when moist air reaches cold tiles on a shower tray. If this is the case, install rubber seal strips on the bottom of the tile to prevent moisture from reaching the floor below.