The Perils of Damp And How to Tackle Them

With the weather changing and temperature lowering, many homes and buildings will have apparent damp problems cropping up.

Unfortunately, damp is a very prevalent problem in homes and commercial buildings and its effects are especially glaring in cities where it’s cold most of the time or very humid. It’s a very worrisome phenomenon and most property owners and real estate agents dread dealing with property that has damp damage.

In order to deal with damp and its damage, it’s important to understand what it is and how it causes the damage it does. Without knowing what damp really is, no remedy will prove useful for longer than a short term period. So let’s get to it!

What is Damp?

Damp is the presence of too much moisture, water and condensation in a property. When the air of a certain home or building has too much humidity, it reacts with temperature fluctuations and construction material and makes its presence known.

Damp damage is also bound to show up in homes and buildings after a bout of heavy rainfall, a flood, snow and humidity if it gets too much. But that’s not all, it’s important to understand the types of damp to tackle the damage.

Common Types of Damp That Affects Homes and Commercial Properties

It’s essential to understand the common types of damp in order to deal with what’s going on. Let’s take a look!

1. Penetrating Damp

Usually a result of roof or plumping leakages or water dripping through a structure’s cracks, penetrating damp is a silent but horrible problem. It usually stains structures like walls and other nooks and crannies through which water can seep through and lead to problems like mold, decay and other hazards.

After investigating and solving the problem, affected areas have to be repainted and even repaired depending on the extent of damage caused by the penetrating damp.

2. Rising Damp

The rising damp is characterized by water flowing from the ground through the structure or foundation of a building. It usually affects the lower parts of the structures, staining upholstery, curtains, floorboards, bottom of the walls and at times, also windows. Usually, this is caused by a severe leaking or breakage of underground plumbing and by ground water wicking upwards, too.

To avoid the rising damp, it’s important to waterproof the area using materials like PVS and to install a barrier of some sort. In some cases, a chemical damp proof barrier is also added and the ground is also re-graded.

3. Condensation

Right out of middle school textbooks, condensation occurs when moist air comes into contact with a cold surface. Usually caused by poor ventilation and uneven indoor temperature, it mostly occurs in rooms like bathrooms, toilets, laundry rooms and even pantries. In some cases, mold and similar fungus can also cause condensation.

Condensation can be cleaned off using a solution made from mild bleach or even household cleaners. It also helps to dry the areas using dry fabric and clean off excess moisture whenever you see it.

4. Efflorescence

When water soluble salts migrate through the masonry and come into contact with air, they leave behind a white residue on damp surfaces known as efflorescence. Commonly occurring on bricks, concrete or clay surfaces, efflorescence keeps on occurring until the implicated surface is fully dry. It can also be caused by water ingress when water makes its way into a structure leading to a much larger fixing project.

Ironically, efflorescence can be cleared using water, but extra care must be taken to wipe the surfaces clean and to dry them to avoid the white patches from forming again. In the case of water ingress, the cause of that must be resolved, or efflorescence will keep on appearing.

The Consequences of Damp and Its Types

There’s no surprise as to how damaging damp can be, but did you know that besides structural damage, damp damage can cause other serious problems? Besides costing you money on repairs and


Mold is a kind of fungi that grows in damp and dark places. It has a fuzzy appearance and is black, green, brown, yellow or pink. Due to high humidity levels inside buildings, mold is commonly found on carpets, walls, basements, drywall and so on. It has an intense odor and also deteriorates the structural integrity of your home. If it isn’t cleaned up in time, it can become quite toxic.

Mold also impacts the indoor air quality of a building or home. It can cause various health problems like migraines, asthma, and bronchitis and in some cases, it can also cause athlete’s foot, allergic reactions and the Sick Building Syndrome.


Besides weather and time, moisture is also very damaging to various building materials like paint, wood and synthetics. When moisture levels rise, various areas of a home or commercial building are prone to decay, especially fixtures, like wooden floorboards, window frames and door frames.

Decay compromises on the integrity of these building materials, making it quite hazardous to have them around. Decay can loosen floorboards and door frames, posing a threat to safety. Besides that, decay is as bad as mold when it comes to air quality.

Decaying materials should be immediately replaced and the area should be treated with chemicals to remove any bacteria or pathogens that are causing the decay. It’s also essential to keep those areas dry in the future because like fungus, decay shows no discrimination when it comes to damage.

Devalued Property

Devalued property is a real estate agent or property owner’s biggest nightmare. Damp damage is indicative of faulty water transporting sources (pipes, reservoirs) and also makes way for potential buyers to believe that the said property has problems like weak foundation, degraded paint, mold and decay.

The property isn’t just devalued because its structure is weak. Damp damage is actually harmful and  property owners can end up with a high bill when it comes to maintenance. Repairing, replacing and treating areas of damp decay can be quite pricy, and not to mention the deteriorated living quality in such a property.

Damp damage is indeed a big nightmare for those working in the real estate business. It costs quite a lot to repair the damage caused by damp and to prevent it from happening again. Besides, these properties sell for less, which seems good at first, but as mentioned before, maintaining such a building or home can become quite a headache.

Increased Humidity Levels

Increased humidity levels are quite harmful. Turns out, those who have higher humidity levels in their property are always going to find instances of condensation, mold, chipping paint and faded floorboards.

Humidity can cause heat exhaustion, which is characterized by excessive sweating, dizziness and weakness. It can also provide ideal breeding grounds for mold, dust mites and mildew, exacerbate problems like asthma, allergies, fatigue, and also increase contact with harmful compounds in the air.

In other words, high humidity is a culprit and damp is one of its major causes. It’s essential to keep your home at optimal humidity levels to ensure that your health is at its best, keep health problems at bay and also reduce heating and cooling costs. Plus, properties that have high humidity levels have compromised structures and foundation.

How Can Property Owners Tackle Damp and Its Problems?

Wondering how you can tackle damp? Here are some foolproof tips to take care of the problem on your own.

Diagnose the Cause of Damp

It goes without saying that the first step to tackle damp damage is to diagnose the type of damp and where it is originating from. By finding the source of the damp, you’re able to figure out what kind of damp damage is taking place and how you can treat it.

It’s also wise to hire a professional to come take a look at your property because they’re well trained in diagnosing issues like damp and its source.

Use Alternative Building Materials

Various building materials allow water to permeate through them and also trap moisture. In the long run, these building materials can contribute to the damp damage that’s evident in your property. According to experts, it’s wise to use damp proof materials to build certain areas of your property, and it’s worth the investment.

For example, timber can be replaced with concrete, solid insulator walls can be used, drywalls can be further fortified with waterproof PVC and so on. Luckily, there are tons of building materials available that make your foundation and structure of your property waterproof and prevent damp. In fact, many people have replaced their damp damaged areas with these new installations.

Invest In Dehumidifiers

Investing in these contraptions has become quite popular as of late. Dehumidifiers help to add heat to the atmosphere, which evaporates the moisture. The air enters the contraption and warm air is blown out, which curbs the moisture problem in many homes.

Especially for smaller homes like commercial buildings or apartments, a dehumidifier is a sure way to make sure that indoor air has minimal moisture. Having this contraption also limits the spreading of pathogens and allergens, which cause respiratory and other health problems and also breed fungus and mold.

Implement Proper Ventilation

Many homes do not have proper ventilation. It’s important to cycle the air in your property to reduce the moisture levels and also expunge any stale air that contains contaminants and compounds, which are unhealthy.

Besides having spacious windows and outlets for air flow, homeowners and property caretakers should at least air out the rooms for fifteen minutes every day or keep a window open ajar at all times. Not only does this regulate the indoor air temperature, but it also helps to reduce moisture because of the natural air cycle.

Produce Less Moisture

This seems like a weird thing to do, but it really isn’t. Did you know that various activities we perform actually contribute to the moisture levels in our homes and properties? According to research, long hot steamy showers, not having vents in wet rooms, like in the bathroom, laundry and pantry, and not using lids while cooking can increase the moisture level, which can cause condensation and issues alike. Try to take shorter showers with the window cracked open, use lids while cooking, and also install vents in your kitchen, which can channel the steam outside.

Install Extractor Fans in Damp Rooms

Ever since they were manufactured, extractor fans have been a blessing in homes and buildings for driving out odorous air and smells. But did you know that these fans also double as air extractors? Available in various sizes, extractor fans help to remove the current air in the room, which can reduce the moisture levels.

Installing them in rooms like bathrooms, pantries, kitchens and even garages are a great way to keep indoor air humidity levels dry and to dissolve any breeding grounds for bacteria, fungi, mold and other growths. To preserve the integrity of your home and property’s structure and foundation and improve the quality of life within the property, it’s essential to deal with damp damage.


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