Damp is a nightmare for most homeowners. Not only is it unsightly and inconvenient, there is that deep fear that it is also going to cost a fortune to fix. There are three main types of damp; over the last couple of weeks we have already looked at rising damp and condensation. This week, we are focusing on penetrating damp; what it is, and how you can fix it.
What is penetrating damp?
While rising damp is water soaking up from the ground, and condensation is water from the air in the house collecting on cold walls and windows, penetrating damp is caused by water getting into your house from the outside. Usually, penetrating damp is a sign that there is a structural problem with your home; anything from a broken gutter or missing tile, to more serious roofing and rendering problems.
Identifying penetrating damp
If you notice damp patches on walls, ceilings and floors that aren’t mouldy, and which don’t meet the ground, it is most likely to be penetrating damp. Sometimes, the patches can grow bigger or darker when it rains – this is a clear sign that, somehow, water is finding its way into your home.
Dealing with penetrating damp
Penetrating damp isn’t necessarily a serious problem, but like many home maintenance issues, the longer you take to deal with it, the more the problem will grow. If left unchecked, penetrating damp can cause serious structural problems, which could be time consuming and expensive to fix (not to mention messy). So, don’t put it off – if you notice damp, get in touch with a damp specialist who will advise you on the best cause of action.
The first thing that you need to do is identify the cause of the damp. If it is the roof or ceiling, pop outside and see if you can see anything amiss on the roof. If it is high up in a wall, check out the guttering. Does it get worse when it rains? These are all hints that will help a damp specialist or builder to pinpoint the spot where the water is coming in.
Once you have identified the source of the leak, you need to find out how to fix it. Your damp specialist may well recommend a builder or roofer to look at the problem; if this is the case, it is a good idea to go with the recommended tradesperson, but to get a few quotes, too, so that you have an idea of the costs involved.
Once the repairs have been done, you should be drip and damp patch free! You may need a dehumidifier to completely dry out the plaster, after which you can decorate over the patch; you’ll never know it was there!