What Types of Damp can Affect a Home?

While the word “damp” can be alarming for a homeowner, the risks of damp can be severely reduced when identified early and when addressed correctly.

Since there are different kinds of dampness in the home, our team hopes to offer you a guide to identifying the dampness in your home so you can find the correct treatment.

You will find below the most common kinds of damp that can affect your home.

1) Condensation

Condensation in the home

Condensation is also referred to as environmental humidity. This dampness arises from normal, everyday activities like washing dishes, cooking, showering, and running cycles on the washing machine or dryer.

These activities create condensation. With proper ventilation, the condensation is removed from the home. However, improper or no ventilation can cause this condensation to rest or build.

As the water vapor builds, mold can begin to build on the walls, ceiling, crown moulding, or baseboards.

Condensation occurs when the air inside is warmer than the air outside. As the warm air touches the walls, which are cooled by the outside, the air condenses and forms water droplets.

Condensation is a common type of dampness in the home. It can often occur or become visible in damper rooms, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.

Condensation shows very visible symptoms. There can be water droplets, fog, streak marks, moisture, or mold on the walls and/or windows.

If condensation is not treated, the water vapors can cause paint or wallpaper to peel. Pictures can begin to curl or warp. Condensation can also be detected by a moldy, damp smell.

Extreme and untreated environmental humidity promotes the growth of fungi and mold. It also promotes an increase of mites.

This type of dampness can be more prevalent in the winter because there is a stark difference between the air temperature inside and outside of the house. Therefore, we suggest you be particularly vigilant about the humidity in your home during the winter.

Condensation has become more of a concern because energy-efficient homes tend to be more air-tight and less breathable than older houses or houses with chimneys.

2) Capillary Rising Damp

Rising damp

Capillary dampness, which is also called rising damp, is another type of damp we suggest you watch for in the home. This type of dampness moves up from the foundation through porous material like bricks or joints.

The water rising through the foundation can be caused by heavy rain water that is sitting stationary under the home, or it can be caused by moving water.

If there is minimal or insufficient drainage outside of your home, then you are at a higher risk of rising damp.

Homes have structures called damp-proof courses and damp-proof membranes to prevent water from damaging the floors and walls. If there is a problem with these structures, then you may experience rising damp.

As this dampness rises up from the foundation, it then evaporates in the walls.

Signs of rising damp include damaged plaster, peeling paint or wallpaper, white patches or powder on the wall, wavy water marks on the wall, or rising floor coverings/boards. The marks on the wall can be damp, and they are sometimes darker than the rest of the wall.

Like condensation, you may smell mold or mildew. Since this is a sign of both condensation and rising damp, our team suggest you look for a variety of signs or symptoms to better figure out which kind of damp you have in your home.

From the symptoms, it is clear that this kind of damp can cause significant damage to your home. It is important that you treat this damp before it causes further, and more costly, damage to your home.

This kind of damp can cause the foundation and walls of the home to decay or become unstable. It will also become more costly to heat the home in the winter.

3) Penetrating Damp

Penatrating Damp

Penetrating damp is caused when water leaks through the walls. Penetrating damp can originate form basements or attached garages.

This can be more prevalent in homes built below ground level. This damp can also be a result of leaky roofs, insufficient or leaky gutters, cracks in the walls, or other structural issues. These issues cause water to pass into the walls after they experience rain or forms of water.

Signs of penetrating damp can include dark and damp patches on the wall either inside or outside, wet plaster, bubbles forming in the plater or on the walls, and walls that have visible mold.

This kind of dampness is particularly concerning, since it is usually a structural issue or insufficiency that causes the problem.

Penetrating damp is also referred to its most common form as lateral damp. This is because the moisture or water moves laterally from the outside to the inside.

4) Lateral Damp

Lateral Damp

Lateral damp is very similar and can look similar to rising damp, and it is considered under the umbrella category of penetrating damp. Rather than dampness rising up from the foundation, lateral damp enters from outside the wall.

Unlike rising dampness, which is seen rising from the floor, lateral dampness can appear at any location on the wall.

Signs of this kind of damp are also dark patches on the wall. These patches can also appear on the ceiling, crown moudling, or the baseboards. The wall may be damp to the touch, and in extreme cases there may be spores.

These can be concerning because lateral dampness can erode the stability of the building and if it penetrates the wall far enough, it can pose risks of short-circuiting wires and causing fires.

Walls that are exposed to more elements, such as heavy rain, are likely to be more affected. Be sure to inspect these walls often both inside and outside of the home.

You may need an expert to help you discover the roots cause of penetrating or lateral damage. This damage can be caused by damaged pipes, missing roof tiles, ill-fitting doors, eroding windows, gaps bricks, or eroding joints.

It is important to discover the cause of this damp and fix it immediately, as it poses a serious risk to your home, as well as your health and safety.

To Summarise

These are the most common kinds of damp you can experience. Most of the symptoms for each type of damp be seen and smelled in the home. Always be aware of the condition of the walls in your home and any changing smells.

If you notice changes in your walls, try to identify which kind of dampness you are experiencing so you can better treat it.

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