What to do if there's damp in your home?

Properties with damp problems are more common than you’d think. 

It’s estimated that 4% of households in the UK suffer from some kind of damp problem in at least one of their rooms. These issues range from the cosmetic – for instance, damp caused by condensation (more on that later) – to the more serious, such as penetrating and rising damp. 

Workman with damp proofing kit

So, if you discover damp in your home or indeed, the home you want to buy, should you be concerned? 

Well, yes and no. Damp is certainly something which isn’t going to go away on its own, but it won’t be too tricky to rectify. With our help, you’ll soon see that damp problems shouldn’t cause you too much of a headache.

First of all, what is damp? 

There are several types of damp which will require your attention. Chief among these is rising damp, which is where moisture from the earth soaks through the foundations and walls of your home. 

Penetrating damp is a different problem altogether, usually caused by something leaking internally (such as a broken radiator) or externally, such as poor pointing, porous bricks or a broken roof slate or gutter. 

How to fix damp issues? 

For minor damp problems – like the damp caused by condensation in high moisture rooms, such as bathrooms – you could get away with attacking the surface mould with household cleaning solution and installing an extractor fan to reduce subsequent occurrences.

Penetrating damp that’s caused by external issues can be easily fixed by treating your bricks with silicon solution or fixing any loose or broken roof tiles which are letting the elements in. 

To rectify rising damp, a chemical can be injected into your affected walls which will create a barrier to prevent more ground moisture from being soaked up. To do this, you’ll need to bring in a damp specialist who will first removed the plaster from the lower half of your walls before injecting the chemical. Once this is done, your walls will be replastered leaving you free to redecorate. 

This may sound time-consuming but in fact, the whole process for fixing rising damp can be completed in a little under a week. You should expect to pay around £280 per affected wall

How do I know if there’s damp?

When you book a valuation with Wards, we’ll bring up any potential damp issues in your valuation report. You can then bring in a damp specialist to look into the problem more thoroughly and supply you with a quote for the work. 

As with any work on your property, take the time to invite multiple damp-proofing contractors to assess the extent of the problem and submit quotes for the work. Look out for companies who offer a 25-year guarantee on the work and keep a record of this to pass on to your future buyer.

Before you do this however, there are some common signs of damp which you spot now – such as: 

  1. Mould, mildew or discolouration on your walls

  2. A damp or musty smell when you first walk into a room

  3. Condensation on windows

  4. Peeling wallpaper

  5. General cold feeling in your home

If you suspect that you might have a damp problem, get on top of it right away. It’s human nature to always fear the worst but in all likelihood, the damp won’t be as severe as you think. 

For more advice about buying or selling a home with a damp problem or to book a valuation, get in touch.