How To Fix Damp Walls: Tips and Ideas

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Damping is a common household issue that can give rise to all kinds of situations such as timber damage, wet rotting floorboards, poor air quality, and weak structure. As a homeowner, you should consider this a serious issue as it reduces your property’s value, drives away potential buyers (in case you plan on selling it), and can fetch huge repair costs.

So, how can you go about tackling this issue? In this post, we share effective tips and ideas to fix damp walls in your house. 

how to fix damp walls

Let’s take a look –

Damp Patches

Penetrating damp happens to be the leading cause of damp patches on the walls. It’s when the water from outside sources finds its way into bricks via cracks and gaps. If you notice clusters of patches forming around doors and windows, then likely the rainwater is entering through frame gaps. In case the damp is below the opening, it’s possible there’s a drip groove below the sill. Other patches are mostly due to faulty brickwork such as cracked pointing.

Ensure healthy conditions of external walls such as pointing. Also, protect the paintwork.

If you notice any gaps in door and window frames, seal them up. Remove any drip grooves underneath window sills. You might want to deal with leaky pipes and faulty roofing; if that’s the issue.

Condensation on Walls

To find out what’s causing condensation on your walls, try performing the ‘foil test’. Start with using a fan heater to dry the surface then use some kitchen foil and tape it on the affected area. If you notice the foil is wet after 24 hours have elapsed, it’s a sign of condensation. Common causes include an excessive buildup of moist air inside the house, excess draught-proofing, and poor ventilation.

To battle this issue, install vents and fans in laundry areas, bathrooms, and the kitchen. These will help expel the moist air so the damping doesn’t occur, to begin with. 

Rising Damp

You can deal with rising damp with the help of plastic sheeting. Lay the sheet under floor coverings and concrete floors. Install a chemical DPC (damp proof course) in the walls to avoid moisture from building up. Another way to deal with rising damp is to use an anti-mold cleaner on the plaster. It’s good to invest in a quality stain-blocking primer to protect the walls.

Ventilate Your Home Properly

Did you know that even simple activities like bathing, tumble-drying, cooking, and breathing can cause moisture to build up inside the house? The thing is, all water finds its way somewhere. If there’s no exit, it will start pooling. 

Therefore, it’s good to have a proper ventilation system in place to remove dampness; especially in the bathroom and kitchen area. Make sure that the vents go outside. Do not direct them towards the attic where moisture buildup is an even bigger problem. Try investing in quality vents that come with moisture sensors and auto-timer that shut on and off automatically based on moisture levels.

Install Exhaust Fans

Install exhaust fans in all the bathrooms. Every time you take a steam shower, be sure to turn it on. Not only this practice will ensure dry air, but it will also prevent moisture from accumulating inside your bathroom walls. Additionally, it’s good to watch out for grout if you have tiled bathroom floors.

You can also find modern fan chandeliers at reasonable pricing. What they do is – they attract dry air from the outside to avoid humidity levels from rising.

Improve Your Insulation

One fine way to improve the insulation inside your house is by installing double-pane windows with multiple glass layers. You should instantly notice a significant improvement in home insulation. It will also prevent the loss of heat. It’s good to have trickle vents installed with double glaze fitting. Keep them open for better efficiency. Keep them running to let the damp air out and close them at your convenience.

Use Vapor Retarders

These are special kinds of treated materials that reduce water vapors from forming. Common materials include plastic sheets, metallic foils, and paints. Always go for low perm vapor retarders. Permeance is a measure of how water vapors travel through different materials. Lower the value, better the performance.

When picking a vapor retarder, think about how the moisture moves. Does it move in or out of the house? If it moves both ways, for the most part, then avoid getting a vapor retarder altogether.

Get a Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier is a highly inexpensive way to suck the excess moisture buildup from inside the house. It will help prevent dampness and mold/mildew from forming. You can also invest in portable dehumidifiers that you can move from one room to another. Keep it in one room for a day or two and then switch it up based on the need.

Some portable dehumidifiers can easily fit into caravans, cupboards, lots, window sills, and sheds. If you will be using a humidifier for colder months, make sure the rooms don’t remain closed for a longer period as it could also lead to humidity buildup.

Redirect Excess Water Away From the House

Oftentimes, rainwater will collect on the rooftop causing the water to seep through the roof. You can avoid that by ensuring that the roofing is in fine condition. Additionally, make sure there’s a wide overhang around the roof to keep the rainwater away from falling onto windows and walls. 

One more way to keep the water from collecting into the crawlspace and basement is to redirect the flow of water away from the house. You can achieve that by having a slope around the house. You can also install French drains and downspouts to redirect surface water flow.

Choose Quality Construction Material 

No two construction materials are the same. They hold and pass the moisture differently. For instance, brick walls have more void space that allows moisture to easily pass through and lock-in. Aluminum siding, on the other hand, does not allow moisture penetration.

We suggest going for concrete rather than plaster interiors as building materials. Plaster-based material can cause moisture seepage. Install adequate air vents and conduits in your kitchen. Place eaves on the exterior walls. Invest in non-impregnated wood furniture.

In Conclusion

Even though damping is a common household issue, you can tell that it’s not impossible to combat it. With property foresight and planning, you can safeguard your property and maintain the air quality inside your house.

Hopefully, you found all these tips helpful. Investing in a damp proof course and other measures of moisture-control is one of the best things you can do for your property.

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