Treating Damp Or Moisture In Your Home
If you're unfamiliar with what treating damp means, you most likely reside in the United States, where we speak more in terms of treating moisture or condensation. Wetness on interior or exterior walls is referred to as damp in the United Kingdom, and preventive measures or measures taken to eliminate the problem fall under the topic of "treating damp".
Kinds Of Damp - There are three different kinds of damp, condensation damp, penetrating damp, and rising damp. Rising damp will only be found on walls that come into contact with the ground, or with a wet surface, such as a concrete basement floor, which itself is frequently damp. Penetrating damp is more often a function of the weather, where rain, wind, or a combination of both, forces moisture past exterior walls and into the interior of the home. The third kind of damp, condensation, is usually caused by the inhabitants of the home, and more often than not results when warm interior air comes into contact with cold walls or windows, causing condensation to form.
Treating Rising Damp - In treating damp of any kind, one has to locate the source of the problem first, and the first hint as to what the cause is will likely be determined by zeroing in on a wall or floor that appear to be most affected. The next step would be to attempt to determine if you're dealing with rising damp, penetrating damp, or condensation. If rising damp, chances are ground water is the culprit, whether from rain, or from a broken or leaking pipe. If for example, you have standing water or just constant dampness on a basement floor, you might call the water department and ask them to do a water analysis. They can determine if the water is normal ground water, comes from the water supply, or perhaps comes from a sewer system or septic system. Knowing the source will give some clues as to where to start, as far as treatment is concerned. Water in the ground will usually result in rising damp, unless an interior wall is beneath ground level, in which case the dampness could occur anywhere on the wall.
If the water supply is the source, you'll probably have to take a look at your own plumbing. If the water comes from the outside, the water department will likely play a role also. The water department or a plumber can pressure test your plumbing to quickly determine where a leak may be present.
Treating Penetrating Damp - Penetrating damp will be caused by weather in most cases. Treatment in this case, will first involve a careful inspection, looking for cracks, or openings in the exterior walls, or roof, loose boards or masonry, or rotted planks or timber. In the worst case, treating damp may call for replacement of a portion of an exterior wall or of the entire wall. Another approach is to remove interior drywall, and treat the interior surface of the exterior walls with a waterproofing solution. Placing plastic or vinyl sheeting as a sealer against the wall is another method. Once the exterior wall has been effectively sealed on the inside, drywall can be replaced.
Treating Condensation - Treating condensation may involve some lifestyle changes, although probably nothing too severe. The way the air circulates inside a home may have to be modified. Windows can be left open a crack, or a fan can be installed near ceiling level or in the attic. Sometimes moisture on walls and windows is weather-related, or due to poor insulation in the walls or ceiling. Condensation on the inside of a window won't harm the glass, but could accumulate on the window sill, staining wood , causing it to rot, or entering cracks in the sill and affecting nearby drywall. Treating damp in this case may involve lining the inside of cupboards, especially those on an outside wall, with plastic or foil to keep condensation in check. In some cases, leaving the heat on overnight in rooms with outside walls may be the only solution at certain times of the year. A balance may have to be established between the amount of condensation that can be tolerated, and the amount of money that can be allotted to the heating bill.
Tip: - In treating damp, when the situation requires the work of a professional builder or re modeler to do repair and restoration, make very sure that the source of the damp has been located, and if possible eliminated, before boards, bricks or drywall are removed and replaced.