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If damp is allowed to develop within your home, it can result in the growth of mould and potential damage to the structure of your property. If you find damp in your home, then you must act as quickly as possible to remove the cause and prevent the issue from getting worse.

What actually causes damp to appear?

Essentially, damp is able to form when moisture soaks into porous surfaces in the home, making them saturated. The most common form of damp is condensation, which forms when moist, warm air touches a cold surface, such as a wall or window but it can also build up in other ways.

There are three main sources of moisture within a home that can result in damp:

Penetrating damp

Penetrating damp is caused by water soaking through a wall or a ceiling. It may be caused by gaps around windows and doors, holes in the roof, leaking pipes, or damage to any external walls within the property.

It is usually identified by dark stains on the walls which are caused by pigments from underlying plaster, or rust, coming through the layers of paint.

Rising damp

Rising damp is caused by water soaking up into the walls of your home through the ground, due to a lack of a damp-proof barrier at the bottom of walls. It will only affect the ground floor of a property due to the nature of how it is caused. It can best be identified by stains on the plasterwork, located approximately up to one metre above the ground.

Both rising damp and penetrating damp need to be fixed professionally as soon as possible - typically by a builder or plumber. Once resolved, you may find that you need to redecorate due to the staining it has caused.

Condensation damp

The third main cause of damp is condensation, which forms when moisture inside your home soaks into the internal walls. In a house that is poorly ventilated, humidity levels can build up quickly - causing condensation to form on walls and ceilings.

If allowed to continue over time, this condensation can soak through the paint layers and saturate the plaster underneath, leading to significant problems if not resolved quickly.

Black mould in the corner of the room

If I heat my home more, will this help?

The answer to this question is yes, it can help - however, it most definitely is more of a short-term solution rather than a long-term, permanent fix. Although heating can temporarily reduce dampness in your home, you’ll always need to address the underlying cause of the damp to prevent it from getting worse.

Nonetheless, using heating to keep a property warm is still essential and highly recommended, as it can help to slow down any spreading of damp. Whilst heating your home isn’t cheap at the moment, it can actually help to save you money in the long run by ensuring that your home remains structurally sound.

Condensation damp is caused by water from the air inside your home soaking into cold walls, so by warming these walls up and maintaining heat in the property, you will reduce the amount of condensation that is able to form. 

Heating can also contribute to drying out damp surfaces once the moisture source has been removed, however, it is only a good solution if you identify the cause and stop the damp from occurring in the first place.

However, there is a downside to using heating to reduce damp. Unless you can dry out an area completely, heat can also speed up the growth of mould, so it could become a double edged-sword.

You’ll also need to make sure that, once you’ve managed to dry up any damp patches or puddles, you can let the water vapour escape through good ventilation. If not, you’ll find all that vapour will settle again on your walls and windows the next time the temperature drops.

How can I prevent damp from affecting my home?

Rising and penetrating damp are both caused by physical issues with your house itself, and therefore are best being resolved by professionals - such as a plumber or builder. They will fix the source of the moisture, meaning that the damp will reduce over time and gradually return to its original state.

However, damp caused by condensation can be prevented by you, by making improvements to your home ventilation. Firstly, make sure that you’ve covered the basics - including having extractor fans installed in all bathrooms and the kitchen to allow moisture to escape.

Bathrooms and kitchens contribute to some of the moisture in your home but drying clothes indoors, leaving towels on radiators, and even breathing can also add to the airborne moisture.

By installing a whole-house ventilation system, such as a Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation unit (MVHR), this will greatly reduce moisture levels whilst keeping your home warm at the same time. They work by displacing the moist air from within your home and replacing it with fresh, heated air from outside. As a result, this will greatly reduce condensation, damp and mould.


Worried about damp caused by condensation? Get in touch with our team of professional industry experts today to find out how we can help!

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