If you don't know your damp from your mould, when seeking advice from the experts, you could be taken for a fool. This article describes the kind of symptoms to look out for so that you don't get the wrong advice and waste money on the wrong solution. Damp, is a generic word that basically covers a multitude of moisture damage in your property, but would you know enough about the symptoms to make the right decision as to which expert advice to seek? The three most common types of damp are rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation.
Rising DampIf you have rising damp you may notice damaged skirting boards and floorboards, crumbling or salt stained plaster and peeling paint and wallpaper. There may also be a tidemark along the wall; it looks a little like a tea stain.
Know Your ExpertRising damp and some types of penetrating damp should be treated by a properly qualified damp proofing company, we would recommend that you only seek advice from a company who is registered with the property care association (PCA) as there are a lot of builders and plasterers who advertise damp proofing services but may not be up to the right standard or give you the right types of guarantees.
Penetrating dampPenetrating damp often shows up through damp patches on walls, ceilings or floors, which may darken when it rains. You're more likely to get penetrating damp if you live in an older building with solid walls, as cavity walls provide some protection.
Know Your ExpertPenetrating damp is usually caused by structural problems in a building, such as faulty guttering or roofing, so you may well be better off seeking advice from a reputable roofing company or builder.
CondensationCondensation is the most common kind of damp; it now affects nearly a quarter of all UK homes and is caused by moist air condensing on walls and windows. The moisture in the air comes from the people living in the dwelling; on average everyone produces about 4 pints of moisture every day, just by cooking, bathing, washing and even breathing. Condensation is more likely to affect a property that has double-glazing, gas central heating, cavity wall or loft insulation, as these measures, originally designed to trap heat, also trap in all of this moisture. When surface temperatures drop, this moisture condenses on the coldest surfaces leading to mould growth and decorative damage.
Symptoms Of CondensationYou may notice water droplets on windows or walls, see dark mould appearing and/or notice an unpleasant smell. If left untreated, condensation can damage paint and plaster and cause window frames to decay, but even more of a worry is the health implications associated with mould growth. Under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, mould is classified as a class 1-health hazard.
Know Your ExpertCondensation can be cured by improving the ventilation in a property but not necessarily by using passive forms of ventilation such as air bricks, trickle vents or even leaving windows open because as well as being a criminal waste of energy, these measures also reduce the heat in a property which can actually increase the relative humidity over time. It is vital that you contact a ventilation specialist if your property suffers from condensation, there are not as many of these about as there are damp proofers, but asking a damp proofer to look at a ventilation issue is a bit like asking a dentist to remove your tonsils.
At EnviroVent, we recommend that you make sure your ventilation specialist is part of the Electric Heating and Ventilation Association or the Residential Ventilation Association. The best ones offer free surveys and money back guarantees on their solutions.
At Martin and Co, we have a wealth of experience in working with landlords and are always here to provide advice. We also have a range of articles on the blog aimed at landlords here.
Disclaimer: Guest blog posts on the Martin and Co blog are written by external companies. Martin and Co do not endorse the products or services of these companies.This article was originally posted on Land Lord Referencing and can be found here.