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5 Simple Steps to Avoid Damp in the Home

Last Updated Dec 9, 2010 · Written by Jaclyn Fitzgerald

Dampness inside the home is not only uncomfortable; it can be a hazard to your health and the health of your building. For some great tips on stopping the damp from settling in, read on for more.

1. Improve Your Ventilation

Condensation is one of the most common causes of that clammy and damp feeling inside the home but thankfully, it is also easy to fix. In wet areas such as the bathroom or laundry, or in the kitchen, steam can be created and built up. Installing an exhaust fan or rangehood is a huge help as it will vent the moist air to the outside of the home before it has a chance to form as condensation on windows, mirrors and walls.

Adequate ventilation is also important for managing and preventing condensation. This can be as simple as opening windows on the opposite sides of your home in order to allow fresh air to flow through. Ceiling fans, pedestal fans and air conditioners will all help to keep the air flowing freely and in the case of the air conditioner, it is capable of removing excess moisture from the air. Heating the home also warms the air, preventing condensation from forming (as it is created from warm air hitting cold surfaces).

2. Ensure You Have Adequate Damp Proofing

A poorly damp proofed home can feel clammy, even on the hottest of days. If your home does not have a damp course, or the damp course is damaged, moisture from the soil can rise up through the bricks and structural members, causing that wet look and feel. The solution to this is to install a new damp course, either by pulling the bricks out and laying a physical membrane before replacing the bricks, or by injecting a solution into the bricks in order to stop moisture from rising up through them.

Another thing that you need to do is check that your flooring is adequately damp proofed, which is especially important if you have a concrete slab floor. There should be a damp proofing membrane laid all the way underneath the flooring.

3. Check Your Roofing

It may sound like something that isn’t important, but your roofing can actually contribute to damp in the home if it is not correctly looked after. You need to make sure that there are cracks or breaks in the roofing material that water can come through. The roof should also be adequately sealed.  Also remember to check that the guttering and downpipes are correctly connected and that they are not blocked by debris that can cause water to back up into the roof cavity, or to flow over the guttering and onto the external wall, soaking it and causing it to feel damp.

4. Check the Plumbing

One potential cause of damp is leaking from your plumbing. These can often go unnoticed for years, especially if they are small, slow leaks but cause massive amounts of damage over time, so if your home feels damp and you’ve eliminated the more obvious culprits, it’s time to thoroughly check your plumber.  This is a job that needs to be done by your plumber as it is potentially time consuming and you will need their specialised skills.

5. Check Flashings

Flashings stop water from entering around windows, doors, skylights, and so on. If the flashing around one of these is damaged, water can be entering into your home and causing a damp problem. This is a job for a professional as they can replace the flashing if it is damaged.
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