Damp is a common enough problem for London homes. Many of them are period properties dating from times before it was common to take steps to combat damp. Or they may have had work done that damp specialists London now know cause more problems than they fix.
But is it such a big problem? Here’s why damp is bad for your London home and for the people living in it.
Damp and health problems
Damp and the associated problems often seem unpleasant, messy and unsightly but they can also cause far worse issues – they can lead to health problems. Take black mould – the spores from these black smudges are toxic and can cause real issues for the elderly, for children or anyone with respiratory conditions. They are released when the mould is touched or there are the right conditions for it to continue to spread. They can also be horrible for people with allergies.
The general dampness of a property with a damp problem can also cause issues for people. Dampness needs certain levels of moisture in the house and these same levels can irritate respiratory conditions like asthma.
How damp happens
There are a few ways that damp problems can begin but the three most common are condensation, rising damp and penetrating damp. Each has different starting points but can lead to the same problems such as black mould or dry rot.
Condensation is the most common. That warm air full of moisture created when you cook, or shower comes into contact with walls or windows that are cooler, and the moisture is released. Normally, with the right ventilation, this evaporates and there’s no problem. But if you don’t have the right ventilation, the moisture levels in the home keep rising and lead to damp problems.
Rising damp is where the brickwork of the house absorbs water from the ground which is a natural process. But the problem comes when the damp proof course no longer stops this reaching the internal areas of the house. Walls become damp to the touch, wallpaper and paint peel and skirting boards swell up due to the wetness.
Penetrating damp most often comes from above – a broken roof tile, leaking guttering or a problem with the brickwork around the roofline. This allows water to leak into the upper parts of the house and cause similar issues to rising damp but on ceilings, upper roof areas and the loft.
Dealing with damp
Black mould, dry and wet rot and even woodworm infestations are all made possible by damp conditions. The higher moisture levels in the rooms allow these mould and fungi to flourish and make the house habitable for beetles and bugs known as woodworm.
Therefore by taking steps to ensure your London home doesn’t have a damp problem in the early stages, you can cut off the conditions these problems need and not have to deal with them. Prevention is definitely best but quick action when you spot a damp problem is vital to protect you and your home.
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