What is damp and how can you avoid it?

What is damp and how can you avoid it?

author: Christos Stylianou

By Christos Stylianou


Your home should be a place of comfort and relaxation – a haven to escape work and the outside world.

But this haven could be shattered if you have to come home to moldy walls and cold rooms.

Unfortunately, damp can be a common problem, and if left untreated its impact can be far-reaching. Too much moisture can make a property stuffy. Humid walls feel cold, so you turn the heating up and end up with higher energy bills. Damp can even be bad for your health.

Know your damp!

There are three main types of damp - rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation. All appear differently and require separate treatments. Condensation, the most common kind, is caused by moist air condensing on walls and is usually worse in winter when the walls become colder than the air inside. Luckily, this type of damp is easily fixed and can be solved cheaply and quickly without professional help…. read on for our advice and tips.


There are simple ways to avoid condensation. Moisture builds up easily in areas such as the kitchen and bathroom, where steam is created. Of course, you may have no choice but to boil the kettle or pans of water while you’re cooking, but you can get an extractor fan fitted or open a window to get rid of as much steam as possible. You should also ensure any vents you have are open.

You should avoid drying clothes indoors and hang them outside or use a tumble dryer in the winter. Putting wet clothes to dry on your radiators can cause a real damp issue.

If you spot signs of damp like black mold, wipe down your walls with a fungicidal wash. You can also redecorate affected areas using fungicidal paint.

Insulate your home well to keep the internal walls at a constant temperature. Rather than turn the heating on and off, maintain a regular temperature throughout your home. Double glazing will also improve the insulation of your home.

Dehumidifiers can also help with problem damp as they reduce the water content in the air. By simply opening windows, you can create a natural airflow that helps with ventilation.

If left untreated, damp will appear as grey/green, black, or brown layers on your home’s surfaces. Condensation and damp can lead to health issues, especially for those with existing breathing problems and allergies like asthma, as well as the elderly, young babies and children. 

…Rising damp

Rising damp occurs when ground water comes up through the walls. However, a new damp proof course is a great way to give you peace of mind and make your property more eligible to future buyers. Damp proofing involves a builder or damp specialist drilling holes in the lower level of your home’s walls and injecting a cream or solution through this to create a waterproof barrier. A new damp proof course for a typical three-bedroom semi-detached property costs approximately £2,500.

…Penetrating damp

Penetrative damp is usually caused by structural damage within a building that allows water to leak through the walls. Faulty gutters and roofs can be a main cause, so it is a good idea to have a builder check these if you notice horizontal damp patches going across the walls. The damp will appear on walls, ceilings or floors, and may darken with rainfall. Penetrating damp is more common in older buildings with solid walls. Cavity walls in newer properties provide some protection.

Visit our blog for regular updates on home improvements and how to make your home a healthy place to live, with great-money saving techniques.

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Christos Stylianou

By Christos Stylianou

What is damp and how can you avoid it? What is damp and how can you avoid it?