Cause of Damp in Buildings?

Cause of Damp in Buildings?

We are local Northern Ireland property surveyors. We come across many damp problems in properties. This can cause a lot of worry for the homeowner and landlord because damp can affect the structural integrity of the building.

What is Damp?

Damp occurs when there is excess moisture that has no means of escape. Many modern homes built today in Northern Ireland are air tight. There is sometimes a lack of natural ventilation. Condensation is a common problem today in air tight homes. Cooking with no extractor fan causes or a tumble dryer with no vent to the outside will cause condensation in a poorly ventilated property.

Many older homes were built using permeable material. This made it easy for excess moisture to pass through the walls or from room to room. Also windows and doors “back in the day” had lots of drafts (natural ventilation).

Cause of Damp

Leaking or Inadequate Gutters

Leaking gutters are a very common fault in Northern Ireland. If a gutter is leaking the water can run down the wall. It can seep into all of the nukes and crannies. After time this usually leads to damp on the inside wall.

Also make sure that gutters are of an appropriate size. You will notice on commercial buildings that gutters are much larger and can carry lots more rain water away. It is also important to make sure that gutters are regularly cleaned and free of debris.

Plumbing System Faults

Another common cause of damp is leaking pipes. We see quite a large number of damp issues where the homeowner thinks that they have a hole in their roof. Upon further investigation, it sometimes turns out to be a small leak coming from attic pipes. Over time this can cause substantial damp patches on ceilings and walls.

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Roof Problems

A popular cause of damp. Broken or missing tiles and slates can let water in. In many older properties this is a big problem due to many not having roofing felt. In more modern properties the roofing felt can carry any leaks down into the gutters. However the felt must be in good condition to do so.

We have come across occasions where damage has been caused by aerial and satellite installers walking on tiles. We have also seen where felt has been cut to allow entry of television cables and ventilation.

Damp Proof Course

A faulty damp proof course can lead to the entry of damp from the outside. When making repairs, a wall must be completely dry for injected damp-proofing to work. Be careful with any injected damp proof repairs as some installers historically have used waterproof cement plaster on the inside to last the guarantee period of the damp proof repairs. After this the injected course can fail so always check what you are getting.

High Outside Levels

Damp is a problem not only in Northern Ireland but right across the UK and Ireland. We have seem cases in Belfast and beyond where our clients have had some landscaping done. The paving and ground levels around the outside of the home have sometimes been too high. If levels are too high and sit above the damp proof course then moisture will inevitably travel into the building. A very common problem indeed.

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