Damp associated problems are not uncommon in Irish houses, but if left untreated could lead to serious and unwanted consequences.
The three most common kinds of damp are rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation. In order to treat the damp in your home, you will need to identify the type of damp problem you have.
Penetrating Damp is caused by water leaking through walls. It is usually caused by structural problems in a building, such as faulty guttering or roofing.
Penetrating Damp Symptoms: Penetrating damp often shows up through damp patches on walls, ceilings or floors, which may darken when it rains. You are most likely to get penetrating damp if you live in an older building with solid walls, as cavity walls provide some protection.
Condensation is the most common kind of damp and is caused by moist air condensing on walls. It is mainly a winter problem, as at this time of year walls are much colder that the air inside. Condensation can be aggravated by poor ventilation, and heating that comes on and off, as this allows warm, damp air to condense.
Condensation Symptoms: You may notice water droplets on windows or walls, see dark mould appearing or even notice an unpleasant smell. If left untreated, condensation can damage paint and plaster and cause window frames to decay or even become a health risk.
Rising Damp is caused by ground water moving up through a wall. The damp-proof course in the wall prevents water rising. If this DPC is missing or ineffectual, you may suffer from rising damp. Rising damp can also occur when the level of the ground outside your home is higher than your damp-proof course, allowing water to ingress above the damp course level.
Rising Damp Symptoms: If 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 water tide mark along the wall.