5 Early Signs of Damp, and How To Prevent It From Spreading

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This is a collaborative post.

Water. It is absolutely essential to our planet’s wellbeing, but its destructive powers are just as forceful as its life-giving ones. When it comes to taking care of your home, you will likely be wise to the damage that damp can cause. 

Homeowners’ fear of damp knows no bounds – and it’s clear why! Water damage can cause electrical danger, rotting, foundational damage and health problems – to name but a few problems damp brings.

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In this post, we will explore 5 early signs of dampness, and how to prevent it from going any further. These tips can be life-savers; if you catch damp early, it can save you thousands in costs, and ultimately make your home life much easier going forward!

Let’s get started – here are 5 early signs of dampness in the home, and how to prevent it from spreading.

Condensation in the walls, windows and/or floors of your home

If you notice an increase in condensation in your home, this could be a sign that there’s too much water vapour in your home, which causes dampness to spread. You might notice that the windows are constantly covered in wet condensation, or that your walls have a dampness to them when you touch them.

Alternatively, you could be experiencing rising damp. Rising damp is when there is damp rising from the ground, and is likely to be caused by a problem with your home’s foundations. If you have rising damp, you could find that your floors never quite feel dry, and instead have a cold, clammy quality to them.

All these are early signs of dampness, and require immediate action. Read on to the bottom of the article to find out how to stop damp from spreading!

A wet, stagnant smell in the home

All homes have an array of smells that make up the natural, unique odor of the house. It could be your furnishings, the food you cook, your pets, perfumes and candles – all wrapped up into your home’s unique smell. 

If that smell starts to be overcome with a wet, stagnant smell, you have a problem on your hands. A damp smell is one of the first signs of a damp issue in your home, even if you can’t see any physical signs of it. You will notice it straight away, because it will overcome the natural smell that you are used to in your home.

Mold growing in multiple places around the home

Mold can be present for many reasons, but if it’s on your walls and ceilings, it is almost guaranteed to be caused by dampness. Black or dark green mold on your ceilings, floors and walls, in any room of the house, is a telltale sign that there is too much moisture in your home.

But not all mold is visible, so how do we know for sure we have invisible to the eye mold hiding in our home? You need to get a reliable home mold test kit to be sure. A quick online search should tell you where to get a mold test kit near you. 

Mold thrives in damp conditions; it can’t grow on completely dry surfaces. If you start seeing mold buildup, by all means use bleach or mold remover to get rid of it. However, you will need to do more than that to actually remove the cause of the mold – damp. 

Discoloration of the walls, ceilings and/or floors

One of the most well known signs of damp is dark or yellow discoloration of the walls, ceilings and floors in the home. Damp will cause the light colour of your home’s plastering and paintwork to get darker, either fading into a grey colour or even yellowing in places. 

If you start to notice this unsightly change to your walls and floors, make sure you do something about it right away, using the guidance at the end of this article. This is very likely to be caused by damp, and needs to be rectified.

Peeling walls

In extreme cases, dampness can cause wallpaper to peel off altogether. If your wallpaper is becoming wrinkled, saggy or peeling off, it is likely that there is too much moisture in the air that is causing the adhering materials to wear away. Take your peeling walls as a signal that you need to do something about your damp problem!

How To Prevent Damp From Spreading

Now you know what to look for if you suspect you have a damp problem in your house, it’s time to find some solutions. How can you prevent damp from spreading, and ultimately eradicate it in your home?

Here are 3 simple steps to start you on your damp-ousting journey!

Improve the ventilation in your home. In early cases of dampness, professional assistance might not be necessary. If you take solid measures to improve the ventilation in your home, you might notice that the damp patches clear up on their own. Improving ventilation means allowing more airflow through your property – so keep windows open and invest in a dehumidifier that will suck up moisture in the air.

Remove all mold buildup and/or rotten materials. If you have a buildup of mold in your home, or you notice rotten wood, plaster or wallpaper, you need to remove it all. Having damp spores causing rotting and mold in your home is only going to cause it to spread more. Remove all these materials, replace them with fresh ones if necessary and clean and dry them regularly.

Take steps against flooding and leaks. Serious cases of damp can often be caused by water getting in from the outside. Check for cracks in walls, loose tiles on roofs or gaps around window frames that could be letting water in. It’s worth noting that water can also get in through foundations and slowly creep its way up the wall in the form of rising damp. Make sure that water isn’t pooling around your home as a result of blocked overspilling guttering – if it is, it could be worth investing in gutter cleaning. French drains and soakaways could meanwhile help prevent mild flooding from heavy rain.

Invest in professional help. If you are concerned about how fast the damp seems to be spreading in your house, it’s time to call a professional. Professional damp destroyers do exist, and they can inspect all aspects of your home to see where the damp is actually coming from. They can then recommend the relevant treatments – for example, foundational repairs – or even conduct these repairs themselves. 

Final Thoughts

Damp can cause all sorts of issues in your home, from structural damage to lung problems and everything in between. If you want to spot it early and learn how to get rid of it quickly, use this comprehensive guide to get you started. You can also watch videos on YouTube or call a housing association helpline for more guidance! You don’t have to live with dangerous dampness – it is possible to get rid of it with the right action.

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