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The A-Z of Damp & Timber from Atlantis Damp Proofing Specialists… O is for Owners can Help Themselves

In this episode of The A-Z of Damp from Atlantis Damp & Timber Proofing Specialists Ltd, O is for Owners can Help Themselves.

With the long weekend ahead of us, we know it should be the perfect opportunity to bring out the patio furniture and stock up on charcoal for the BBQ – but, it’s also the perfect time to give your property the “quick once over” to tackle any issues that may have come apparent during the winter months. Let’s take a look at some of the main problems you should look out for.

General Maintenance

Time and time again we see poor general maintenance leading to internal damp issues. You can help by following these simple steps:

  • Keep your gutters and downspouts clear of debris and vegetation
  • Keep your pointing in sound condition and replace any bricks that have spalled.
  • Fix any slipped tiles/ replace lost tiles as soon as possible to prevent moisture ingress.
  • Cut back climbers from external walls if your property is built using solid wall construction.
  • If you get a new driveway installed, make sure that you have it installed leaving sufficient height to the DPC.

Rising Damp

Rising damp is caused by moisture finding its way into your home through brickwork or stonework. To see if rising damp is present there are certain checks that can be made by yourself without the assistance of a damp surveyor.

The typical signs of identifying rising damp include the following:

  • Horizontal brown or discoloured ‘tide’ marks to be seen typically up to 1 meter in height (although it can go higher!) on interior walls.
  • Plaster will bubble and peel away from the interior walls
  • Wooden beading and skirting boards will become brittle and eventually show the signs of deterioration
  • Mould on walls.
  • Walls may feel damp when touched

Woodworm

Woodworm is one of the most common forms of damage in timber in the UK. One of the most unfortunate parts of a woodworm infestation is that the signs of the problem are only visible at the end of the woodworm’s lifecycle. This is when the woodworm beetle breaks free from within the timber to continue its breeding.

The signs to look out for are what we call exit holes. These holes in the wood or timber can be between 2 and 5 mm in diameter meaning they can often be spotted up close without the need for a magnifying glass, unless there is a large infestation and many exit holes together.

Condensation

Condensation can create unsightly black mould that can become a continued nuisance for you, the owner, and lead to health issues if left unchecked. But don’t worry, there are some easy steps that you can take help to alleviate this problem in your home. Take a look at our top tips below:

TOP TIP 1:

Keep your home well ventilated by opening windows every day. You should also make sure that the drip vents in your windows are open as these allow additional airflow that will combat condensation. If you have condensation on windows it is likely that it will be elsewhere in your property too.

TOP TIP 2:

When you are cooking always turn the extractor fans on in the kitchen on a high power. This will extract any excess moisture from boiling pots and pans. If possible, open up the kitchen windows whilst cooking for extra ventilation. It is an idea to leave the extractor fan on for longer than you are cooking as there will be excess moisture in the air which you cannot see.

TOP TIP 3:

After taking a bath or shower there will be excess moisture in the air. To stop condensation forming, the bathroom windows should be opened and extractor fans turned on. Try to keep the bathroom door shut as much as possible so the moisture doesn’t escape into other parts of your home. The more moisture-laden air you can get out at source, the better.

TOP TIP 4:

When you are drying your clothes you should dry them outside where possible. If you cannot do this then put them in an enclosed room and keep the window open. If you use a tumble dryer to dry your clothes it is extremely important that the ventilation pipe runs to the outside of your property.

TOP TIP 5:

You should leave a small gap between the walls of your home and your furniture as this allows the air to move away from the bottom of the walls and circulate around the room. If air lingers between the furniture and walls it will condense onto walls and could eventually form into black mould.

TOP TIP 6: 

Your property’s airways such as air bricks and chimneys should be clear to allow airflow in and out of your home. Air ventilation is extremely important as you don’t want moist air to be trapped in one part of your home as it will condense on your walls.

TOP TIP 7: 

During the winter and at other cold times of the year you should try to maintain a constant temperature in your home, a minimum background heating of 10 degrees.

Want to know more about Condensation? Click here.

Need help to rid your property of rising damp, woodworm or condensation, contact us now for an informal chat to see how we can help you.