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The Difference Between Damp and Condensation

If you have excess moisture or mould in your property, understanding the differences between damp and condensation can help you to get to the bottom of the problem.

Condensation is a type of damp, but damp is not necessarily caused by condensation.

Confused? Read on to find out more about the differences between damp problems and condensation.

What is damp?

A property that is suffering with a damp problem can be identified by a variety of unpleasant signs, including:

  • Mould.
  • A damp smell.
  • Peeling wallpaper, flaking paint, or crumbling plaster.
  • Structural damage.
  • Damage to furniture or textiles.

However, there isn’t just one cause of damp, and before a damp problem can be treated, it is important to get to the root of the problem and find out what is causing the excess moisture in the property.

Damp can be caused by one of several different problems, including:

  • Rising damp
  • Penetrating damp
  • Condensation

What is penetrating damp?

Penetrating damp is caused by weaknesses in or damage to your building’s structure which allows water to penetrate and leak inside.

Examples of problems that can cause penetrating damp include:

  • Cracks in the wall or roof.
  • Broken guttering.
  • Faulty flashing.
  • Porous brickwork in older properties.

Penetrating damp usually causes damp patches to appear inside the property at the point of the damage. These damp patches will often become more prominent after it has rained.

With penetrating damp, the moisture enters the property horizontally, at the point of the damage or weakness in the building’s structure. In comparison, rising damp usually starts at ground level and rises upwards.

To treat penetrating damp, the source of the leak must be identified and repairs to the property made.

Where penetrating damp occurred more sporadically across the wall area, this may be due to pourous brickwork (common in older cottages). In this instance, additional damp proofing including the installation of moisture membranes will be required to guarantee a moisture free surface in your home.

What is rising damp?

Rising damp is usually quite easy to recognise as it is characterised by damp patches that begin at ground level and then spread up the wall. It is often referred to as a tidal mark as its appearance is often in a wavy line.

All buildings are surrounded by external dampness and rising damp occurs when buildings are not protected from this moisture and it is drawn into the floors and walls by a natural capillary action.

Rising damp occurs when a property has not been treated with a damp proof course or its existing damp proof cause has failed.

Signs that your damp problem is caused by rising damp rather than penetrating damp are damp patches that start at ground level and spread upwards and the appearance of horizontal tide stains on the wall.

To treat rising damp, it is once again important to identify the root cause to determine if a new and improved damp proof course is needed.

What is condensation?

Condensation is the commonest type of damp problem. Most homeowners will be familiar with condensation but may not be aware of the extent of damage it can cause if left untreated.

The problem is common in homes that are well insulated but lack adequate ventilation, causing humid air to build up inside.

Condensation is the process of the water vapour in the air turning back into liquid water. This happens when the warm water vapour meets a cold surface, usually a window, outside wall, or door.

If condensation is forming regularly it can cause a property to become consistently damp, resulting in a range of problems if left untreated.

Signs of condensation include:

  • Mould.
  • Structural damage.
  • Damage to décor.

Unlike penetrating damp and rising damp, the signs of condensation will usually worsen during cold weather and when you have the heating on in your home, whereas other types of damp tend to worsen during wet weather and heavy rainfall.

Treating condensation can be as simple as remembering to leave a window open to ventilate the property. Although in more severe cases you may require better ventilation to be installed in your property in the form of extractor fans, air bricks, wall vents and whole house ventilation systems.

Receive advice from our team of experts here at Atlantis

If you discover signs of a damp problem in your property, it’s important to address it as soon as possible to prevent it from causing damage to your property or affecting your health.

Before you can treat a damp problem, you will need to find out what is causing the damp.

When you seek help from our team of friendly experts here at Atlantis, we will carry out a thorough assessment of your property to find out the source of your damp problem.

We will then provide honest advice on the most cost-effective course of action to rectify the problem.

For further help or advice with a damp problem, or to book a survey, give our experts here at Atlantis a call on 0800 0988 277.