This page will tell you all about the different types of damp and how the problems may be fixed. If your home also suffers from mould you can visit our how to remove black mould page to find out how to get rid of it safely. Alternatively, you can view the video produced by the National Landlords Association to find out more.
If you live in a rented property that suffers from any of these problems, you should try speaking to your landlord and allowing them time to investigate then fix the problem. If your landlord fails to make improvements you can contact our Housing Standards Team to make a complaint. We will, however, only get involved where damp and mould is serious enough to mean that people living in the property would likely need medical treatment within the next 12 months. If the cause of the damp is condensation you may also be expected to play a role in reducing the problem yourself.
Is damp and mould something to be concerned about?
Due to the temperate climate we live in a level of damp and mould may be expected in all dwellings. However, if left untreated for a long time damp and mould can cause plasterwork to crumble or other structural problems and could affect the health of the occupants, particularly those with breathing problems.
What are the types of damp and their causes?
Condensation is the most common cause of dampness and is associated with not enough heating and/or ventilation (airing) in a property. It is caused by water vapour or moisture from inside your home touching colder surfaces (such as windows and walls). The water can then soak into paint or plasterwork and in time black mould may grow on the area. It normally happens during colder months and is often found in corners, on north facing walls, around windows and where furniture is pushed up against external walls. Black mould can release spores which could make asthma or other breathing problems worsen. If a home is hot and humid (because it is not aired enough) then this can also encourage dust mites which again can trigger asthma. Visit our how to reduce condensation page to find out about the easy things you can do to help fix this problem.
Rising Damp only affects basements or ground floor rooms and normally rises no more than 30-60cms (12-24 inches). Very rarely is black mould seen on rising damp but there are often white salts and ‘tide marks’ in affected areas. It is caused by water rising from the ground through the brickwork or through a broken damp proof course. A damp proof course is layer of waterproof material put in the bottom of walls to stop moisture rising. It will be present all year round but may be worse in the winter. If left untreated it can cause plaster to crumble and wallpaper to lift.
Penetrating Damp is only found on external walls or ceilings (if there is a roof leak). It appears because of a problem in the building such as missing or damaged brickwork, cracked rendering or missing roof tiles. Black mould is rarely seen on penetrating damp, it is more noticeable after rainfall and may be wet to the touch.
Damaged Plumbing can cause wet to the touch ceilings and walls, both inside and outside the house. Black mould is rarely seen in this type of damp. Checking pipework, bathroom and kitchen water and waste pipes and the seals around baths, showers and sinks will normally find the cause of the problem.