Dampness in residential properties is an issue that attracts a lot of attention in the surveying world. If the problem is severe, it can be highly destructive and can lead to significant damage to a property. The presence of moisture causes degradation to structural materials, particularly timber and other types of structural wood. As such, it's important you go to sites and understand the problem and are able to take steps to prevent it.
Why Does Dampness Occur in Buildings?
Although dampness can occur in any type of building, it is most prevalent in older structures that haven't been renovated to meet current standards. The reason for this lies in the structure's "breathability", a term that describes how easily a building can absorb and remove moisture content in the air.
Modern buildings are designed to comply with state building regulations, which can give stringent guidelines on how to allow for breathability. Typically, these building codes outline how to incorporate a system of barriers in the structure that can stop water from penetrating the material. However, building regulations have become much stricter with time, and older properties were constructed without much guidance on this issue.
For this reason, old properties were constructed with entirely solid walls that did not accommodate barrier systems within the structure. When the buildings were constructed, this didn't cause much of a problem as open fires were commonplace. Open fires rely on oxygenated air, which means they quickly drew in large quantities of air through open doors and windows. This continuous intake of fresh air would have evaporated moisture in the room, meaning condensation wasn't a major problem.
Unfortunately, central heating systems made of multiple electric radiators do not have exhibit this property. As such, moisture content is allowed to remain in the property and when the air cools, can cause condensation to form.
What Are the Underlying Causes of Dampness?
Dampness mainly occurs from condensation; however, this condensation can occur due to a number of reasons:
How Can I Detect Dampness in My Home?
Dampness is a fairly easy problem to spot if you know what to look for. Unfortunately, many homeowners don't know the signs of dampness and may attribute their structural damage to other problems. As such, here's a few tell-tale signs of structural dampness to keep an eye out for:
Although the above signs are classic symptoms of dampness, it's important to have the problem confirmed by a qualified inspector. Property inspectors are fully trained at spotting dampness symptoms and will be able to offer you guidance on how to stop the problem from continuing.Share