Sections in this guide (click title to view)
- 1. Information about condensation
- 2. Information about damp
- 3. Identifying damp
- 4. How to remove mould
- 5. How to reduce condensation in your home
1. Information about condensation
Condensation is a common problem in properties of all types and ages and is increasingly found in modern homes where there’s no adequate ventilation circulation.
It can contribute to the creation of black spot mould. This is often the first sign of a condensation problem and is usually when you would become aware of it.
It can also be present where there is no noticeable mould growth, such as in roof spaces and subfloor voids. This may lead to more moisture within structural timbers, making them vulnerable to fungal attack.
Causes of condensation
Condensation is water that is created when excess moisture in the air comes in to contact with cold surfaces. Moisture is produced by cooking, bathing, and drying clothes.
It occurs as a result of an imbalance between moisture vapour in the air, ventilation, heating, construction type and surface temperature.
2. Information about damp
Penetrating damp, or moisture penetration, is caused by water leaking through walls, rather than rising up through them. This is more common in older properties without cavity walls.
Damp problems can be a serious concern in any home. At best it can be a nuisance and make a room feel cold, unwelcoming and unhealthy, and at worst it can indicate structural or weatherproofing issues.
Causes of damp
Damp is normally caused by poor external maintenance such as failed guttering, discharging overflows, roofing problems, and ageing mortar joints. It can also be caused by deteriorating structures that have interfered with guttering and drainage systems.
Excess moisture from leaking pipes, or rain seeping in due to damage to the roof or around window frames is often the cause of damp.
It can also be a result of rising damp in basements or ground floors, or because of building or plumbing problems that allow water or moisture into the property.
3. Identifying damp
Signs of condensation damp are steamed up windows and walls, decay in decoration like discolouration of window panes, and the appearance of black mould.
Damp patches and mould will usually form behind large furniture, in corners of external baring walls, or around windows.
Damp from defect
Damp patches and mould will usually form in the area of the defect and beyond, due to water travel. Damp from defect will also blister decorative finishes.
Penetrating damp can be identified by moisture penetration on walls inside your house. Walls will be damp to the touch, or there will be discolouration of plaster or decorations. It’s more likely to be at a high level on external walls and more noticeable when it rains.
You can spot the signs of damp on walls because they may feel cold. Ceilings with damp will look stained and tarnished.
4. How to remove mould
When you’re removing mould, protect yourself from mould bacteria by wearing goggles, long rubber gloves and a mask that covers your nose and mouth. Open the windows, but keep doors closed to prevent bacteria spreading to other areas of the house.
Have a plastic bag ready to take away any soft furnishings, clothes and soft toys that are mouldy. Soft furnishings should be shampooed and clothes professionally dry cleaned.
Fill a bucket with water and some mild detergent, like washing-up liquid or a soap used for hand-washing clothes.
Use a rag dipped in the soapy water to carefully wipe the mould off the wall. Be careful not to brush it, as this can release mould bacteria.
When you've finished wiping the wall, use a dry rag to remove the moisture from the wall.
Afterwards, put the rags in a plastic bag and throw them away.
All the surfaces in the room should be thoroughly cleaned by either wet wiping or vacuuming to remove any bacteria.