Types of damp in the home

Depending on the extent and type of damp problem in your home, the consequences can be quite harmful.

Problems caused by structural damp can be very serious. A wall with severe damp can be up to 50% less structurally sound, which can become a serious threat. In very extreme cases, it can even cause a building to fall down. However, damp doesn’t only affect the visible deterioration of the building, it is also detrimental to the health of those living inside.

Keep reading to find out how to tell one type of damp from another and be able to nip your problem in the bud.

Types of damp in the home

There are three main types of damp in the home. The main effects can be seen in this illustration.

Hydrotec tipos de humedades en casa

In the bathroom, bedrooms and kitchen, there is condensation damp. The most common signs are mould in the corners and fogged-up windows and/or mirrors.

In the dining room, we see rising damp moving up along the walls from the floor. Flaking paint and peeling wallpaper are the most common signs, as is saltpetre.

Finally, in the garage and basement we find lateral penetrating damp. This type of damp is only found on walls that are totally underground.

To help you understand each type of damp, below are explanations of each one, their effects and solutions.

Condensation damp

What is condensation damp?

When there is a lot of water vapour in the air and it comes in contact with a colder surface, condensation occurs. Condensation damp is more common in winter than summer because it is warmer inside the home than outside and the thermal difference is greatest this time of year.

Causes and effects of condensation damp

The most common causes of condensation damp:

  • Improper ventilation in the home.
  • Thermal contrast between inside and outside of home.
  • Daily routines, such as cooking, ironing, breathing and showering can lead to excess build-up of humidity in the home.
  • Having a very air-tight home that prevents proper ventilation.

The most characteristic effects:

  • Mould: It often appears as green, brown or black stains. It can be found in the corners of bedrooms, unventilated bathrooms, around windows, behind or inside furniture, etc.

The elderly, babies and people with allergies or respiratory problems are the most vulnerable to mould. This is why it is important to get rid of it as quickly as possible.

  • Fogged-up windows: Above all in the early morning. Glass is one of the coldest materials in a bedroom, so when water vapour in the air comes in contact with the cold surface it quickly condenses. It is easily seen in the form of weeping windows or puddles under the windows.

Getting rid of condensation damp

The article tells you how to get rid of mould on your own, but unfortunately the results aren’t permanent. If you clean the mould with bleach, it seems to disappear. But, as we haven’t tackled the root of the problem, it will surely come back.

A definitive solution for those who have already tried this trick to no success is to install a forced-air ventilation system.

Automatically, this system fills the home with heated and filtered air, eliminating condensation and its harmful effects.

Rising damp

Hydrotec tipos humedades en casa capilaridad

What is rising damp?

This type of damp is often found in old buildings without proper insulation between the exterior walls and the foundation.

Rising damp is a natural phenomenon that draws water up from the subsoil, along with mineral salts, by capillary action through the pores in the construction materials. Rising damp normally reaches a maximum height of 50 cm, but we’ve seen cases of it up to 1.20 m.

Effects of rising damp

The most characteristic effects are seen on walls:

  • Flaking paint.
  • Wallpaper and plaster that is falling off or bulging.
  • Saltpetre (hygroscopic salts).
  • Furniture damaged in the back.
  • Sensation of cold in rooms affected.
  • Bad smells.
  • In some cases, we can also see mould on the walls.

As we mentioned, the effects are found along the baseboards and never more than 1.20 meters above ground level.

Eliminating rising damp

On walls that aren’t underground, we use a gel-injection treatment. This solution creates a barrier to prevent the damp from rising from the soil into the walls.

To ensure your walls are ready as soon as possible, we offer immediate refurbishment. This consists in a macro-porous mortar that allows treated walls to breathe, expelling the excess damp

Penetrating damp

What is penetrating damp?

Penetrating damp occurs on walls that are underground and not properly waterproofed or don’t have proper drainage. These walls may be totally underground, like garages, or partially underground, like some basements.

Effects of penetrating damp

The effects of this type of damp are similar to rising damp. The difference is that they can be seen all over the walls.

  • Flaking paint.
  • Deteriorated wallpaper or plaster.
  • Saltpetre (hygroscopic salts).
  • Drips.
  • Sensation of cold.
  • Bad smells.
Hydrotec tipos humedades en casa filtración

Getting rid of penetrating damp

When there is soil on the other side of the wall, we have to apply a specific type of mortar to block that damp. To do so, we expose the face of the wall and apply technical mortar. If walls are only semi-underground, however, this treatment must be used in combination with gel injection.

For more information, we encourage you to continue reading our blog. There you’ll find all sorts of articles about these three types of damp, household tricks, advice and much more.

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