Damp and mould do not discriminate. Whatever the type of structure, damp can strike. An estimated 6% of all housing in the United Kingdom suffers from damp, and it is a problem that affects commercial premises on a similar scale.
The first step in eliminating damp permanently is to identify the source. Quick fixes might mask over the problem for a while, but it will keep recurring unless the root cause is dealt with directly.
Types of Damp
There are three main types of damp that can affect your property. Before you can find a solution, you need to identify which type of damp you are dealing with.
This type of damp primarily affects skirting boards and walls. It is caused by groundwater moving up through a floor or wall.
Water leaking through walls causes this type of damp. It can be identified as damp patches that extend horizontally across ceilings or walls, as opposed to climbing vertically as with rising damp. Penetrating damp is usually the result of a structural problem with the building, such as cracks in the wall or a roof that needs replacing. Internal leaks such as those affecting sink or bath pipes can also cause penetrating damp.
This is the most common form of damp and affects most properties to a lesser or greater degree. This damp takes the form of condensation or moist air on walls, typically in kitchens or bathrooms. Condensation is often a worse problem in winter since walls are colder than the air inside. It can appear as droplets on walls or windows, which may begin to produce dark mould if left unfixed. Untreated condensation can damage plaster and paint, and even cause your window frames to begin decaying. Poor ventilation makes it worse.
Fixes for damp and mould
Once you have identified the type of damp affecting your property, you can put the right remedy in place. Condensation is the easiest to tackle. If caught early enough, mould growth caused by condensation can be fixed simply by cleaning with an anti-fungal treatment. If well developed, it may be necessary to have the mould treated professionally or to paint over affected areas with fungicidal paint. Improving ventilation will help lower condensation and prevent mould from reappearing in the future.
For rising damp, a damp-proof membrane made of a water impervious material can be laid under concrete floors to prevent moisture from coming through. When combined with a damp proof course injected into the walls, this membrane will prevent moisture from seeping through your floors and walls. This is not a cheap fix and will require a certain amount of structural work.
Fixing penetrating damp is usually a case of identifying where the water is coming from, whether a cracked pipe or a leak in the roof. Repairing those problems and giving your property adequate time to dry will usually be enough to fix penetrating damp. The risk is that long-term leaks may have caused structural damage, so be sure to get a thorough assessment.
Who is responsible for damp repairs?
Again, whether the landlord or tenant of a commercial property is responsible for carrying out repairs for damp or mould depends on the underlying cause. In brief, if repairs are needed for rising or penetrating damp, it is usually the landlord that is responsible as it is considered a structural issue as defined by the Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.
If the damp has been caused by condensation, it will often fall to the tenant to carry out repairs, as it is deemed an issue brought about through use of the property.
If you need more information on damp issues in a property contact our team today.