FAQ about penetrating damp

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Penetrating damp questions

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding penetrating damp. Click to reveal the answers.

Q1: How to identify penetrating damp?

Q2: Is penetrating damp dangerous?

Q3: How can I tell whether I have penetrating damp or condensation?

Q4: What are the penetrating damp symptoms?

Q5: What are the common penetrating damp causes? 

Q6: What is water ingress?

Q7: I would like to know how to stop water ingress?

Q8: Penetrating damp health risks – what are they?

Q9: Can you recommend any DIY penetrating damp solutions?

Q10: Does cavity wall insulation cause dampness?

Q11: I have penetrating damp within the chimney breast – What should I do?

Q12: What does water ingress mean?

Q13: Does penetrating damp cause mould?

Q14: How serious is penetrating damp?

Q15: How to diagnose penetrating damp?

Q16: How to dry penetrating damp?

Q17: How to treat water ingress?

Q18: Penetrating damp health issues – Should I be worried?

Q19: Penetrating damp house insurance – is it covered?

Q20: What is penetrating damp mould?

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Q1: How to identify penetrating damp?

The common tell tale signs of a penetrating damp problem can be random patches of damp over internal walls, a musty damp smell and the growth of black mould. If you notice these issues, make note of where the damp issue is within the property and go outside the property to see if you can see any potential reasons/sources within the area that might be causing the issue such as a broken down pipe, missing slates. Mind to look inside as well for possible defective plumbing issues or burst water pipes. To learn more, click on the link below.

Signs of penetrating damp

Q2: Is penetrating damp dangerous?

Damp in general can cause respiratory health problems, especially amongst elderly people and children or people with asthma. Dangerous is a bit of a strong word, but depending on a person’s health, it might not be healthy to an individual.

Learn more about penetrating damp

Q3: How can I tell whether I have penetrating damp or condensation?

Penetrating damp is basically water that has managed to penetrate through the building structure. Look out for a leaky roof, burst water pipes, broken gutters or perhaps defective plumbing. Condensation on the other hand is typically caused the lifestyle of people within the property.

Learn more about condensation  

Q4: What are the penetrating damp symptoms?

Penetrating damp symptoms include damp patches on your walls, damaged plaster, black mould growth and a musty smell. The damp timber, caused through penetrating damp, could lead to even bigger problems as this is exactly what a wet rot, or even worst, a dry rot infestation looks for to thrive.

What is penetrating damp?

Q5: What are the common penetrating damp causes?

Common causes include burst water pipe, leaky roof, broken gutters, defective plumbing, cracks in the masonry, faulty or failed water management systems. Penetrating damp can also be caused through increased grounds levels around the walls of your property.

Common property problems 

Q6: What is water ingress?

Water ingress is a term used to describe water entering a property, usually through a building defect such as a blocked gutter, leaky roof, failed damp proof course or deterioration of mortar within the brickwork joints. Water ingress can also be caused through faulty plumbing.

Roof problems & tips 

Q7: I would like to know how to stop water ingress?

First, identify the source of moisture. Find where is the water coming from and how is it getting into the property. Then repair the defect to stop further moisture from entering the property. Then finally, consider what repair works need done on the affected area.

Property problems & tips

Q8: Penetrating damp health risks – what are they?

Damp leads can lead to black mould which causes an allergic reaction leading to sneezing, red eyes, a skin rash, or a runny nose. It can cause issues for people who suffer from asthma. The symptoms are particularly prone to affect elderly people, young children or individuals with respiratory issues.

Q9: Can you recommend any DIY penetrating damp solutions?

The DIY part of a penetrating damp problem is establishing the cause of water ingress which will either be due to a building or plumbing defect. This could be a leaky roof which may be due to some missing slates. Perhaps the washing machine or dishwasher is letting out water. Check the pipes behind these units to make sure they are fitted correctly. After using some DIY to stop the water ingress, you will need to call the professionals to establish the damage penetrating damp has caused to the property’s timber.

Penetrating damp DIY tips

Q10: Does cavity wall insulation cause dampness?

In some cases, where the source of moisture is external, it may cause dampness as cavity wall insultion has been known to absorb moisture/damp and ultimately bridge the gap between the outside wall and the inside plasterboard lining.

More about cavity wall insulation 

Q11: I have penetrating damp within the chimney breast – What should I do?

You will need to arrange for remedial works to the chimney before the water ingress starts causing other problems. Once you have stopped the penetrating damp issue within the chimney, you can then look to resolve any damp issues that have occurred as a consequence of the chimney issue inside the property.

Q12: What does water ingress mean?

It means water has entered the property. This most commonly occurs through property defects such as a burst water pipe, broken gutters, plumbing issues or a leaky roof.

More on burst water pipes

Q13: Does penetrating damp cause mould?

Yes, it can do. Excess moisture within a property can lead to black mould problems.

Learn about black mould

Q14: How serious is penetrating damp?

Serious, as, besides its usual symptoms, it creates the perfect damp environment for Serpula lacrymans to fester. This wood destroying fungus, better known as dry rot, can seriously damage the timber structure of a property and make it unsafe to live in. 

Penetrating damp explained

Q15: How to diagnose penetrating damp?

Damaged plaster, random patches of damp on the internal walls, black mould growth, musty smells are all signs of penetrating damp. Also, look out for property defects such as a leaky roof, burst water pipe, broken gutter or any plumbing issues.

What is penetrating damp?

Q16: How to dry penetrating damp?

By firstly eliminating the defect that is causing the water ingress and then monitoring the plaster work to see if it starts to dry out. Depending on the plaster used on your property, you may find the plaster remains wet and stained. If that is the case, we would suggest you organise to have a plaster come in and replace the plaster with specialist salt retardant plaster. In addition and depending on how had the penetrating damp was, you might want to consider a wall membrane behind the plaster. You can learn more about penetrating damp repair by clicking on the link below.

More about penetrating damp treatment

Q17: How to treat water ingress?

Firstly, you need to establish the source of moisture, i.e. where the water is coming from and why. Once the source is established, arrange to have the property defects fixed. Once the source of the moisture is fixed you can then look to repair the water ingress issue that have occurred inside the property. For more information about treating a water ingress issue, click on the link below

DIY tips to stop penetrating damp

Q18: Penetrating damp health issues – Should I be worried?

It is rare that health issues occur due to penetrating damp, however, depending on the extent of the damp issue and the health of the occupants, it can be potentially harmful. The most common health problems that arise from a damp property are those that affect the respiratory system. These can include skin rash, runny nose, sneezing and red eyes. Damp can also lead to black mould growth which produces a substance called allergens. This can cause an allergic reaction if touched or inhaled.

Q19: Penetrating damp house insurance – is it covered?

The initial source of the water ingress may be covered, however, penetrating damp is considered a wear and tear issue therefore most insurance companies would not cover the issue. Our best advice is that if you are concerned you should check with your insurance provider for clarification.

Q20: What is penetrating damp mould?

It is black mould resulting from a penetrating damp problem. Penetrating damp can be caused by building or plumbing defects that allows water to enter the property. The moisture from the water can lead to damp and mould problems within the property.

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