All buildings are surrounded by some kind of natural moisture, and some of them contain moisture created from within the building as a result of industrial processes or normal habitation.
Even though there are certain design measures that are supposed to keep the moisture out of buildings, sometimes they are inadequate. This results in dampness that affects the building material and causes damage and deterioration.
Types of Damp and How They Affect Buildings
Damp affects buildings of all types and ages. It’s one of the most common problems of homeowners throughout the country. The most common types of damp and their effects on buildings include:
This is the most commonly found type of damp occurring when moist warm air condenses on cool walls, especially in bathrooms and kitchens where a lot of moisture is produced.
This problem can be worsened by the lack of ventilation or central heating that works improperly. If condensation is not treated properly and on time, it can damage plaster and paint, as well as lead to window frame decay.
This type of damp damages the floor or wall as ground water moves up through them.
It can peel the wallpaper and paint, damage plaster or skirting boards, cause the formation of white substance on the wall due to soluble salts present in the water, and damage floor coverings and carpets.
It appears when water leaks through walls and can easily expand across your ceiling or walls horizontally, creating damp patches which intensify in color when raining.
Other ways penetrating damp can affect the building is discoloration or crumbling of coving and cornices made from timber, peeling wallpaper or blistering paint. Severe issues caused by penetrating damp are structural timber decay, dry rot, and wet rot.
14 Effects of Damp on Buildings
Here are all the ways damp can affect buildings:
1. Damp affects the building’s aesthetics by making moisture travel through ceilings and walls, forming damp patches that can ruin the building’s looks.
2. When it comes to lime plaster, it can soften and crumble due to moisture travel.
3. Dampness can damage wall decoration and painting.
4. If there’s moisture in the walls for a longer time, it can cause efflorescence – a powdery or crystalline deposit of salts on the surface of stucco, bricks, concrete, or natural stone surfaces. This can lead to the disintegration of stones, bricks, and tiles, resulting in lower strength.
5. If moisture enters the building through the floor, it can reduce the adhesion which can result in loose flooring.
6. Timber fittings like wardrobes, windows, doors, etc., which come in contact with damp floors and walls can get damaged due to buckling, warping, or dry-rotting of the timber.
7. Dampness can deteriorate electrical fittings, causing leakage of electricity and a risk of short-circuiting.
8. Dampness stimulates the growth of termites.
9. Dampness can damage floor coverings. If you have a damp floor, you won’t be able to use floor coverings.
10. Moisture leads to corrosion and rusting of metal fittings attached to ceiling, floors, and walls.
11. Dampness disintegrates the structure.
12. A continuous damp environment can damage the furniture.
13. Dampness can damage decoration of timber, wall papering, bamboo, etc.
14. Dampness can lead to bleaching, flaking, and blistering of paint.
Besides affecting your property, damp can cause problems in your health. It causes moisture in the air which can trigger and aggravate different respiratory problems, such as asthma, allergies, infections, etc.
Also, it can lead to higher energy consumption and heating costs. That’s because the moisture present in the air absorbs the heat, so your heating system is forced to work harder to compensate for the lost heat.
Damp is a bothersome and serious problem with adverse effects on buildings. It can lead to deterioration of the building which can reduce its value. It leads to decay of timber, unsightly patches on the walls, disintegrated structure, etc.
That’s why it’s crucial that you address this problem asap with a proper damp proofing solution. Even though there’s no quick solution, there are still some things you can try to fix the problem and prevent it from worsening and damaging your building even more.
For best results, you may want to hire an expert who can successfully identify the type of damp with a damp survey and treat it accordingly.