How to Spot Damp When Viewing a Property

The word ‘damp’ strikes fear into the heart of any homeowner or prospective buyer, and in many cases purchases have fell through after damp has been unearthed in a property under offer.

Unfortunately damp can affect any home, and the associated health and comfort problems cause an issue for any individual that crosses its path, however, with the right know-how you can spot the signs of damp whilst viewing a home and protect yourself and your family from moving into a home that is wriggled with rising damp, penetrating damp or condensation.

Here we reveal the five tell-tale signs that could indicate the home you are viewing is harbouring a serious damp problem…

1. Damp patches on walls, ceilings and floors

The visible signs of damp are not always easy to spot, and damp patches on walls, ceilings and floors can be concealed for a short period with a quick lick of paint or furniture rearrangement. Whilst many sellers complete a quick spot of DIY before bringing their piece of real estate to market, viewers should keep a look out for patches of fresh paint that may have been used to cover up a damp problem. Peeling wallpaper or paint can also prove to be a positive indicator of damp.

If you are viewing a property following a period of heavy rainfall, damp patches may also become more visible. Appearance of damp patches after rain may be a sign of penetrating damp. Penetrating damp occurs when moisture enters the property through the roof or walls and this issue can be caused by external structural defects, cracked rendering, poor pointing or faulty flashing and guttering.

2. Water beading on windows and walls

Condensation is a common occurrence in all properties, however, it can also be the result of particularly high humidity levels. Condensation can be identified by water beading or running water on windows, doors and other surfaces around the property. In the majority of cases, condensation can be easily and cheaply resolved by improving ventilation. However, severe condensation can also resonate within the structure of the building itself by penetrating walls causing other long term problems for its future owner.

3. Pungent odors

Whether you have encountered damp before or not, the pungent and musty odor associated with a serious damp problem is unmistakable. Pay close attention to rooms renowned for poor ventilation such as basements, kitchens and bathrooms, and take a deep breath. The smell of damp cannot be concealed easily, and will indicate that these areas or the entire property is a breeding ground for damp and mold.

Minor damp problems and odors can be easily resolved, depending the type of damp and the extent of the damage. Many damp problems can be eased using a dehumidifier, a handy appliance that extracts excess moisture and expels dry air to promote a damp and odor-free environment. Your survey will highlight whether the damp can be rectified or if the problem is more of an issue than anticipated.

4. Mold and mildew growth

The growth of mold and mildew is perhaps one of the most concerning signs of damp within a home, and can provide evidence that this damp problem has been left untreated for quite some time. Mold and mildew thrive in damp conditions and spores quickly grow on walls, floors, ceilings and other surfaces in areas of high humidity, especially in moisture-prone areas like bathrooms, kitchens and utility rooms.

As well as making the property an unpleasant place to live, mold and mildew growth can cause serious health problems and increase symptoms of existing medical problems and allergies. Again peeling wallpaper and paint can be sign that mold, mildew and damp are lurking beneath the surface.

5. Furniture and fixture damage

As well as affecting the condition of walls and ceilings, damp can also resonate in wooden furnishings and fixtures such as floorings and window casements. Continuous exposure to damp will cause porous materials like wood to decay with irreparable results. When viewing a property keep an eye out for furniture, frames and flooring that has become warped and weak due to moisture exposure.

Choosing the right property for you is not an easy task, but with these five tell-tale signs you can pick your next home with confidence and move into a safe and damp-free environment.

About Martin

Martin Davies is from the Air and Water Centre , the UK’s leading specialist in dehumidification. A&WC have the perfect solutions for your humidity problems with expert advice and their extensive range of humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air purifiers and air curtains.

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