Many people often confuse condensation and dampness but they are in fact quite different. There are several reasons why there may be dampness in a property and it is usually related to building defects.
Some common defects are:
- Cracking of walls
- No chimney cap
- Missing roof slates
- Defective seals around windows and doors
- Unstable foundations
- Leaking pipes
Dampness leads to serious problems like Rising damp, Dry rot, Wet rot and Woodworm which can erode the value and even the safety of your home/property.
Condensation is a common problem that occurs in all properties. Landlords and property owners seem to be fighting a constant battle with condensation and mould. Condensation may go unnoticed until mould appears or rotting of materials occur. The three factors that cause condensation are:
- Moisture level of the property
- The temperature of the property
- Surface temperature (when warm air meets cold glass or walls)
Condensation is at its worst during colder months as windows and doors are kept closed to keep the property warm. This allows water vapor to build up causing the formation of water droplets. This then leads to the development of mould.
Often, landlords and property owners are unaware of the impact that poor/inadequate ventilation can have on a building. Poor ventilation can cause condensation and in turn can lead to problems with mould and rot in fittings, fixtures and furniture. We see time and time again, especially in rented accommodation, that vents are blocked or stuffed to avoid draughts coming through. Vents have a purpose and we advise that your property has the sufficient ventilation it needs. Day to day activities in the household can create a lot of moisture in the air and if the property is not ventilated water vapour will pass through wood, ceilings and insulation.
Anti-draught wall vents provide your property with a sufficient air flow without causing a draught. The vent has an adjustable airflow setting, a dust and insect filter and a telescopic pipe for flexibility.
- Reduces the risk of carbon monoxide production
- Minimises the risk of condensation
- Reduces harmful pollutants in the building
- Provides a fresh air supply
Are You Experiencing Condensation as a Result of Cold Bridging?
Cold bridges (also known as thermal bridges) are caused by poor insulation and/or bridging within the structure of the building. These can also cause condensation. Examples of cold bridges are:
- Reveals around doors and windows
- Holes made by pipes
- Junctions between walls, roofs and floors
If cold bridging is a problem, the application of Suretherm anti-condensation paint can help to eliminate the cold area. This paint forms a thermal barrier between the cold surface and the warm air. As the air is insulated against the colder wall surface, condensation is controlled. This in turn inhibits mould and fungal growth.
Mould Growth and Effects on Health
Mould grows on organic materials in the home and feeds off moisture. Mould often appears black, green or blue. Although it cannot feed on inorganic materials such as glass, plastic or metal we often see it growing on a layer of dust/dirt present on these surfaces. Mould spores are like seeds that, when released, can be carried to new locations by water or air. These spores can survive extreme conditions and are found everywhere.
Exposure to mould can provoke allergies. It has been known to cause asthma attacks or worsen chronic asthma. Other symptoms such as itchy and watery eyes, congestion, tightness of the chest and many more have been caused from mould inside the home.
To control mould growth the following three steps must be followed.
- Kill the roots and sterilise the area
- Address the underlying problem (Ventilation or cold bridge)
- Treat surface to prevent regrowth
- To kill the roots of mould and sterilise the area you must spray the affected area and 1 metre beyond in all directions with a steriliser and mould killer
This should be worked into the surface using a sponge and left to soak for 30 Minutes.
After 30 Minutes the surface should be washed down with warm soapy water.If there is severe mould growth, then repeat the process when the surface has dried.
To prevent regrowth an anti-mould additive should be added to the final paint or wallpaper paste.
Can also be added to:
- Water based ‘contract’ emulsion
- Vinyl silk paints
- Oil based paint such as Gloss or Satin paints
- Tile adhesive
- Tile Grout
Identification and Treatment
If you are experiencing condensation, mould or dampness in your property it is important to find out what is causing it. When you know the cause you can then take the necessary steps needed to repair your property and limit the moisture in the air. Leaving these issues untreated can lead to more serious problems in your property that may result in costly and unnecessary renovations.