How to resolve dampness in walls | Final part

Last week we were looking into the old damp problems. We saw that even if painted often, are maintain well and take good of our property; old houses sooner or later will have humidity showing somewhere.


That is the eternal enemy of households. It is like a frightening monster that appears behind beds, on the ceiling or the bathroom. Walls look raggedy, lose colour and soon the entire house acquires a sense of darkness and abandonment. These problems will not only affect our home but also our health.


Moisture is also detrimental to health.

Allergies are becoming a more recurrent illness affecting more people, young and old. It suggests itself due to a failure of the immune system, but there are external factors that contribute promoting and worsen these states. The index of humidity in home is one of the agents that affect the most to those who suffer from respiratory problems. To prevent these problems having an adequate level of humidity in our home that should be about 45% to 65% will prevent these problems to a certain extent. So to have an adequate level of humidity inside the properties will help to alleviate this problem and as I mentioned earlier thatamount of humidity should be between 45% to 65%.

Fungi, for example, is one of the main causes of allergies. The fungi are common in places where water tends to accumulates, such as plastic curtains in bathrooms, in windows frames and in damp basements. To prevent the grow of these microorganisms wet surfaces that act as a focus of infection should be clean with diluted bleach and all rooms should be well ventilated.

Where can we obtain help?

Deep cracks, leaking pipes and capillary problems are not likely to be repaired by most members of a household. When ventilation and installation of humidifiers do not take effect, it is wise to contact a professional that can identify the source of the problem to begging with.

It is advisable to find out exactly where moisture comes from, so that the cause can be detected and it is proceeded to be repaired.

To produce a treatment without knowing the origin of its cause involves an expenditure of energy, time and money that may be wasted, since sooner or later the same humidity will be reappearing again and again. For example, moisture from leaking pipes is caused often by the bad execution of the joints and is unpredictable and hard to locate but necessary if we are to obtain a definite solution. It is recommendable to expend as much resources as it is necessary in locating the leak as it will pay on the long run.

The great evil: Condensation.

Or the so called "interstitial condensation" occurs when warm, moist air from inside a building penetrates into a wall, roof or floor construction and meets a cold surface. This causes the air to cool, lowering its capacity to carry moisture, and resulting in condensation on the cold surface.

Apart from rising damp condensation seem to be the great evil of dampness in internal walls.

The cause of condensation is the forming of condensation at the "dew point".

The dew point is the temperature at which the water vapour in air at a constant barometric pressurecondenses into liquid water at the same rate at which it evaporates. At temperatures below the dew point, water will leave the air. The condensed water is called dew when it forms on a solid surface. Obviously the higher the humidity the higher is the chances that condensation will form on a surface. The difference of temperature between both sides of a surface will also increase the chances of condensation forming on the wormer side of this surface.

Therefore thermal insulation is a great aid to stop condensation. A good example we can find it on single window glazing. It is customary in winter to see condensation forming on the inner surface. Other places which are equally bad for damp patches are the so called "thermal bridging" i.e. the front end of concrete slabs which are not properly insulated as it is covered by a single layer of brick without incorporating a proper insulation, tend to have condensation forming on the inner side of walls and ceiling junctions. Another part of the building which also suffers from condensation is the perimeter around windows and roller shutter boxes, also as a direct consequence of being poorly insulated.

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As it is impossible to know in detail every case asked in this blog, all our replies are given in good faith but we strongly suggest that you obtain private advice from a solicitor /and /or  architect who will be able to study in depth your own particular case.

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