Damp is one of the most frustrating property nasties homeowners can face. As well as being unpleasant to look at, it can sometimes cause structural damage to the building. What’s more, serious damp issues can significantly lower the value of your home — so it’s worth getting a handle on it as early on as possible.
Weather conditions in the UK, along with the age of many houses, means that damp is quite common in UK properties. But what exactly causes damp – and how much does it devalue a property? Our blog below has answered both of these questions, and more.
What is damp and what causes it?
Damp occurs when there is a presence of moisture, water and condensation within a property. If damp is left untreated, it can cause deterioration to the structure of a property, and may also result in health issues for the people living there.
While it is sometimes recommended that you consult an expert before deciding whether your property has damp, it is easily identified by its smell, and the black spots it creates on a wall or surface.
Damp is caused by excess moisture in a property. This may come about due to drying clothes inside the home, or the perspiration caused through showering and bathing.
How common is damp in the UK?
Damp is very common in properties throughout the UK, primarily due to the country’s relatively old-aging houses, in comparison to other countries.
Research released by Rentokil Property Care has found that 5.8 million British renters have experienced damp and condensation issues, as well as black spots on the walls of their homes. This is thought to be approximately 1 in 5 people.
Damp can be prevented through proper ventilation in a home. Opening windows is one common way of achieving this. However, if you want property-specific advice on dealing with damp, then you should bring in a specialist in this area.
What causes rising damp?
Rising damp happens when moisture enters the walls of a building, and travels upwards through small holes in the brickwork in a process called capillary action. The trapped water, which contains salts, can also travel through other porous materials like plasterwork, joists, and skirtings — resulting in increased aesthetic damage to these areas.
When the evaporation overcomes the capillary action, rising damp will eventually stop. This can be seen from yellow or stained ‘tide marks’ on the walls.
Rising damp is caused by a range of factors. Most buildings have a damp proof course (DPC), which is a water-resistant barrier installed at a lower level to prevent water from rising. In most cases (especially with old buildings) it could be that the DPC is no longer effective or needs replacing.
In newer buildings, ‘bridging’ can also be a cause of rising damp; wherein the ground level is raised above the DPC — or there’s a build up of debris in cavity walls.
Why does damp devalue a house?
Damp devalues a house because it is aesthetically unappealing, and because it can also incur additional costs for the new homeowner, as they try to get it fixed. Damp can cause health issues for the people living in the property, as well as structural damage to the property itself.
How much does damp devalue a property?
The existence of damp will decrease the value of your home. How much the value is affected will depend on how much there is, how easily it could be resolved, and how much the potential homeowners care.
It is generally expected that damp will devalue a property in the UK by around 10%. This percentage may vary depending on the circumstances.
What to do when you have damp in your house
There are lots of specialists throughout the UK for dealing with damp in a property. You should consult with these experts before making decisions on how to combat damp in your house.
As a general rule, it is advisable to increase natural ventilation in your property as much as possible. This is a good idea no matter what – but opening the windows can help, in the time until you bring in an expert.
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