Condensation Problems Caused by Damp

condensation problems

Having damp in the home is not unusual in the UK, where the weather is typically humid and damp many days of the year. This means many homes have condensation problems inside, with condensation mould being common and damage being done to the building materials and even the foundation. It’s imperative that homeowners in the UK understand their condensation solutions and how to address a condensation problem, and that they know where to go for appropriate condensation advice when they do notice excessive moisture in the home and especially when they notice condensation mould.

To better understand the problems caused by damp condensation, consider what causes those problems, the difference between damp and condensation, and then how to address your problems with damp in the home.

What Causes Condensation Problems

There are many causes of condensation problems in the UK, the weather being just one of them. The definition of condensation refers to a change of matter from a solid to a liquid state; when it comes to water becoming condensation, it changes from solid water to steam or vapour. Weather is a factor in that the air can only hold so much water before it becomes saturated, and the moisture will then cling to other surfaces if it does not evaporate.

Water runs downward, and unless there is something to cause it to dry, it will cling to certain hospitable objects as it falls. Building materials such as wood, drywall, carpeting, drapery fabrics, and most paints are very hospitable to water condensation, which is why there is often a problem with damp or condensation in many UK homes and flats. The air becomes saturated with moisture and it must cling to something inside if it does not evaporate.

A very hospitable environment for damp or condensation is also part of the problem as to why it develops in a home or flat. Light dries up or evaporates moisture, so if a home is dark, this encourages damp to stay and grow. Basements and cellars are two favourite places for condensation to form because they are dark, with few elements to dry up the condensation of moisture that naturally develops and then falls into a basement area.

Interstitial condensation occurs when warm, moist air from inside a building penetrates into a wall, roof or floor construction and meets a cold surface. The water vapour condenses when meeting the cold surface, causing condensation. You may see this same change occurring when you note moisture developing along a cold soda bottle that is put in the warm air; that dampness that develops along the bottle is actually a form of interstitial condensation, although the term is typically used only for what happens inside a building.

Is Your Problem Damp or Condensation?

What is the difference between damp or condensation? Damp refers to the condition of the air itself, whereas condensation is something that clings to a surface. When you walk into a basement or cellar you may feel as if the air is particularly moist, and this is damp. When moisture is clinging to surfaces, this is condensation. Often condensation and damp are used interchangeably and they both may cause the same problems; damp causes condensation to form because there is so much moisture in the air, and when condensation forms, the air feels damp because it adds to the moisture content of the air.

Both damp and condensation need to be addressed in the home, as condensation mould may develop and form when a damp environment is ignored. A damp environment is a very hospitable environment for condensation and this may lead to damage to building materials such as wood and drywall and even insulation. In extreme cases it may even crack foundations and cause structural damage.

Loft Condensation – Is It Common?

Having condensation in a loft is not uncommon in the UK, because of the weather and because of the building materials used in designing and building lofts. Many are also older and were built before builders realised that condensation may be a problem behind walls and around building materials, and rarely did they take the extra step of adding vapour or moisture barriers in the walls of lofts.

Basement lofts and those on the ground floor may be especially susceptible to damp or condensation, since water falls. Upper flats may be more prone to damp since heat rises and warm air holds water better than cold air.

Most Common Condensation Solutions

There are a few simple tricks you can try at home to address condensation in a loft or condensation problems in your home. A dehumidifier will help to remove much of the damp from a home in order to keep condensation from forming. This can be especially important to use during the summer months as warm air holds more moisture and it will be more humid during summer. A dehumidifier is also good to use in a basement or cellar where humidity may collect and you may notice it being more damp because of the coolness and lack of light; it will help with condensation removal in this area.

Anti damp paint can also help when you have condensation problems. This paint provides a barrier between the moisture in the air and your drywall or building materials. Regular paint is porous and allows water to collect and sit on its surface, but anti damp paint dries thicker and is not as porous as regular paint. This may allow for much less condensation in your home and is one of the best ways to avoid condensation mould from forming.

Moisture barriers can also be installed to help with condensation problems. These are pocketed materials added behind your drywall which allow for more air to circulate, which in turn eliminates much of the condensation that may form. They too will help with condensation problems in many homes and flats. These barriers should be installed by a professional that has experience in addressing condensation problems and condensation mould in a home.