Damp Walls – Testing and Treating Internal Walls for Dampness

how to treat damp walls

If you have damp walls it’s important you treat this problem quickly and effectively.  A damp wall may be harbouring condensation on the other side which in turn leads to mould build-up and other serious problems.  This can damage your building materials so that they need to be replaced and is also hazardous to your health.  Treating damp walls is not difficult if you understand how it occurs and know the best DIY products to use for damp walls and condensation, and to keep wall damp from returning.

Causes of Damp and Dampness On or In Walls

There are a few reasons why you may have damp walls, and these are important to consider before you start treating damp walls.  If you simply paint over dampness in walls or clean up mould growth without pinpointing the cause of damp on walls, you’ll be doing this job again and again.  Treating the cause is the only way to address the problem long-term.

One reason for damp internal walls is condensation.  This is when moisture in the air becomes solid, forming water droplets, and then clings to surfaces.  Condensation is typically found when moisture in warm air meets a cold surface; you may notice it on the outside of soda bottles after they’ve been out of the refrigerator for several minutes, or it may form on basement walls as they are often cooler than the air around them.  Light causes moisture to evaporate, so when a home is dark or spaces such as basements and cellars are dark, this causes condensation to form.

Leaking pipes behind the walls can also cause condensation as the pipes are typically cooler than the air around them, so the water condenses on the pipes rather than evaporating.  This can also cause this moisture to collect on the walls around the pipes and in turn, cause mould build-up and damage to the building materials.

Treating Damp Walls Caused by Condensation

The first step in treating damp walls and condensation is to consider the cause of condensation.  If you have leaking pipes these should be replaced immediately.  Leaking pipes are a sign of old plumbing and if one leaks, you may want to consider the risk of others leaking as well.  If the plumbing is sound then connections may need to be reinforced so you don’t have damp walls and condensation.

Damp walls are also often caused by dampness in the home; products can be used to collect moisture and humidity in basements, baths, and other dark areas where it may collect.  DampRid has a full line of products that are safe and easy to use and which collect moisture in small spaces such as closets or large spaces such as your entire cellar.  When you check with a professional as to how to treat damp walls, many will suggest these products in your home for maximum protection.

Painting Over Black Damp on Walls

Painting damp walls with anti damp paint is another way of treating damp on walls.  This type of paint dries thicker and harder than normal paint, so that it’s not as porous and therefore not as hospitable for condensation.  Before you start painting on damp walls you must remove any mould that has built up already, as painting over it on one side of a wall will still allow it to grow on the other side of the wall.  It’s also good to get damp testing done first so you know the extent of any damage done to walls by the mould build-up and to see if materials themselves need to be replaced.

Some anti damp paints come in various colours but others are just white and should be used as a base or primer for the wall.  Some are meant for interior walls and others are designed for exterior spaces such as along the foundation.  Be sure you choose the right anti damp paint and prepare your surface as you would when applying any type of paint; clean and dry it thoroughly so the paint adheres as it should and gives you a smooth finish.

If you have severe problems with dampness in the walls then you need to call a professional or specialist.  He or she can perform damp rising tests and tests for leaks to determine the best approach to your damp walls and to ensure you’re addressing the cause of excessive moisture, not just covering up the problem.  This will save you hundreds if not thousands in repair bills down the road, and may even preserve the structure of your property and your family’s health if it means keeping mould from growing around and behind damp walls.  A damp specialist will also ensure that you get a professional paint job and preserve your home’s structure if more work needs to be done to address dampness.