Recent research has suggested that wrongly installed cavity wall insulation can lead to extensive damp problems, which are much more common than once thought. Here’s a quick guide on what to look for if you’re concerned about damp walls in your home.
1. Is your home at risk?
First of all, you need to identify if you live in a high risk property. If your home is exposed to high levels of wind-driven rain or located in an unsheltered position, or if the external walls have cracks in the brickwork or rendering, you may be more likely to experience damp. Whilst none of these factors will directly cause your home to have damp walls, it’s definitely something to watch out for.
Condensation is the most common kind of damp, and is often likely to appear in homes that have had insulation retrofitted into wall cavities that were originally designed to be able to ‘breathe’. It’s caused by moist air hitting the cooler surfaces of the walls, forming small water droplets. You might notice dark mould appearing around windows and an unpleasant smell.
3. Penetrating damp
This is a key issue for walls with faulty cavity insulation, and results when water penetrates through the outer wall of your home and soaks through the insulation, showing up as damp patches on walls and ceilings, which are likely to worsen when it rains.
4. Gaps in your insulation
If insulation has been poorly installed, it may have spaces in the cavity which are not being filled; this can lead to patches of black mould appearing which are often caused by condensation. Common areas for this to happen are near ground level, between or below windows and at ceiling level in upstairs rooms.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and it’s important to remember that if you think you have a problem with damp walls in your home, be proactive! It’s much easier and cheaper to rectify damp problems at an early stage, rather than leaving them to cause much more expensive and potentially irreversible damage.