Damp typically affects older housing more so than newer homes, but that is not to say new builds are immune, far from it they can have all manner of damp issues it is just newer houses are usually configured to better deal with damp when they are first built.
Homes built in the last 50-60 years will typically have cavity walls to help prevent damp, along with damp coursing to prevent rising damp as well. A damp course is a waterproof layer near the base of the wall, which prevents rising damp, they can also be at the top of a wall to stop damp water passing from the outside of a building to the inside.
Older properties would often be void of any damp proof coursing, or a non porous stone was used for the first few layers of masonry at the base of the building. However over time these often become porous and allow water to be soaked through into the interior walls and create rising damp.
Ensuring your damp coursing is working fine is of paramount importance, and if it isn’t you should seek out professional advice from a damp proofing company or even a building contractor. The cost of replacing or repairing a damp course can vary, but it is well worth it. There are a variety of DIY options for damp coursing, such as the high pressure injection of specialised liquids into the walls, but if you aren’t sure what you are doing this can be tricky.
Poor guttering can also lead to damp problems, as leaky or blocked guttering will allow the water to poor down the side of the property and if it is consistent without time to dry (such as in the winter, or particularly rainy seasons) it can lead to damp on the outer walls that can soak through to the inner walls. This damp can lead to all sorts of structural issues along with the usual damp problems inside the home such as mould build ups.
Replacing your guttering, or affecting repairs can also be very tricky, and once again it is always best to employ the services of a professional for replacement guttering or guttering repairs. This is even more important if you live in a terrace or semi detached house, as any maintenance you carry out on your guttering can affect your neighbours as well.
The last issue that you need to be aware of is your roof. Cracks and holes in your roofing can cause leakage into your home, and though you may not notice this as it could be very slight, it can cause issues over time. Again many roofs are internally protected against damp with waterproof membranes, but some are not and these can become damages as well and these are there to provide protection from very small water leakage. If you start to notice a stale smell in your loft space you may have a damp issue and you may need some roof repairs.
As always you can do this yourself and it may be a simple enough job, but remember you are going to be high up and if you are not careful and know what you are doing, you could cause even more damage while up there. It is advisable to seek out a reputable roofer or roofing company and you will find that most can easily repair the affected areas without much hassle.
As long as you’re roofing, guttering and damp coursing is up to standard you should be well protected from outside damp. Inside damp can be another issue altogether and this is typically caused by condensation; we will aim to cover this in a future article.