Damp can refer to structural dampness, which is the presence of unwanted moisture in the structure of a building. It can either be the result of intrusion from the outside or condensation withing the structure itself.

Symptoms of damp

Dampness has a tendency to cause secondary damage to a building and the unwanted moisture. It enables the growth of various fungi in wood, which causes rot or health issues related to mold. Stains from the moisture, salts and from mold may appear on the areas affected by the rise in dampness. The highest airborne mold concentrations are found in buildings where significant mold infestation has occurred, which is usually the result of severe water intrusion or flood damage.

Health effects of structural damp:

There are numerous health concerns surrounding damp such as infections, allergenic or immunological illness, and non-allergenic illness. Asthma is also triggered by an allergic reaction caused by dust mites, which has been accumulating in the humid, wet regions of a building. Bacteria requires water to grow and multiply, and it is a source for the transmission of diseases. It therefore puts the occupants’ health at risk if there is any water intrusion into the indoor environment. If the water is removed and the structure dried within 2 days, the growth of mold may be prevented.

Mold can grow on almost any surface, which occurs when there are high moisture levels in he building. The high concentrations of airborne mold increases the chances of it in being inhaled. It may lead to various health problems such as:

  • Nasal and sinus congestion and a runny nose
  • Respiratory problems like wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing.
  • Coughing
  • Throat irritation
  • Sneezing or sneezing fits

Health effects that lead to asthma:

Infants may develop respiratory problems as a result of being exposed to a specific type of fungal mold, known as Penicillium. It is a genus of fungi and some of the species produce the antibiotic penicillin but others are extremely dangerous to ingest.

Signs that an infant may have mold-related respiratory problems include a persistent cough and, or, wheezing. The increased exposure to Penicillium will increase the probability of developing respiratory symptoms during the first year of life. Studies have shown that a correlation exists between the probability of developing asthma and increased exposure to Penicillium.

The type of health problems caused by mold will vary depending on each person because some are more sensitive to mold than others. People may experience heightened sensitivity to mold depending on the time and nature of exposure. Those who are at higher risk for mold allergies are people with chronic lung diseases, which may result in more sever reactions after being exposed.

How to identify damp

You can use a wide range of instruments and techniques to investigate the presence of moisture in building material. When these are used correctly, they may provide a valuable aid to investigation. The competence and experience of the person undertaking the damp investigation is often of greater importance than the equipment used. Experienced and qualified surveyors are the difference between a correct and incorrect diagnosis. Chartered building surveyors might be experienced but their reports often suggest further investigation by a qualified professional.

Preventing and treating damp

Most forms of damp can be prevented by thoughtful and careful construction. Well built modern houses include damp proofing in the form of a damp-proof course, where a barrier is formed which water cannot pass through. Bricks with a low porosity are often used for the few courses about ground level and it may help to minimize the problem.

There are a few methods to treat dampness in existing buildings and the key to the right treatment methods is a correct diagnosis of the types of damps that are affecting the building. These details will help you to get the correct treatment and to prevent future dampness on your property.

The cause of the dampness must first be completely eliminated in order to avoid further problems by using better drainage or fixing leaking pipes. There or numerous ways to deal with rising damp, including the use of of land-drains and the insertion of physical and chemical DPCs. Any affected plaster or mortar is then removed, the wall it treated and the plaster or mortar is replaced and repainted.

Surveying and treatment of structural damp might be described as confusing for the average homeowner. There are many companies that deal with damp and they will most-likely be qualified to do so. There are numerous associations out there for companies or individuals that are fully qualified to deal with damp and mold-related problems.