Damp please help!

20 Nov 2019
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United Kingdom
I've been having ongoing damp problems in a property ive moved into, ive been here about a year, but now getting really desperate as it's not healthy and Im worried I cant keep it under control.

It is a 1970s rectangular shaped detached bungalow with solid concrete floors (believed to have dpc due to construction era but cannot confirm - no visible membrane or vapour barrier in walls). No cracks in floors but screed isnt great quality appears to be very dusty and crumbly. I understand it to be block cavity wall with no insulation. There is good amount of loft insulation like 300mm. No central heating, but has night storage which I use from about Sept to March. Home is plenty warm enough this time of year, freezing in winter to the point of seeing breath vapour most days. There is no plasterboard/wall insulation on external walls.

I have a wool/nylon blend carpets with hessian backing and no underlay, every room except the hallway has horrible white, yellow and red moulds growing on it in various places some next to external walls, some next to internal walls. Mould on carpet under divan bed has about standard 1inch gap underneath, mould behind wood headboard has 1 inch gap away from wall. Mould on carpet and wood slats under wooden bed with about 1ft air gap above floor. Wood bed looks visibly darker like it has absorbed moisture from the air, it's darker still at the bottom like it has absorbed moisture from the ground or carpet.

Mould on internal natural wood doors believed to have a varnish/stain on them. Again hung about 1 inch off ground so not touching any potentially damp surface, they are growing the mould while suspended in the air on hinges.

Mould is visibly growing on furnishings throughout the home, particularly drawn to leather and wood surfaces. Even if not touching the floor or walls. Air gap left around all furniture from external walls of at least 1-2 inches. General musty vile smell in most rooms. :(

Most of the ceilings seem to have black mould spots on them, not as bad as the carpets, but visually there. The window frames (upvc) gets mould growing but easily wipes off, the wood windowsills do not seem to get mould.

Mould has been bleeched regularly, and treated with white vinegar regularly. And has been painted over this year and keeps coming back. I can't keep fighting this I'm losing the will to live here. Over winter I was running 2 dehumidifiers 24/7 and they was removing about 2 litres each a day, I'm not running them now as it was getting costly running them.

The mould problem was around over winter (some walls and ceilings), but seems much worse over summer (having moved to carpets and furnishings). I keep curtains open during the day, closed at night. All windows are on night vent day and night and there are 3 good double sized air bricks left open during the summer and the home feels well ventilated, to the point of feeling drafty in most rooms most of the time. The external doors are open for long periods throughout the day and all internal doors are left open so there is plenty of ventilation in all rooms.

Problem is all rooms are showing signs of damp, bar the hallway which has no heater and no external wall, but is obviously adjacent to all humidity rooms, kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms etc.

Really disheartened and don't know what to do and am getting really depressed as I can't seem to beat it. I don't dry washing indoors, always cook with lids on pans, open bathroom window when showering and keep bathroom door closed. I don't know where all the humidity is coming from, it's been a largely dry summer and even with 2 week dry spells mould has been growing away and I don't know what to do.

I get a fair bit of window condensation in winter as I tend to close everything up, this time of year as the windows are left ajar I get little to no window condensation.

The exterior render seems mostly good condition, a few odd fine settlement cracks less than 1mm. I have noticed that some of the pointing on the gable ends is cracked, could it be that rain water is trickling down into the cavity and absorbing through the foundations/wall to the concrete slab? I check the gutters regularly to remove debris and keep them clear and there are no leaks and they drain fine, but I can't check the integrity of the sewer pipework below ground. Surface water doesn't appear to pool around the house and when it rains for the most part the external walls seem dry, there is however about a 1cm gap around the house between the paving and im wondering if water could be trickling down the wall when driving rain and getting caught in the foundations this way?

There's no sign of rising damp or penetrating damp, ie theres no consistent line along external walls and no damp or mould or discolouration on the lower or upper portion of the walls. They can get visible streaming condensation in winter mostly at the top, which sometimes gets mouldy, (again about 1ft from ceiling height), but walls are all completely fine right now.

With regards to the gutters I have noticed the felt doesn't go all the way into the gutters, could rain water be pushed through the soffits/eaves
and back into the cavity? Also the boxends have visibly blown externally, and during heavy downpours I can see water dripping through the felt and through the boxends (which caused them to rot and blow out). The rest of the soffits and eaves are fine. All roof tiles are in place and don't seem dislodged. There is no staining on internal ceilings.

I have a limited budget so need to spend money wisely and get it right first time, I can't go spending money on getting the floor dpc'd if it turns out it's the roof, or the gutters, or the walls?? Any thoughts on the damp/mould issues and keeping the home warm and ventilated in winter would be appreciated!! Please help!! Need to get on top of this asap!! Thank you!!

My plan is to remove the carpets fairly imminently as I believe they are acting like a sponge for moisture and tbh they are effing rank. But before I put new flooring down (thinking on waterproof vinyl plank), I'd like to sort the reason the carpet and house is regularly so mouldy and damp everywhere... I should add also that this week I've taken to adding small low powered usb fans and putting them in spaces that traditionally don't get much air flow like under the wood bed and behind sofas. And that movement of air has definitely helped stop the mould from taking hold in those specific areas, but it's not normal to have to do this and can't be a permanent solution...
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14 Mar 2006
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Essex coast
United Kingdom
Seems a lifestyle issue, you seal up during winter and create problems lasting all summer.
You need mechanical ventilation in both kitchen and bathroom?

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