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Low-level damp patches on internal walls

Discussion in 'Building' started by baddave1982, 13 Jan 2014.

  1. baddave1982

    baddave1982

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    Hi all, I've got some damp patches towards the bottom of a couple of internal walls that I don't really know how to deal with. The damp is mainly on walls around, and at the back of, the chimney breast but there's also a patch the other side of a door frame from those. Hopefully there should be some pictures below of the damp bits and how they relate to each other.

    I'd be really grateful if anyone could suggest either potential causes and/or how I could check these out either myself or by getting a builder / someone else to have a look.
     
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  3. dishman

    dishman

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    The first thing to do is eliminate yourself and how you use your house as the cause.

    Is this seasonal, has it only appeared during the winter?

    Do you do any of the following:

    1) Dry clothes in doors on radiators?
    2) Do you have active fan vents in the kitchen and bathroom? Do they Work?
    3) How is your house ventillated?
    4) How do you use your heating? What temperature do you have it set at/when does it come on?
    5) Do you have a tumble dryer. condensing or Vented?

    Elimitate youself as the cause or a contributor to the cause before getting people to quote for expensive solutions which will not fix the problem....
     
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  4. baddave1982

    baddave1982

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    Thanks for replying dishman.

    The damp patches have been there most of the year but are definitely more pronounced over last couple of months.

    Answers:
    1 occasionally, generally just hang stuff up around the house though
    2 no
    3 I know there's a few air bricks dotted around but not much else I don't think
    4 a bit of a quick blast in the morning before I get up then an hour or two in the evening. Have it medium temperature I guess, don't have specific temps on thermostat / boiler
    5 nope, too much of a skinflint!

    I'm not especially bothered about the cosmetic effects, just want to be sure it's not going to cause, or turn out be a symptom of, something more serious.
     
  5. dishman

    dishman

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    With regard to number 5 - How do you dry your clothes? Laundrette?

    Furthermore, I assume you have upvc double glazing, do you get condensation on these windows anywhere in the house.

    Also, you say internal walls. What is on the other side of the chimney, is that the external wall or another room?
     
  6. baddave1982

    baddave1982

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    I normally hang stuff on the landing bannister or on a clothes horse in the conservatory in the hope it will stop the househgetting too damp. Having said that, I've hung stuff in the living room and kitchen a bit recently so that could have exacerbated things.

    Yes I have double glazing but generally no condensation apart from sometimes in the bedroom in the morning and occasionally in the kitchen whilst cooking.

    The chimney and fireplace are in my living room and back onto the kitchen so completely internal. Sorry, should've made my crude drawing a bit clearer! If it makes any difference the pink/purple photos are in the living room (left-hand side of sketched layout) while the whiteish walls are the ones in the kitchen (right-hand side of sketched layout and either side of the doorway).

    Thanks again for taking the time to help, it's much appreciated.
     
  7. dishman

    dishman

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    This could easily be internally generated damp. The only way to tell is by changing your habits and seeing if the situation improves. This is a free and most cost effective way to diagnose the problem and eliminating you as a cause.

    It looks as if you do not have enough ventillation in the house and the moist air is condensing low down on internal walls on cold spots, behind doors or behind furniture.

    There is not enough air circulation in the house.

    You should (small cost) install active vents in bathroom and kitchen with humidistats. They will only come on if the air is too moist/damp.

    Maybe invest in a vented tumble dryer or take your washing to the laundrette to dry (their machines can dry a huge load very quickly).

    Use heating more effectivly, dont let it get too cold as that encourages the moist air to condense on to a cold surface...

    Basically Read these as a start:

    http://www.bolton.gov.uk/sites/DocumentCentre/Documents/Condensation and Mould.pdf

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2005/05/10103020/30217

    An average household will put 10 litres a day into the air, If you do not have good enough air circulation and ventillation, it has no where to go, except to condense on a cold surface...

    Once you have tried to these methods to reduce the problem, if it is still there and you have taken all the recommended steps, then you may need to investigate further....
     
  8. saladdays

    saladdays

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    Is that an electric fire? The reason I ask is that you might have a blocked flue without even knowing it, therefore no ventilation. Rain might be coming down the chimney and it has no-where to go. Does the chiney breast have air vents? Is the chimney capped?
     
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  9. baddave1982

    baddave1982

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    Dishman, thanks again, I'll have a look at those pages and see if changing some of my habits makes a difference. Will also have a look at getting vents installed as suggested.

    Saladdays, it's a gas fire, albeit one that I don't use as it needs fixing. I'm not sure on the vents, caps etc for the chimney, only moved in last year as my first house so am a serious novice...
     
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  11. dishman

    dishman

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    Saladdays has a good point, although that would not explain the damp on the other side behind the door.

    But it is somthing to check anyway. Your chimney should have a cowl on the top to help prevent rain getting in, but allow ventillation when/if you ever use it again... basically the chimney should have a pot with a cover of some sort on top.

    If the damp suggestions dont work then you may want to get someone out to check the chimney is clear etc...
     
  12. conny

    conny

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    Another possibility is the wall plaster may extend behind the skirting boards to ground level and bridging the damp course. If this is the problem you need to hack the plaster off to just above damp proof barrier level and fit taller skirting boards. Is the kitchen floor higher than the living room floor as the skirting boards look smaller in height.
     
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  13. baddave1982

    baddave1982

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    Thanks Conny, i've attached a photo of a bit of wall where i've taken the skirting board off to get a bit of furniture in - not a great photo but quick and easy way to do it (and yes i probably should do some dusting...)! that bit of wall is in the same room as the fire / chimney but the other side of the doorframe. to be honest i'm not sure what i should be looking at on it. and re the floors, they're the same level in the living room and kitchen albeit with different size skirting boards.

    dishman, noted. i've got a guy coming to sort my tv aerial in the next week or two so will ask him if he can have a quick look at the chimney to see if it's covered as I can't really tell. that makes sense to me thinking about it as the damp patch is higher closer to the chimney and particularly around the fire.

     
  14. conny

    conny

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    Plaster doesn't appear to be bridging the damp course in that pic so assuming it didn't come off when you removed the skirting I think you can rule out my thoughts. Hope you manage to get to the bottom of it. If you do be sure to let us know for future reference.
     
  15. baddave1982

    baddave1982

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    will do Conny.

    and thanks again to all of you, nice to know there's still people out there prepared to help out of the goodness of their heart!
     
  16. baddave1982

    baddave1982

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    Hi all, quick update on this. Problem hasn't really gone away despite drying clothes outside or in the conservatory and making sure I air the house a lot more.

    Have also checked the chimneys are all covered so not sure whst the issue is...

    I've taken off the skirting board near the fire place to have a look as per photo below. Additionally I've noticed a little damp in kitchen near the ceiling although this is below the bath / shower so suspect it could be that.

    I'd appreciate anybody's thoughts on any of this!


     
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