Unsightly Mould Could Indicate More Serious Problems
Many assume mould is a minor inconvenience. But left untreated, it can attack the very structure of your home.
If you live in an older property, the chances are, you have had the occasional problem with damp. Many see it is an inevitable price to pay when living in a building that was constructed in the days before central heating, power showers, thick loft insulation and the other components that can turn a family home into its own miniature eco-system.
While a small area of mould forming on the wall or furniture might not seem like a big deal, it can be the first outward sign of something far more serious going on behind the scenes. The worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand – take a good look to find out what’s going on, and caught early, timber treatment services can prevent a minor inconvenience from turning into a major renovation project.
Where does the damp come from?
There are four main sources of damp in domestic homes, and understanding which you are facing is essential to resolving the problem and preventing a recurrence:
- Condensation is by some margin the most common cause, and we typically bring it on ourselves. Double glazed windows and cavity wall insulation keep us warm and increase thermal efficiency, but without the right ventilation, they produce a perfect environment for condensation to form. The classic signs to watch for are misted windows and moisture droplets on sills and walls.
- Rising damp is a natural process by which ground water gradually rises up the walls by way of capillary action. Modern properties have a damp proof course to prevent this, but if it is either absent or it fails, rising damp can be a real problem.
- Penetrating damp is when rainwater finds its way in via defects in the building’s construction, for example missing rooftiles or defective flashing. Here, water saturates into the property and can rapidly cause damage to the internal structure.
- Lateral damp penetration occurs when you have earth retaining walls that are constructed below ground. In this case, hydrostatic pressure forces ground water through the wall, leading to severe damp.
What are the consequences?
Damp can cause serious structural damage to a home, literally destroying it from within. In older properties, the timbers can form three quarters of the house’s structure, so left unchecked, the consequences do not bear thinking about.
There are two types of rot that can affect the timbers: wet rot and dry rot. The first is easy to spot – it is often characterised by black fungus that grows on the timber and walls, and when it gets severe, you will see the wood itself breaking down and turning spongy.
Dry rot is, however, the most dangerous because the fungi can spread so quickly, literally eating the structure of your house. It develops fastest in those hidden areas under floorboards and behind stud walls, where ventilation is at its worst. Affected wood often has a white fungal growth, and it will become dry, cracked and crumbly.
If you see signs of wet or dry rot in your home, don’t panic – the most important thing is to take action quickly, that way the spread can be halted and the damage can be repaired quickly and at the lowest possible cost.