Common Causes of Dampness in Properties

Dampness in houses can be a persistent and damaging issue if left unchecked. It not only affects the aesthetics of your home but can also lead to health problems and structural damage over time. Understanding the causes of dampness and knowing how to fix them is essential for maintaining a dry and healthy living environment. Here are some common causes of damp in houses and effective solutions to address them:

Common Causes of Dampness in properties

  1. Condensation

Cause: Condensation occurs when warm, moist air comes into contact with cooler surfaces, such as windows, walls, or ceilings, leading to water droplets forming.


  • Increase Ventilation: Improve air circulation by opening windows or installing vents in kitchens, bathrooms, and utility rooms.
  • Use Extractor Fans: Install and use extractor fans in high moisture areas to expel humid air outside.
  • Insulate Cold Surfaces: Insulate cold surfaces like windows and external walls to reduce the temperature differential and minimize condensation.
  1. Penetrating Damp

Cause: Penetrating damp occurs when water from outside penetrates through walls or roofs due to defects like cracks, damaged pointing, or faulty guttering.


  • Repair Roof and Gutters: Ensure roofs and gutters are well-maintained and free from leaks or blockages.
  • Seal Cracks and Gaps: Fill cracks in external walls and around windows and doors to prevent water ingress.
  • Waterproof External Walls: Apply waterproof coatings or treatments to external walls to repel moisture.
  1. Rising Damp

Cause: Rising damp happens when groundwater is drawn up through porous building materials like brick or stone, usually due to a failed or absent damp-proof course (DPC).


  • Install or Repair DPC: Install a new DPC or repair the existing one to prevent moisture rising from the ground.
  • Improve Drainage: Ensure adequate drainage around the property to divert water away from foundations.
  • Treat Walls: Treat affected walls with a specialist damp-proofing solution or membrane to prevent further moisture absorption.
  1. Leaking Pipes or Plumbing Issues

Cause: Leaking pipes, faulty plumbing fixtures, or hidden water leaks can contribute to damp patches or mold growth.


  • Fix Leaks Promptly: Repair any leaks in pipes, taps, or plumbing fixtures as soon as they are detected.
  • Check Underfloor Heating: Inspect underfloor heating systems for leaks or issues that could lead to moisture problems.
  • Monitor Water Pressure: Ensure water pressure is maintained at an appropriate level to prevent stress on pipes.
  1. Poor Ventilation

Cause: Inadequate ventilation can trap moisture indoors, leading to condensation and mold growth, especially in humid areas like bathrooms and kitchens.


  • Install Ventilation Systems: Use extractor fans, dehumidifiers, or air vents to improve airflow and reduce humidity levels.
  • Keep Windows Open: Regularly open windows, especially after cooking or showering, to allow moisture to escape.
  • Use Moisture-Absorbent Materials: Place moisture-absorbent materials like silica gel or activated charcoal in damp-prone areas to help reduce humidity.

Additional Tips to Prevent Dampness:

  • Regular Maintenance: Conduct regular inspections of your property, paying attention to roofs, gutters, and external walls.
  • Monitor Indoor Humidity: Use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels indoors and take action if levels are consistently high.
  • Good Housekeeping: Keep surfaces clean and dry, and avoid overfilling wardrobes or cupboards to allow air circulation.


By identifying the causes of dampness in your home and implementing appropriate fixes, you can effectively manage and prevent damp issues. Addressing damp problems promptly not only preserves the integrity of your property but also ensures a healthier and more comfortable living environment for you and your family. If damp issues persist despite your efforts, consider consulting with a professional damp specialist or surveyor for a thorough assessment and tailored solutions.

Our RICS Home Survey Services

At Aspect Surveying we provide Level 2 Home Surveys (previously referred to as Homebuyer’s Reports), as well as Level 3 Building Surveys (previously referred to as structural surveys).

Both types of surveys are a valuable tool for homebuyers, as they provide an in-depth assessment of the property’s condition and help to identify any areas of concern that may need to be addressed before the purchase is completed. By understanding the condition of the property, homebuyers can make an informed decision and ensure that they are fully aware of any potential problems before they complete the purchase.

Contact us for more information if you’re looking for a Home Buyer Survey or a Building Survey for your new home.


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