Ensuring that your property is free from damp and timber issues should be important for any property owner. Designed to give you the best chance of steering clear of these issues this guide provides guidance on the potential problems that can affect your property and the measures you can put in place to treat and prevent a re-occurrence.

Property Care Issues that can affect your property

Damp

Damp is a common problem that property owners are faced with. The most common damp problem is condensation. Condensation occurs when air with a high moisture content hits a cold surface e.g. a window sill.

Condensation is common between the months of October and April as this is when the ventilation in a house tends to be at its lowest.  This is due to the UK having its coldest weather in those months meaning windows and doors are closed and therefore restricting airflow. Normal day to day activities such as cooking, kettle boiling and taking a shower are the reasons for the build-up of moisture in the property.

Another damp issue is penetrating damp which is can occur throughout the year and usually occurs from heavy periods of rainfall and your external defects are damaged. Penetrating damp is known as lateral damp and is the result of water penetrating outside of the building and into your property.

Rising damp is another issue that can affect your property and it is often mistaken with penetrating damp. Rising damp occurs due to groundwater and finds its way into your home through the brickwork, this water contains salts which are then deposited on the inner and outer walls of the building.

These salts withdraw the moisture from the atmosphere which leaves the wall feeling damp. The most common cause of rising damp is the property owner not having a damp proof course in place or if it has become damaged.

Wood rot and Woodworm

Woodworm is a type of beetle that attacks wood and timber and in some serious cases can cause structural damage in buildings. Wood-boring beetles thrive on damp conditions within a property. They have a lifespan of between 3-5 years and depending on the type of beetle can cause different levels of damage to your property. The most common being the ‘Common Furniture Beetle’. Woodworm beetles tend to be found in areas with the most light such as window sills where there is direct sunlight.

Having a dry rot problem in your property is the most serious of all property care issues as this can cause severe damage to the structural integrity of the timber within the property.  Dry rot is a wood-rotting fungi that occurs due to dampness such as the previously mentioned e.g. penetrating damp and rising damp. The moisture content that is needed for dry rot to occur is over 20% and for optimum growth the moisture content is between 35 to 50 %.

How to protect your property from damp and timber issues?

Protection against Damp

As described there are a number of issues that can affect your property but there are ways of protecting your property. To stop condensation in your property you need to increase the ventilation with constant airflow passing through the property. This can be achieved by adding bathroom fans, kitchen fans and opening windows this will help when carrying out your day to day activities such as cooking or having a shower.

Other steps that can be undertaken are quite simple such as moving your sofa away from the radiator and drying your clothes outside as much as possible rather than using radiators. Both of these methods will help improve the constant air flow and reduce the amount of the high levels of moisture content. To reduce the levels of moisture you should not use bottle gas heaters inside as these produce large amounts of moisture in the air.

To treat penetrating damp you can put in place preventative methods which will lessen the chances of this type of damp from occurring. You can make sure that rainwater goods are free flowing and free of blockages. This will ensure that when there are periods of heavy rainfall then your property will be more protected from penetrating damp. If you don’t make these improvements to your property then there could be long-term damages in the future.

There are quick fixes that can be undertaken for rising damp which will stop the problem in the short term but, if left for a long period of time, the problem can be more inexpensive to fix. Having a specialist contractor would be the best option to make to ensure the rising damp issues is fully rectified. Two types of treatment that can be carried out are the installation of a damp proof course or a damp proof membrane.

Protection against Timber related issues

The common furniture beetle can be carried out by yourself through a permethrin-based woodworm treatment and should be applied onto the timber and to nearby timbers to ensure no outbreaks in will occur in the future.

To prevent the wood boring insects from occurring you must make sure the property is dry as they are attracted to damp timber. The treatment of other more harmful woodworm beetles such as Death Watch Beetle and the House Longhorn Beetle should be carried by the professionals, as these type of beetles can cause severe structural damage to the building if not treated correctly.

Dry rot is also caused by dampness in the property so carrying out the preventative methods mentioned earlier e.g. adding bathrooms and kitchen fans and improving the rainwater goods. If you have dry rot present should again contact an expert to provide the necessary treatment to getting rid of wood rotting fungi from your property.

I hope these tips and advice can ensure that you prevent damp and timber issues from occurring in your property. If you would like more information about the issues discussed visit the Timberwise website.