Problems with Damp and Humidity

Damp and excessive humidity are perhaps the two most annoying problems we experience in old houses, although neither are absent from modern buildings! From condensation and peeling paper to wet and dry rot, the results demand our attention.

Symptoms to look out for are:

  • peeling paint and wallpaper
  • black spots on paper and paint
  • cold areas on outside walls
  • smells of mould
  • floor-boards that 'give' when stood on (though damp is not the only cause of this)
  • mould on clothes and carpets
  • cracks in internal walls which open and close over a year

The most serious of these are mouldy smells; both may indicate wet or dry rot.

Of these, wet rot is the easiest to treat; remove the moisture and the rot will die out. The most severely damaged wood will need to be replaced.

Dry rot is more difficult. Although recent research has shown that removing moisture and improving airflow does largely kill it off, this is not always possible, and any recurrence of damp will tend to revive the fungus.

See Managing Damp and Dealing with Mould for further advice.