At the end of last year, we wrote a blog post about whether the presence of damp should stop you from buying a house. If you’ve fallen in love with a property that has been diagnosed with damp, we would recommend giving it a read.

Of course, to make a decision about moving (or not moving) into a house with damp, you have to know that there’s damp in the first place. Here are the key signs to look out for that will indicate whether damp is a problem you should be concerned about.

The tell-tale signs:

  • Excessive condensation on and around windows
  • A musty scent
  • Visible patches of grey, black or fluffy growth
  • Peeling paint or wallpaper
  • Discoloured patches of walls
  • Changes in plaster texture between the top and bottom of walls
  • Cold surfaces like floors and walls
  • Moisture on the underside of roof insulation (if you have access)
  • Mould and algae on external walls
  • Crumbling brickwork
  • General chilliness within the building

Also keep an eye out for fresh paint, which may have been used to conceal mould patches or discoloured walls. If you suspect there might be damp in the building, discuss this with your surveyor before they conduct your HomeBuyer Report or Building Survey. They will be able to identify the severity of the issue and warn you if it poses a threat to the structural integrity of the building.

Where to look for it:

  • Infrequently-used spaces like basements and attics
  • Cupboards or storage with an external wall
  • Rooms with high moisture-content – kitchens, bathrooms, cloakrooms
  • Around window frames and sills
  • Skirting boards and corners of rooms
  • Closets around water heaters and tanks

Damp can appear in any room of the house, so pay close attention in each room, especially if you have spotted signs of damp elsewhere in the building.

What to do about it:

If you move into a property that is suffering from damp, it’s essential to determine where the damp is coming from. Your surveyor should be able to tell you this in your inspection report. This will help you make an informed decision about how to tackle the issue, which may involve something as simple as improving the ventilation (using extractor fans, opening windows etc.) or something as complex as installing a damp-proof course.

It’s uncommon for damp to have reached a point where it is “unfixable”, but it’s a serious issue that will take more time, money and effort to rectify the longer it’s left. If you have any concerns about damp in a property, call or email us to talk to an experienced surveyor.