How Condensation on Walls Affects Your Home and How to Solve it

Posted on April 7, 2017 at 12:31 pm

One of the banes of a home owner’s life can be condensation on the walls. Not only does it look unsightly but it can also cause much more serious problems such as damaged window frames and damp problems. Of course, these problems become worse and worse with time. The best thing to do is to fix them as soon as possible.Below are some of the causes and solutions of condensation on walls and how it can affect you and your home.

The main difficulty in tracing condensation is distinguishing it from penetrating damp. condensation on walls is caused when moisture in the air meets a cold surface. Obviously, rooms where steam gathers – bathrooms and kitchens – are most prone to it, particularly the outside walls, which are more likely to be cold.

There is an easy test for whether damp on a wall is caused by condensation. Dry a small patch with a cloth and fasten a little piece of glass to it, bedded on a ring of putty. Leave the glass until it mists up, then see if the mist is on the inside – in which case, it’s penetrating damp – or on the outside – in which case,┬áit’s condensation.

The causes of condensation on walls are complex and it’s notoriously difficult to cure. Possible solutions to the problem focus either around cutting down the amount of moisture in the air, or making sure that there are no surfaces for it to condense – by warming them up.

Cutting down the moisture in the air can be difficult in rooms like kitchens and bathrooms, where there are obvious and necessary sources of steam. Usually, the best answer is to increase the ventilation – getting damp air quickly out of the room and replacing it with fresh, dry air. This means installing an extractor fan with a large air capacity, ducted to the outside.

Warming the room up may simply be a matter of adding a heater or turning up the existing heating. But it’s quite likely – particularly where only an outside wall is affected – that the problem is more one of insulation than of heat input. In this case, improving the insulation may well provide a solution.

The easiest way to insulate a wall locally is to line it with an insulating material. In minor cases, expanded polystyrene wall covering or heat reflecting wallpaper may be successful.

More radical methods involve dry lining the wall with plasterboard over a layer of insulating material. If you do this, you must provide a vapour check to cut down condensation inside the cavity behind the board. Special vapour check board is available. You can also get a variety of products which deal with condensation in another way; they tackle the symptoms rather than the cause – removing the damp rather than stopping it forming. For example, you can get absorbent strips for windows. Although these are not a permanent cure, they can be useful in localised trouble spots such as a small window.Remember people like my grandfather used to say measure twice cut once.

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