How to Spot Issues with Damp – Before Buying the Property

One of the biggest risks when purchasing a property is choosing a place that has issues that you only find out about once the sale has gone through.

Damp can be a big problem to fix as the work will take time to complete, can be complex and will of course cost you money too. Check out these top tips on what damp issues to look for when viewing a prospective property.

There are 5 main damp issues to watch out for: condensation, rising damp, penetrating damp, dry rot and wet rot.

1. Condensation

This is the most common kind of damp and is caused by moist air condensing on walls and windows. It’s common in rooms which have a high volume of air moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Poor ventilation can make the issue worse and you often find it’s more noticeable in the winter months as the walls will be a lot colder than the air inside the property.
Signs to watch out for include –
• Water droplets on walls, windows or windowsills
• Black spot mould on walls, surfaces or carpets
• Peeling paint or plaster


2. Rising Damp

This kind of damp comes from ground water moving up through a wall or through a floor. For newer houses, a damp-proof course and membrane is always installed as part of the house-building process to prevent water coming in to the property. So if there is an issue with rising damp, it’s likely that the damp-proofing has failed or the property is older than the building regulations requiring its use (1875).
Signs to watch out for include –
• Plaster bubbling and peeling away
• “Tide marks” appearing up to one metre on interior walls
• Deterioration of skirting boards


3. Penetrating Damp

Structural problems usually cause penetrating damp, as faulty roofing or guttering allows water to soak the walls or roof with water. Pipe leaks can also be responsible.
Signs to watch out for include –
• Watermarks on the masonry
• A damp and musty smell
• Patchy black mould on internal walls
• Damaged timber


4. Dry Rot

This kind of issue is caused by a fungus in the wood that was used in the building.
Signs to watch out for include –
• Brittle and/or warped wood
• A damp and musty smell
• The affected patch has a “pizza-like” appearance owing to the texture of the fungus


5. Wet Rot

This is also caused by fungus but is not as destructive as dry rot. It is more common however and can cause structural damage if not identified.
Signs to watch out for include –
• Linear cracking of affected wood
• Damp and musty smell
• The air itself feeling damp
• A springy feeling as you walk across affected floorboards

We hope that these tips help you to identify a potential issue with damp and so avoid a great deal of hassle in correcting the problem once you have purchased the property.

Here at Nick Fox Property Mentoring, we provide mentoring services and other resources to help you when it comes to property investment. Find out more about our property mentoring here and our resources here.

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