How to Insulate a Damp Wall?
Identifying and Addressing Damp Issues: Damp walls in British houses are a common problem, causing issues like peeling paint, deteriorating plaster, and unpleasant odors. Dampness can result from various sources, including water penetration, condensation, leaking gutters, defective roofing, and rising damp. Before addressing the effects of damp, it’s crucial to identify and fix the underlying cause.
Solving Condensation and Mould: Traditional methods like wooden paneling are prone to damp and rot. Dry lining with ‘air gap membranes,’ ‘cavity drain membranes,’ or ‘damp proof membranes’ prevents moisture trapping and spread of damp and mold.
Methods to Insulate Damp Walls: Directly attach boards to walls, but this method is prone to decay on older, damp masonry. Cavity walls can be used which are common in converting barns, these walls prioritize thickness over thermal efficiency and may not serve as a vapor barrier. Use dimpled plastic sheets to create an air gap cavity, suitable for insulating cold, single-leaf walls.
Damping in homes is never a good experience. And, when it comes to dampness in British houses, it is already running rampant and has become a big issue. It harms the interior, causing problems like peeling paint, deteriorating plaster, warped wallpaper, and damaged skirting boards.
Beyond affecting aesthetics, it transforms your cosy home into an unpleasant space. If not addressed, damp problems can escalate, leading to more severe complications.
This guide explores various methods of insulation for walls. So, let’s get into it.
The Damp Wall Problem
Damp internal walls pose multiple issues. They reduce comfort, harm interior decor, and create an unpleasant smell.
Additionally, they decrease energy efficiency, leading to more heating bills and higher costs. Living in a damp home poses health risks, especially for the young, elderly, and those with respiratory conditions like asthma.
What Causes Damp on Walls?
To address damp walls, start by finding the source of moisture. Check your home inside and out for potential causes. Damp patches on walls may stem from various issues, including:
Damaged masonry and rendering
Faulty down pipes
Damaged damp-proof courses
Cavity wall Insulation
Inadequate sealing of windows and doors
Find and fix the issue causing damp in your home before addressing its effects. Learn about common causes of damping below.
If you think your home is damp due to condensation, indicated by moisture on windows and black mould, improve ventilation. Consider installing a positive input ventilation unit or adding passive vents to reduce damp.
If your walls are damp due to rising damp, you may notice salt tide marks and dark patches that feel damp. Rising damp is different from penetrating damp because it rises from the ground up, whereas penetrating damp enters the house from outside.
Damp or cold walls in your home may be due to building defects, both external and internal. Common external issues include defective roofing, leaking gutters, and faulty downpipes. The type of wall material can affect susceptibility to water ingress, with thin and porous walls being more vulnerable.
Cavity walls are generally less prone to penetrating damp. Incorrectly installed seals around doors and windows can also allow water entry.
These issues result in water from outside entering your home and causing damp walls. External building faults, such as damaged render, can also permit rainwater to penetrate. To address penetrating damp, it’s essential to first resolve the source of the excess moisture.
How to Solve Condensation and Mould?
The old method of dealing with damp walls involved using wooden panelling, but this would often become damp and rot over time.
To address this issue, dry lining got introduced, leading to the development of the ‘air gap membranes,’ ‘cavity drain membranes’, or ‘damp proof membranes’.
These are essentially dimpled plastic sheets that allow air to circulate freely. Unlike traditional ‘tanking,’ these membranes prevent moisture from getting trapped, which could otherwise spread damp and mould to other parts of your home.