Nine Checks to Help Prevent Dampness in your home


There is nothing worse than finishing that final coat of paint or hanging that last piece of wallpaper only to find the ugly effect of damp ruining the finish a few weeks later.

We have encountered many instances where householders who are a dab hand at DIY are left deflated by dampness in their property.

Even though the wilds of winter may be on the wane, dampness can build up over time and emerge when you least expect it.

Obviously, for some of the more extreme cases, you might need the support of a professional, but more often than not, there are simple checks and measures you can take as a property owner that can keep it all at bay.

So here are our top ten tips on damp proofing your property to ensure all that hard work decorating doesn’t go to waste.

Inspect Your Roof

Let’s start at the top. If it is easy enough, get onto your roof safely and check for broken, lost or damaged roof tiles. It can be challenging to see from the ground.

If you have a flat roof, there is even more reason to check, as water is prone to gathering in low spots, which will put pressure on any weakness in the finish.

If you are uncomfortable at heights, get someone to check it for you. Your safety is paramount. However, roof issues are one of the most common sources of water to penetrate your house.

Guttering and Drainage

Put a coat and hat on! Go outside when it is raining heavily and observe your gutters and downpipes.  If something is leaking, record the path of the water and get it attended too.  Leaking gutters and any external water carrying systems are a common cause of or a contributory factor to internal issues.

Hopefully, the bad weather is starting to ease, and there is a chance to check and clear the gutters from all the debris that’s been whipped up by the winds that battered our shoreline this winter.

There will be leaves and branches, rubbish, and moss, all clogging up your drains and preventing the water from getting to the downpipe. Again, you should only attempt this if you are comfortable with heights and have the proper safety precautions in place. But clearing those gutters prevents the water from spilling over and seeping into your brickwork.

The other thing you are looking to identify is broken gutters or downpipes. These, again, will establish a regular flow of moisture to your masonry that will eventually lead to penetrating dampness.


A regular check on the ventilation in your property could save you hundreds. Appropriate ventilation will help you avoid condensation build-up, helping to regulate the airflow throughout the house.

So double-check any extractor fans in your bathroom or kitchen and ensure they are fully functional and perform to their optimum capacity. Also, double-check that nothing is impeding them at either end and ensure they are switched on (we see many switched off and not being used).


One of the best ways to stave off issues with condensation (moisture in the air) is to manage the heating in the property. Condensation, one of the leading causes of dampness, occurs when there are significant fluctuations in temperature and the humid air inside comes into contact with a colder external surface.

While there is nothing you can do about the changes in the external temperature, if you can regulate the fluctuations inside, it will reduce the potential for the exterior surfaces to hold moisture in the air.

Normally, a five-degree difference between the outside and inside is preferable, so the higher the temperature inside, the quicker condensation will occur at higher temperatures outside.


As we continue to make our way down the house, be on the lookout for issues with your plumbing. There are a few tell-tale signs, including,

  • a lack of water pressure
  • a gurgling toilet
  • dripping taps
  • drainage problems
  • dripping pipes
  • rattling or squeaking pipes.

Any of these issues could cause moisture build-up, the perfect breeding ground for dampness. So, find the source and isolate it.

If you do suspect something unless you are a plumber or experienced with DIY, this might be a call to a professional.

Windows and Doors

The next area for inspection is the seals around your windows and doors. Any flaw in these, either through ageing or the wear and tear of daily life, could result in water entering.

It could enable water to penetrate the seal or let in cool air, which can lead to condensation and dampness.

Walls and masonry

Externally the walls and masonry could be a source of water penetrating your property. Ageing can result in minor brickwork flaws, which is all water needs.

Some modern houses are made with some form of moisture managing solution included, but there are several ways this can be bridged and if it is, a crack or flaw in your walls is all it will take.

So, check your damp proof course (something a professional might need to help you with) to make sure it is still functioning as intended, and get it repaired as quickly as possible if it’s not.


These areas of a house can be overlooked as they are rarely populated. However, keeping them well-ventilated and fully waterproofed is vital to prevent moisture build-up.

If your property has a basement or crawlspace, find a way to check it and make this a regular check. While other factors are involved, dampness in these situations is the perfect breeding ground for timber problems such as wet and dry rot.

In older properties these areas are always subject to dampness in one form or other.  Observing these areas regularly may give you an ‘early warning’ of any changes with water tables beneath the property.


Double-check if possible your floorboards and skirting boards. These are not the source of your problems, but they can be a tell-tale sign that dampness is a problem.

Take some time to periodically review the flooring in the house, particularly in the corners of the room. There may be a build-up of black mould due to dampness, or the paint on your skirting board might start to bubble. This is a sign that you could be suffering from rising dampness, and it’s time to call in the professionals.

Check with the Professionals

These checks and fixes should help to protect your home from damp. However, it’s always best to get a professional opinion if you need clarification on any of them or find evidence of dampness or damage you need help with.