Can High Temperatures Solve Damp?
9 June 2023
We are all living through strange times, where it seems that every year we hear about another record breaking summer when it comes to high temperatures. With that being said, there are plenty of people who might be happy for the warmer weather, expecting it to be a solution to the damp they have recently found in their walls.
Is the summer sun a viable solution when it comes to damp, and should people rely on it to solve their damp problems in the long run?
Can Heat Solve Damp?
The big question plenty of people are going to be asking is ‘can heat solve damp?’. The answer is a little long winded, but simply put; no.
In the short term, you might very well think that high temperatures might have solved damp in your property.
For example, take a house that has a case of rising damp. Usually this is brought about by moisture in the ground below the property, and can present more obviously (and destructively) following heavy periods of rain. In the summer, when there is plenty of sunshine and heat and very little in the way of ground water it’s much less likely that you are going to notice the rising damp in the wall. In fact, it might not even be present in the walls at all if there is no moisture to actually travel upwards.
So, in this instance, someone who has noticed damp in their walls all throughout the wetter months during winter and might think that the warm weather has potentially dried their walls out, when the fact of the matter is that the conditions which allowed for the water to travel upwards into the walls has not been treated.
So, whilst the heat might have given your property a momentary respite from the damp, it is just only temporary. As soon as the rain starts again you are going to be in the exact same situation when it comes to damp as you were before as the defect in your property has not been fixed.
Why Won’t Heat or High Temperature Solve Damp?
When we boil down what damp is to its simplest definition, it is essentially the presence of moisture within a properties structural elements, like its walls, floor, or ceiling.
The moisture does not get there by accident, and nor is it caused by something like a spill – there is always a reason. Basically, if you don’t address the root cause of the damp, then the moisture is just going to keep coming back when the conditions are right.
In fact, there are three main reasons why you might have damp in your property.
The first is rising damp. We touched on rising damp before, and you can learn more about it here, but basically rising damp is what we call the process of moisture within the ground being drawn up into a properties walls via capillary action.
The moisture sits within the earth, and slowly travels upwards through capillary action, usually to a height of about a meter above ground level within your properties walls. This amount of moisture may get worse or better depending on, for example, the amount of rainfall, but the principal is the same.
The circumstances that allow for rising damp are the lack of, or the failure of an existing damp proof course. A damp proof course (or DPC) exists within the masonry of your property close to ground level, and is installed to prevent rising damp from happening. If that course becomes compromised, rising damp can take effect.
Until that damp proof course has been installed no amount of warm weather is going to put a permanent stop to the damage that the damp is going to inflict on your property.
The second reason a property might suffer from damp is labelled penetrating damp. Just like rising damp, penetrating damp is the result of something failing in a property, and that failure allowing moisture to permeate into the walls.
This might be because a gutter overflows, or because pointing has failed, or because there is a leak – there are many reasons why penetrating damp might set in. However, there is one constant: until the cause of the penetrating damp has been identified and fixed, it’s going to keep happening.
Yes, you might not notice the damp in the warmer weather, but that may be because the leaky gutter which was causing the damp hasn’t had anything to leak.
Then there is condensation. Condensation based damp is the product of a lifestyle, and occurs when warm, moist air coms into contact with cool surfaces. Condensation is a problem that can be alleviated with proper ventilation and lifestyle choices – for example drying clothes outside, running an extractor fan or cooking with lids on.
It’s highly unlikely that the weather is going to effect condensation based damp all that much in any way, as its created by the way people live their lives inside, rather than conditions outdoors.
How Can Damp Be Properly Treated
Damp is best treated via a professional survey and then a professional solution from a skilled and accredited technician.
Our team can not only provide a survey that will identify the root cause of the damp problem in your property, but also propose a solution that we can carry out that will put a stop to the damp returning for good.