Before double glazing and insulation afforded by modern building techniques, dampness and mould were often signs of poor-quality housing. In contemporary construction properties and refurbishments, dampness and mould mainly occur through signs of occupant use or by not informing landlords of repairs that need to be carried out. With the coming winter weather and heating use being reduced through costs, dampness and mould are more likely to occur. We explain what it is and how you can prevent damp and mould in your student accommodation.
What are damp and mould?
Damp refers to the presence of excess moisture in a room. This can be a serious problem as it can cause damage to a building’s infrastructure. It is a problem that can affect any home no matter how large or small, damp is miserable to live with and a threat to health if left untreated by producing mould spores
The product of damp conditions is mould. A fungus that thrives in wet conditions and can produce spores that appear green and black and contain harmful toxins which can be hazardous to health over a long period of exposure. It thrives in rooms with excess moisture inside the property usually due to poor ventilation and condensation inside the property.
You can find out who is more susceptible and the health implications of damp and mould on the NHS website
The different types of damp
Rising Damp is generally in ground-floor properties and older houses that don’t have a damp-proof course fitted. It is caused by groundwater working it’s way up through the bricks.
It leaves clear damp marks on the walls above the skirting boards, causing paint and wallpaper to peel off, and carpets to look darker and dirty by the skirting boards. Rising damp contains salts which can damage the walls so needs to be treated when noticed and not left.
Rising damp is rare in modern and newer refurbished properties due to the installed damp-proof course. However, if it occurs specialist building work needs to be done to remedy it.
Penetrating damp is the most common form. It occurs when rain penetrates through the masonry of the building, either internally or externally. It is usually caused by rain entering through broken masonry, blocked or broken guttering causing water to pour down the walls, and gaps around windows and doors.
Penetrating damp is easy to spot, on the outside of the building you might see damp spots, moss growth or visible damage to bricks and mortar. Inside you will notice a smell, mould forming and plaster blistering.
Penetrating damp is the most common form of damp in rented properties. When rain penetrates the masonry of the building, problems can start to occur on both the inside and outside.
If you see signs of this it will need to be investigated for the cause and remedial work carried out to prevent water from entering the property.
This type of damp is mostly caused by the occupant. It is found when excess moisture inside touches colder area spots such as external walls and windows Reducing the amount of moisture in a room can help prevent this from occurring. As this is a temporary source of moisture, it can be the easiest to prevent and rectify. Condensation occurs mainly in rooms where there is a mixture of water and heat such as the kitchen or bathroom. Extractors that take the moisture outside help greatly with reducing this.
Prevent damp in your student accommodation.
Rising and penetrating damp need to be seen by your landlord for appropriate repairs to take place.
For penetrating damp, masonry work, guttering repairs or even a protective coating on the outside walls could be needed to stop the excess water from bleeding through to the inside of the affected rooms.
Preventing condensation causing damp student accommodation
Damp caused by condensation is mostly caused by the actions of the tenant. Reducing the amount of moisture in the room can be the key to stopping damp and mould from occurring Some tips to reduce the moisture in a room include:
- Cook With Pan lids on and turn the heat down when the water has boiled
- Keep the kitchen door closed to stop moisture from entering other rooms.
- Don’t put electric kettles underneath cupboards so the steam can dissipate through the room.
- If possible when cooking open the window or if fitted put extractor fans on, This will also reduce cooking smells when cooking in an open plan area.
- When running a bath, first run cold water and then add hot, it will reduce the amount of steam built up leading to condensation when it touches things like cold tiles.
- When showering use the extractor if fitted, and when finished open the window to let the moisture escape.
- Keep the bathroom door closed when bathing or showering to prevent moisture from moving around the rest of the property.
The rest of the property
- If possible keep windows open to help circulate air around the property.
- Don’t hang washing over radiators to dry as the heat will put moisture from the clothes into the air.
- Hang your washing outside to dry if possible, or in the bathroom with the door closed and the window open to help the moisture escape.
- Keep kitchen and bathroom doors closed to prevent moisture from escaping into the rest of the house
- For thirty minutes each day open a window on all floors and open all interior doors to allow air to circulate through the property.
- Lucky enough to have a tumble dryer? If you have a normal tumble dryer check that the vent is not blocked and has access to the outside. A condenser dryer however doesn’t need an outside vent.
- If you have air vents in the walls don’t block them with furniture or other items so the air can flow freely through them.
- Try to keep the temperature of the house constant throughout by either opening windows or vents, or if possible keeping the heating on a low constant temperature, and keeping doors shut to stop moisture from spreading through the house.
About Thornsett Properties
Thornsett Properties have been providing modern student accommodation in Sheffield since 1985. We supply accommodation to over 650 undergraduates and postgraduate students studying at Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University every year. Designed to fit with your budget whilst looking for student accommodation. Thornsett Properties are property owners and not agents. All our properties are managed by ourselves and not reliant on third parties. We aim to help you succeed in our student accommodation in Sheffield