24 Mar Why Do Building Walls Get Moisture?
A close inspection of your building’s walls may reveal moisture and droplets of water forming on them. If you have heard about the dangers of water damage to buildings, then this may certainly alarm you. Yet in most cases, moisture is not an inherently bad condition in your premise. Indeed, it is its deadlier counterpart, known as dampness, that you should be worried about.
In this article we will cover how your building walls get moisture as opposed to dampness, what it means for you and the recommended actions to be taken.
Moisture is Nearly Unavoidable
In any building, the presence of moisture is almost certain. Now this does not mean that water droplets should be appearing on all walls. Rather, they are likely to manifest when there is a high enough concentration of water vapour in the space with a cool surface for them to condense on.
Moisture is Easily Introduced into your Environment
Common inducers of moisture include that of hot showers and boiling kettles. Alternatively if cold drinks are brought in or heavy showers occur outside, moisture can also quickly find its way in.
Humidity, which is the measure of how much moisture is in the air within a given space, is ever present. As such, you should not be alarmed if you see droplets of moisture forming on your walls.
The assumption here is that your premise would at least have the minimum amount of water resistance built into its walls. If so, then the rate of condensation should not be sufficient to penetrate past your existing waterproofing measures.
Now that we have covered why your walls get moisture on a daily basis, it is time to find out about damp.
How is Damp Different from Moisture
Damp refers to the presence of excess water or vapour within an environment. Usually, damp only arises due to water penetration or leakages within your building. As such, you need not worry about damp under normal circumstances.
2 types of damp exist:
Rising damp describes water droplets that are pulled vertically upwards within confined spaces of your home. Not unlike how a plant sucks up water from its base and distributes it to the leaves, capillary forces also act on your building. Your building walls usually contain porous materials such as plaster and drywall that allow capillary action to occur, pulling moisture from the ground.
This explains the necessity of waterproofing contractors building in waterproofing systems in the foundation of any building. While water may not be explicitly seen, the ground houses large amounts of moisture that can be absorbed by the building’s base.
In contrast to rising damp, penetrating damp refers to water that leaks out from a source or enters your building from an aboveground point. Two common sources of penetrating damp exist.
Firstly, penetrating damp can emerge due to a pipe leak or water seepage via tiles.
Pipe leaks often occur due to excess pressure being exerted in its internal structure or when a shift in its base causes a misalignment. When this happens, a potentially large amount of water is introduced into the spaces behind your walls. Over time, through horizontal capillary effect and the rotting of the wall material, damp starts to emerge on your walls.
Secondly, penetrating damp can also occur when water seeps past your exterior surfaces. This typically occurs from roofs or balconies as these surfaces are highly exposed to weather elements. During heavy downpours, it is possible that water finds gaps in your building’s external surfaces to penetrate through.
This is typically aided either by poor fall design where water is not quickly diverted away from these surfaces or when drainage systems are blocked. In the case of the latter, a pool of water will be formed, thus exerting a large pressure on the existing waterproofing systems. If water is able to bypass the surface layers, then it can process to travel through your building’s infrastructure via the capillary effect.
Detecting Damp in your Building
There are several checks that you can make to determine if damp is likely affecting your building. These include:
Visual Inspection of your Walls
Performing a visual inspection of your walls. If your space has no water elements such as shower, kettle, tap or other water-based appliances, then you should not expect to find large amounts of moisture on your walls. You should also observe for any discoloration, especially any yellowing or brown spots that may appear. This discolouration effect is due to the presence of mold or mildew that is growing on your wall.
Testing your Walls’ Texture
By using a gentle amount of force to push against your walls, you can test for its texture. Should you feel that they are soft or spongy, then likely damp has caused a compromised in its structural integrity. A more comprehensive check that you can perform involves using a screwdriver to scrap across a less obvious section of the wall. Should damaged wood be revealed, then you can be fairly confident that damp is at work.
Use your Sense of Smell
Damp that accumulates in pockets of space within your walls enable the growth of mold and mildew. These in turn produce a musty smell from within and should alert you to the presence of a dangerous amount of damp.
Use a Moisture Detector
If you are able to procure a moisture detector, you can drill two small holes in your wall and insert the detector’s probes in. From here, you should be able to take multiple readings and compare them to the average moisture levels in premises in your area. If your readings are higher than the normal range of 7 to 13 percent, you can be fairly confident that damp exists behind your walls.
Engaging Professional Waterproofing Contractors to Help
Do you need professional assistance in confirming the presence of damp in your home? Need help repairing your premise’s infrastructure? Damp can be a severely debilitating issue in the long run. As such, we recommend the engagement of a waterproofing specialist company to assist you in the matter.
Waterproofing contractors are trained to find the source of any form of damp and to seal off the gaps in question. Furthermore, they are able to make a thorough assessment of the existing amount of damage or damp. These can be rectified with their professional tools and expertise.
Choose Proseal Contracts for your Waterproofing Needs
ProSeal Contracts is a waterproofing company in Singapore with more than 20 years’ experience. As one of the leading waterproofing contractor companies, we use the highest quality of materials to ensure long lasting results. Trust us to assess, choose and apply the right waterproofing procedures for your building’s needs.
Experiencing leakages in a different part of your home? Unsure how to find the source of the leak? Read our article: https://proseal.com.sg/how-to-find-a-water-leak-in-your-house/