Water, moisture, and even high humidity can cause a staggering array of problems in your home. Anytime excess moisture starts to build up in your walls, it can cause costly structural damage. As time goes on, excess moisture can even cause mildew and mold problems which can threaten the health of everyone who lives or visits your home.
Thankfully, there are a few ways to address walls that are too damp. Though you need to know just how much dampness is acceptable in your walls, how to identify the source of the dampness, and perhaps how to better address the cause before it leads to worsening problems. The worst case scenario is when mold in walls start to become visible after growing unseen for quite some time.
How To Tell If My Walls Are Damp?
Identifying increasing dampness is the first step toward empowering yourself toward an effective resolution. If you know your walls are at risk of water damage, you can do the necessary repairs to protect the health and integrity of your home.
Common warning signs of increasing dampness include things like:
- Wet patches throughout the walls
- Musty damp smell
- Corrosion and rust metallic items
- Peeling paint
- Bubbling wallpaper
- Soft or cracking plaster
- Overt signs of wood rot
If you notice one or more of the warning signs above, you should contact a professional water restoration company as soon as possible. Not only can they clean up and remediate the problem, but their training and experience can rapidly determine the cause of the dampness as well as the necessary measures to address it. This can also be a critical step in catching and preventing indoor mold problems before they become severe.
What Is The Acceptable Percentage of Damp in Walls?
There will always be a modest level of humidity in any home, with some rooms like the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room being more prone to lingering dampness. So, there are numerous variables to consider when it comes to an acceptable percentage of moisture in walls. For starters, different wall materials absorb moisture in their own ways.
The general rule is that any moisture reading over 16% is considered damp and needs attention. If your reading is over 20%, you may need to replace the drywall entirely.
The walls in your home with healthy humidity levels should have a moisture reading between 12 to 15%. If possible, you should try to check the dampness of your walls once a year, especially during the humid months. This way, you can get an accurate reading and take the necessary steps.
How Can I Check The Dampness Levels Of My Walls
Using a device called a moisture meter can help. This is something we bring along with us when you call us out to examine your space. A moisture meter that they can use to easily check walls for signs of a water leak. It’s a device engineered to pinpoint exactly where the wall is holding excess moisture. Once we find the area with the most dampness, they’ll know where to find the source of the leak.
If you don’t want to hire a us or a plumber to do this, you can usually find commercial-level moisture meters at most major hardware stores. However, hiring a professional will give you a guaranteed accurate reading.
How To Correct Dampness In My Walls?
Let’s say that you’ve hired a plumber or purchased a commercial-grade moisture meter to assess the dampness of your home’s walls, and you find that the moisture levels are just too high for their own good. Fortunately, there are various ways you can fix a damp wall. That said, each method works best in certain situations.
Dealing With Increasing Dampness
If you have peeling or bubbling paint, bubbling wallpaper, wet patches, or weak plaster then you likely have increasing dampness saturating your walls. Chances are good that the dampness is higher closest to the floor. Many times this is linked to poor ventilation or drainage issues. Improving the ventilation in the room and addressing any drain concerns is a wise first step.
You might want to also consider keeping a dehumidifier in the room during the high humidity months of summer. This can help draw out some of the moisture and might also help reduce the risk of mold development.
Dealing With Wet Patches
A wall with wet patches is often due to water from the outside seeping through the cracks and gaps. This could even start at the roof or gutters and work its way into the walls from the external eaves or soffits.
The first step in addressing wet patches in your interior walls is to make sure your external walls are kept in good shape. Keep the cut drip grooves around your windows clear, and make sure to seal any cracks or gaps you find around your window frames.
Dealing With Condensation Build-Up
Condensation is humidity’s kissing cousin and when left unchecked can cause significant destruction and water damage. It typically develops when there is too much moisture inside the house for a prolonged period of time. Without proper ventilation, the moisture-filled air will eventually make its way into the walls.
Dealing with condensation problems often starts with installing high-quality ventilation systems in your kitchen, laundry room, bathrooms, as well as any other place with excess moisture. Removing the moist air will prevent it from damaging your walls.
Dealing With Water Leaks
Water leaks can come from faulty plumbing, roof damage, cracks in the foundation, a ruptured pipe, or even backed-up gutters. If a water leak is the underlying cause of dampness in your walls, you will need to first complete the necessary repairs. You can then keep a dehumidifier in the room to help draw out some of the moisture which might also help reduce the risk of mold developing.
When To Call In The Professionals
If you can’t identify the cause of the dampness in your walls, or your best efforts to address the problem have been to no avail, then you should consider calling in a plumber or a water damage remediation specialist.
They have the tools, training, and experience to accurately identify the cause of the dampness in your walls, as well as the ability to repair the problem. They can also provide you with the professional documentation you might need in the future if you want to sell your home, or if there are issues during the real estate inspection.