How to recognise dampness in your home, understand it and fix it...

We live in a damp country, so it is no surprise that so many of our properties experience damp problems, which lead to expensive repairs. We take damp weather for granted. It's raining, so we throw on a coat or put up an umbrella and dry out by a fire when we come home. Our homes can't do that though. They have to shrug off the effects of bad weather and high humidity that lead to water ingress, like water of the proverbial duck's back, otherwise significant damp problems occur. If left unchecked, this can be very expensive.

There are different types of damp issues that may be affecting your property and it is paramount to get to the root of the problem and not just throw on a lick of paint to hide the ugly damp patch growing larger in the corner. Robert Tiffin is an expert in damp related issues and receives many enquiries asking him to come and investigate dampness in the home. Here are some pointers on what to look out for…


To understand why there is damp in your home we first need to identify the defects that could be contributing towards it. Start outside and look for the external defects. Take a close look at the pointing, look out for spalling bricks, drainage issues such as closed gullies and have a look at your guttering. Many homes do not have adequate enough size gutters. What are the ground levels like around your property? Are they too high for your damp proof membrane and damp proof course? More and more with people’s fancy patio’s and decking this is becoming a big issue. Make a roof inspection and check for any slipped or missing slates or ridge tiles and double check the ventilation while you’re there.


Condensation is the most common form of damp in the home. It’s most common in the winter months, as the weather takes a steep decline, so too does the external wall temperature. When met with the warmth of your cosy home, this can cause the damp air to condense. Condensation never occurs for one reason, there are always 3 or 4 contributing factors. Poor ventilation, heating changes, occupancy in the home, cold bridging and whether the house is North, East, South or West facing can play a part in condensation, as can the type of walls you have, be they solid brickwork or cavity construction. All these factors have to be considered when diagnosing why condensation is occurring.

You can spot condensation by recognising water droplets on windows or walls, an unusual or unpleasant smell & in some cases, a dark mould appearing. If you leave damp untreated, this can damage your wallpaper/plaster and even decay your window frames. This means costly repairs and a huge inconvenience to you and your family.

Rising Damp Problems

Rising damp is a little less common and more complicated than condensation. It is caused by water in the ground being drawn up through a wall. It’s not unusual for walls to let a little water in but the damage is usually prevented by something called a ‘damp-proof course’. It’s a layer of waterproof material inside the wall (towards the bottom) used specifically for preventing rising damp.

The telltale signs of rising damp problems are a lot more noticeable than other forms of damp. If you notice damaged floor boards or skirting, it’s important you get someone to assess the damage immediately. As previously mentioned, damp being left untreated can cause damage that would lead to costly repairs. Not to mention, the damage it could have on your health.


Decay never happens unless there is moisture present. So understanding moisture in masonry is key to the diagnosis of timber decay. Treatment and repair methods are specific to every occurrance of decay. Thorough analysis is necessary in each case.


At Tiffin we take all forms of damp, condensation and decay seriously. Once we’ve identified the problem and its source we will deploy a number of techniques and products to eliminate it.

If you have any concerns about your current property, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. The sooner you address the problem, the better the chances of resolving it.

Our services include:

  • Rising Damp Problems
  • Penetrating Damp
  • Condensation Control
  • Waterproof Tanking
  • Building Defects
  • Timber Decay / Dry Rot

Proud Members of

Federation of Master Builders; CoRE; Approved Which Trader; ITC; The Green Register; The Retrofit Academy