, ,

Old buildings are more likely to be damaged by damp

paisley-abbey-logos

When a lot of old buildings in Paisley were designed and constructed, there weren’t a lot of regulations in terms of damp proofing. Damp wasn’t much of a concern for a lot of households because the way people used their houses was able to prevent damp from invading their home.

Condensation is one of the most common forms of damp that damp proofers encounter today. In certain buildings, moist air can become trapped indoors and condensate on cool surfaces. This especially happens around windows that aren’t effectively insulated. They allow cool air to enter the home and reduce the temperatures of the surfaces around them, but they do not allow the warm, moist air to exit. In old buildings, as they were originally built, this wasn’t a particularly common problem. This is because many residents heated their homes with open fires. An open fire can improve the ventilation in a home because it draws in cool air from outside, keeping the temperature around the home consistent and preventing warmer or cooler areas of the house. A fire is also capable of drying out damp surfaces, especially timber, so it can prevent the development of damp even if the house is poorly ventilated.

These days, the old houses that were designed to be heated with a fire or furnace have been redesigned and fitted with a central heating system. Because of these, many owners of these particular houses find damp to be a reoccurring problem. Different measures need to be taken to damp proof a house with modern facilities. For example, showers produce a lot of steam and bathrooms are generally quite small spaces. An old house doesn’t have very effective insulation, so the walls and ceiling of a bathroom will be cool because they are exposed to the cold air outside. Similarly, a window that hasn’t been effectively sealed and has only single glazing will likely cool the surfaces around it. So, when the steam from a hot shower comes in contact with all of these cool surfaces the steam will turn to water and be absorbed. This leads to mould and a lot of residents of old houses will find black mould that forms on their ceilings and around their windows to be a regular problem.

Similar problems will occur in other places if old buildings aren’t damp proofed effectively. Old houses were built to be well ventilated while modern buildings owners prefers their properties to be tightly sealed so they can accurately manage the temperature. So, the materials of old buildings were designed to ease the flow of air into and out of the building. This includes the basement, where a lot of property owners first discover damp. When people try to modify their basements with new flooring or windows they are cutting of the pathways where moist air can escape. The moisture that’s been absorbed by the material now has no means of escaping the home and so mould and rot forms.

If you own one of Paisley’s old buildings and are noticing reoccurring damp then the best thing to do would be to completely update the damp proofing of the building and bring it up to modern standards. You would need to hire a cellar tanking service to damp proof your basement and upgrade the insulation to keep cold air and moisture out as well as keep the warm air in.