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Home DIY tips

Home Maintenance

Remember that it is your responsibility to look after your home and we do not cover damage caused by wear and tear. If you have any concerns regarding the structure of your home, seek advice as soon as possible from a professional tradesman.

Dampness can be one of the greatest threats to the condition of a building and without preventative or remedial action it will lead to the deterioration of your home, garage and outbuildings. The most important element is a sound, weatherproof and watertight roof, while gutters and downpipes can and will cause problems to external and internal surfaces if not correctly maintained and cleared of debris including leaves and grime.

Moulds and lichen are also associated with damp conditions. There are innumerable species of mould growth which first appear as tiny coloured specks or patches on masonry or wallpaper. It is important to identify the cause and take appropriate action to eliminate the mould growth.

The following are some of the most common causes of damp in residential homes:

Dry rot

Dry rot is the most serious problem of all. Urgent action is critical as it will attack timber with a much lower moisture content than wet rot, usually only in poorly ventilated confined spaces. It can also penetrate masonry and brickwork and will even pump water from damp wood. Dry rot can often follow an attack of wet rot.

Wet rot

Wet rot occurs in timber that has a high moisture content. It often attacks door and window frames and wooden sills, allowing rainwater to penetrate joints or the area between brickwork and adjacent timber.

Rising Damp

Rising damp is caused by water soaking up from the ground into the floors and walls of the house. If the damp proof course in the walls or the membrane in a floor breaks down water can move into the upper structure.

Penetrating Damp

This is the result of water permeating the structure of the house from the outside. Symptoms only occur during wet weather. It most frequently occurs in older homes which have solid walls. Relatively modern houses built with a cavity between two thinner brick skins are less likely to be affected by penetrating damp unless the cavity has been bridged.


Damp in a fairly new house that is in good condition is almost invariably due to condensation. The root cause of condensation is as a result of a combination of air temperature, humidity, poor ventilation and thermal insulation. Water vapour can often be removed by opening windows or using extraction fans or dehumidifier units which absorb and collect airborne moisture. Cold surfaces can be heated or insulated, for example by double glazing.

There are many other maintenance problems that you may experience with your property.

Download our handy checklist of some of the most common issues along with their possible causes