Are Damp And Mould The Same Thing?

Wednesday 28th June 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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Mould growing by a window CONTENTS

Mould and damp are very common problems in the UK thanks to our cold, wet weather. They often get confused for one another as they are both caused by excess moisture and often appear together.

However, there are lots of differences between damp and mould, from how they look to the impact they can have on your health, the main one being that damp often leads to mould.

Here at ICE Cleaning, our Dewpoint-accredited technicians can carry out fast, thorough mould remediation services. We operate nationwide, 365 days a year, and can be on site in a matter of hours in an emergency.

Keep reading to find out what mould and damp are, and the differences between them.

Damp

What is damp?

Damp is the presence of moisture in the structure of a building. It can be caused by several different things including leaky roofs and pipes, humidity, and broken gutters.  

There are three types of damp:

  • Condensation which occurs when humid, warm air encounters a cold surface, like a window pane.
  • Rising damp which is caused by a defective damp-proof course that enables water to transfer into the building fabric from the ground.
  • Penetrating damp which includes any kind of water that leaks into a property, such as from burst pipes or overflowing gutters.

Can damp affect your health?

Damp alone is not a major risk to your health. Once mould has started to grow, however, exposure may cause health issues. These will be covered later in this blog.

That being said, it can put you in danger of physical injury. Damp could cause structural damage to timber and masonry, such as dry rot, which could cause the building to collapse and the floor to become unstable. You can find out more about the dangers of damp in your home in this blog.

What are the signs of damp?

There are lots of indicators that there is a damp problem in your home. Aside from mould growing in your home, these include:

  • A musty odour in your property
  • White residue appearing on walls and floors (also known as efflorescence)
  • Discoloured paint
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Water droplets on windows and walls

How to get rid of damp

To fix your damp problem, you will need to bring in professionals to pinpoint the kind of damp in your property and carry out the appropriate treatment.

For a rising damp problem, for example, the damp-proof course and membrane will probably need to be repaired or replaced. Fixing penetrating damp may require saturated building materials to be replaced and the cause of it sorted. Condensation, on the other hand, can be wiped away.

Mould

What is mould?

Mould is a type of fungus caused by excess moisture that grows on organic material, like wood. It is usually caused by damp, particularly condensation, leaking pipes, and rain seeping into a property.

It is usually found on or around windows due to the presence of condensation there, and in bathrooms and kitchens because of the build-up of moist air during cooking and washing.

Is mould dangerous?

Mould produces allergens, irritants, and occasionally toxins. Exposure to mould can cause an allergic reaction including sneezing, a runny nose, and a skin rash. It may even trigger asthma attacks.

One of the most common types of mould that can grow in the home is black mould or Stachybotrys chartarum.

What are the signs that mould is growing in your home?

  • There are black, green, brown, and white stains or smudgy patches growing around your property
  • You can smell a damp, musty odour
  • You have been suffering from a cold or allergy symptoms that are not easing

How to get rid of mould?

There are lots of home remedies online and mould removers in the shops that promise to kill mould. However, it is recommended that just like damp you bring in professionals to take care of it.

Most mould removal products may not be that effective and could only remove the surface spores. All the mould must be eliminated or it will grow back and continue to spread.

Professional cleaners will have the specialist products and equipment to tackle your entire mould problem, including growth in hard-to-reach areas, such as in ducts.

Mould removal is also very dangerous without personal protective equipment (PPE) as you will come very close to the mould and are more likely to touch and inhale the spores. Mould cleaners have the PPE and expertise to safely get rid of the mould.

Professionals can even diagnose the root cause of the mould in your home, such as damp, and advise on how to prevent it in the future. They will give you peace of mind that all the mould has been gotten rid of and shall not return.

You can find out more about who is responsible for damp and mould in a private rented property and what to do about it in this blog.

How to prevent damp and mould

As both are caused by excess moisture and damp can lead to mould, they can be prevented in the same ways. Here are a few examples of what you can do to keep them at bay:

  • Keep humidity levels in your home below 50%
  • Ventilate the property regularly to get rid of any built-up moist air
  • Have any leaks fixed as soon as possible
  • After a flood, dry out your home quickly as mould can start growing within 24 to 48 hours

Contact us today

Our technicians can remove all the mould spores from the surfaces and the air in your property. Every mould removal service comes with a lifetime guarantee* so you can be sure your home will stay mould-free in the future.

To book our technicians for mould remediation, get in touch with our team on 0208 066 0360 or at enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk.

*subject to advisories

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