How to check your home for damp

Damp is caused by a sudden increase in the amount of moisture infiltrating a building. It usually appears without warning and it can also disappear just as quickly. Damp is usually easy to spot, as it is concentrated and often causes discoloration. We’ve put together some information on how to check for the early signs of damp around your house.


Any tiny droplets of water can be the cause of a large and intense damp patch – the escape of water may be small, but is often concentrated in the same spot.

Repeated dripping quickly introduces more moisture which can then spill into neighbouring areas. 

Check for:

  • New plumbing for central heating, kitchens and bathrooms which can drip when first used
  • Failing waste pipes in old bathrooms
  • Damaged seals around baths and showers

Leaking gutters

When outdoor gutters at the eaves of a building leak, water will either run directly down the outside of the wall, or will splatter on the ground or window below. Leaks in other gutters can be extremely difficult to find. 

Check for:

  • Water leaking from gutters splashing onto walls
  • Tracks of water in the roof which may be following roof timbers for several feet
  • Moss or vegetation growth is also an indication of a water leak

Holes in the roof

This usually means missing, slipped or broken tiles or slates. 

Check for:

  • Small holes in the walls of your house
  • Inconsistency in the smoothness of wallpaper


Old downpipes can easily rust through without anyone being aware. Also, downpipes that disappear straight into the ground are very prone to blockages caused by debris, such as leaves from nearby trees, washed in from the gutters. 

Check for:

  • Holes in the back of a downpipe
  • Water splashing back up out of down pipe joints
  • Water flowing down the downpipe along brackets and onto the wall

It’s best to tackle any leaks or causes of damp as early as possible to minimise the potential damage to your home and your health.

Mold produces allergens, irritants and sometimes toxic substances that may cause an allergic reaction from sneezing and runny noses to skin rashes and more. Along with that dust mites tend to favour homes with high humidity or moisture.

A great way to prevent the occurrence of damp walls and floorboards is to avoid condensation building – so open up your windows and vents and let in some fresh air! 

Published 8 June 2016

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