Winning the battle against damp walls

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One of the worst enemies of our homes is time as it gradually advances into the foundations, imprinting its absolute power on our walls and killing our furniture slowly from within. With the help of the sun, it stains and discolours the walls, peeling away the paint as a reminder that no one can escape its grasp. Time’s best friend though is none other than the moisture that colonises the house walls.

As it flakes the wall paint and gradually kills their vibrant hues, we are left with little choice but to fight back. Of course, we can’t win a battle against time but when it comes to moisture we can at least delay the inevitable surrender.

Moisture on the walls is a recurring theme in any house as rain, humidity and steam do not discriminate against size or decorative style. However, there are ways to restore your walls and prevent moisture from taking over your home.

Take notes and, as always, be inspired!

Always find the cause of moisture

modern Dining room by Gantous Arquitectos
Gantous Arquitectos

Polanco Penthouse

Gantous Arquitectos

It is a common misconception that repainting the walls will solve the moisture problem but in truth your victory will be short lived. Before starting any repairs you should identify the cause of dampness. Is rainwater being filtered properly? Is the room humid? Do you have adequate ventilation? 

These are important questions to ask. You should also identify if the affected area is merely a wet spot or if it extends further. Discovering the root of the issue and the scope of the problem are key in devising an effective plan of attack.

Keep your walls clean

Usually moisture brings along its comrades, mould and fungi, which can be a cause of nasty smells and a darkening of your walls.

Before taking any counter measures we recommend evacuating the room or at least covering your furniture. After you have taken these precautions, it’s time to turn your attention to that evil fungi. Bleach is proven to be a worthy adversary in this fight. You can also sand you walls so the fungi is completely eliminated.

You should always remember that these microbes are extremely harmful to health, especially to children, elderly and people with respiratory issues or allergies.

Wash the walls occasionally

 Corridor & hallway by CERVERA SÁNCHEZ ARQUITECTOS
CERVERA SÁNCHEZ ARQUITECTOS

OTRA VISTA DEL ESPACIO COMÚN RESTAURADO

CERVERA SÁNCHEZ ARQUITECTOS

Once you have dealt with these nasty microbes you should turn your attention towards dust and other stains. Washing your walls will do the trick and, yes,  we know it sounds absurd to use water when you are trying to get rid of moisture.  

However, there is method to this apparent madness. Water will completely remove dust, thereby allowing the repairs to adhere properly. You cannot win the fight against moisture unless you defeat First Lieutenant Dust!

Repair cracks promptly

A sign that moisture is winning the battle are cracks in your walls. 

In order to fix these cracks you need to know what material your walls are made off. You cannot fill a plaster crack with cement!  Generally plaster is a material that accumulates moisture and mould easily and is thus more susceptible to cracking. You should take that into account before choosing building materials for your home.

After the walls are dry from cleaning, fill the cracks with the appropriate material, taking care to avoid applying too many layers as this causes an uneven surface.

Properly smooth and sand walls

After you have patched the cracks there will likely be some irregularities on the wall surface, which will require sanding to remove the evidence of the problem.

Rather than properly repairing after sanding some people cover the effects with decorative objects, such as artwork or mirrors. This is a bad idea as they will simply hinder ventilation, causing moisture to stage an unwelcome return.

Waterproof paint

 Walls by RTZ-Arquitectos
RTZ-Arquitectos

Puerta plegadiza para dividir cuartos

RTZ-Arquitectos

The hardest part is not defeating moisture but maintaining your victory by not giving it any chance to return.

So, paint your walls with colours that will blend harmoniously with the interior décor of your home. It's preferable to use waterproof paint but, if it’s too difficult to find, you can apply an anti-moisture sealant. DIY stores usually stock both.  

You should apply the paint or the sealer throughout the room and beyond only the affected area as it's likely moisture will appear on adjoining walls. It's also a good idea to apply a waterproof coating on the ceiling in order to prevent any leakage from rainwater passing through to your walls.

For some bathroom décor inspiration, check out these: Beautiful Bathroom Mosaic Tiles.

Ventilation is key

As a final preventative measure you should always keep your rooms ventilated, especially if you live in an area with humid weather. In doing so, you will help stop moisture and bacteria accumulating on your walls and furniture.

When it comes to the bathroom proper ventilation is essential so as to give steam an exit point. Run checks on your pipes and roof to ensure that they are in good condition  and do not leak, which will inevitably lead to the problem emerging again. 

A little work should finally defeat damp walls once and for all!

How did you fightback against damp walls? Let us know in the comments!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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