Things to think about

Areas affected by damp or mould may only be redecorated successfully if the cause of the damp has been eradicated.

New patches of damp can occur for a number of reasons: burst or dripping pipes, a weeping radiator valve, a leaking waste pipe, or a broken roof tile are all possibilities. Investigate the cause and get it fixed before dealing with the decorative aspect of the repair.

Damp can be caused by exterior masonry problems. Once a year, inspect your house's exterior to ensure that the mortar pointing between bricks is sound. Also, make sure that soil or debris is not piled up above the damp proof course.

Blocked gutters are a common source of damp problems. This can be easily resolved by making sure that your gutters are cleared of debris at least once a year. Consider using leaf guards in the gutter lengths and downpipes in order to prevent blockages.

Condensation can cause damp problems, and is an especially common problem in bathrooms and kitchens. If you do not have an extractor fan, make sure you have one fitted.

Condensation can be greatly reduced by devices such as dehumidifiers, which will remove excess moisture from the air.

Opening a window is often all that is needed to reduce condensation problems in a room.

Make sure you use the trickle vents if you have them on your windows. These are the small vents found along the top of the frame edge on more modern windows. These allow a circulation of fresh air even when the window is closed.

As soon as a damp problem is identified, take immediate measures to find the cause and make a repair. If left untreated, damp can seriously damage the fabric of your home and, in most cases, the solution is neither expensive nor time-consuming.

Damp can cause wet or dry rot. Both types of rot are fungal attacks that rely on damp surfaces and environments in order to take hold. Dry rot, which is characterised by web-like fungal growth, tends to break wood down into cuboidlike shapes, thus ruining its structure. It can spread across masonry surfaces making it a particularly damaging problem. If identified early, small areas can be treated with easily available products. For more extensive problems, professional help will be needed.

Dealing with mould

1

Mould killers contain fungicides, so when you need to use such a product, wear the recommended protective equipment.

2

A spray-on mould killer is used here. Apply the product liberally to the affected area, as directed. More than one application may be required.

3

Leave on the affected area for as long as is directed by the manufacturer before thoroughly wiping down the area.

4

With clean water, once again wipe down the area to clean off any further residue. Leave to dry completely before painting.

5

Apply two coats of your chosen finishing paint to the affected area, allowing adequate drying time between coats.

Dealing with stains

1

It is easy to redecorate an old damp patch as long as the cause of the damp has been eradicated, and the area is thoroughly dry.

2

Wallpaper must be removed from the area, otherwise simply paint over the damp stain with stain cover, ensuring even and complete coverage.

3

You can also use an aerosol stain cover. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for usage and, again, be sure of total coverage.

4

Whichever stain cover you use, when it is dry, you may overpaint with your chosen topcoat colour. Apply evenly over the patch of stain cover.

5

Two coats of paint should always be applied to achieve the best finish. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly between coats.

Dealing with lifting wallpaper

1

Wallpaper edges and corners commonly lift in kitchens and bathrooms because of the damp, moist atmosphere.

2

For lifting joints and seams, peel back the edges and apply a little overlap adhesive to stick the seam back down. Coat the wall surface for large areas.

3

Applying adhesive to the back of paper flaps and allowing it to soak in will make the paper more pliable for smoothing back in place.

4

Make sure that you wipe all excess adhesive off the wallpaper surface with a clean, damp sponge. Allow the area to dry.

5

Apply some clear silicone sealant along the joint. This will keep the paper down, be invisible to the eye and prevent future lifting.

6

Smooth the sealant along the joint with a wetted finger. Sealant can cause skin irritation, so wear vinyl gloves.