White Wall With Damp

What Percentage Damp is Acceptable in Walls? A Basic Guide

Moisture can lead to a vast array of problems if too much enters your home. When excess moisture enters your walls, it can lead to costly structural damage. Moreover, too much dampness can cause respiratory issues for certain individuals.

Luckily, there are ways you can fix walls that are too damp. In this post, we’ll teach you how to measure dampness in your walls and what to do if there’s too much.

How Do I Know if My Walls Are Damp?

The first frontline defense against uninvited moisture is identifying rising dampness. If you know your walls are at risk of water damage, you can do the necessary repairs to protect your home.

Here are some common warning signs of rising dampness:

  • Wet patches throughout the walls
  • Musty damp smell
  • Corrosion on any metal
  • Peeling or bubbling plaster
  • Wood rot

If you notice one or more of the warning signs above, you need to contact a professional water restoration service as soon as possible.

What is an Acceptable Percentage of Damp in Walls?

There are numerous variables to consider when it comes to an acceptable percentage of moisture in walls. For starters, different wall materials absorb moisture in their own ways. The rule of thumb is that any moisture reading over 16% is considered damp and needs attention. If your reading is over 20%, you may need to replace the drywall entirely.

Walls in homes with healthy humidity levels typically have a moisture reading between 12-15%. You should try to check the dampness of your walls once a year, especially during the humid months. This way, you can get an accurate reading and take the necessary steps.

How To Check Dampness Levels

Plumbers typically use a moisture meter when checking for wall leaks. This device can pinpoint exactly where the wall is holding excess moisture. Once they find the area with the most dampness, they’ll know where to find the source of the leak.

You can find commercial-level moisture meters at most major hardware stores. However, hiring a professional will give you a guaranteed accurate reading.

How Do You Fix Dampness in Walls?

Now that you know the danger of damp walls, how do you fix them? Luckily, there are various ways you can fix a damp wall. That said, each method works best in certain situations.

For Rising Dampness

Peeling or bubbling paint, wet patches, and weak plaster are all signs of rising dampness (dampness closest to the floor). Poor ventilation or drainage issues are the usual suspects for rising dampness.

Peeling White Paint

Here’s how to fix it:

  • Make sure your home has proper drainage.
  • Check beneath your floorboards near the wall to see if there’s enough space for the moisture from the soil below to evaporate.
  • Replace your course with something damp-proof.

For Wet Patches

Wet patches on the wall are typically due to water from the outside seeping through the cracks and gaps. For example, wet patches near the windows are commonly caused by cracks in the window frame. Faulty masonry work, soft materials, and other structural issues can also cause damp patches on your walls.

Here’s how to fix it:

  • Make sure your external walls are kept in good shape.
  • Keep the cut drip grooves around your windows clear.
  • Seal any cracks or gaps you find around your window frames.

For Condensation Build-Up

Condensation is a sneaky yet destructive element. It usually forms when there’s too much moisture inside the house. Without proper ventilation, the moisture-filled air will eventually make its way into the walls.

You can check for condensation by taping some kitchen foil over the suspected problem area. If the foil is wet after one day, you have a condensation problem.

Here’s how to fix it:

  • Ensure to install high-quality ventilation systems in your kitchen, laundry room, bathrooms, or any place with excess moisture. Removing the moist air will prevent it from damaging your walls.
  • Avoid using appliances that create a lot of moisture in the air.

For Leaks

Leaks are any homeowner’s worst nightmare. They can come all of a sudden and leave your home completely wrecked. Leaks can also take a toll on your walls, and they aren’t always easy to detect. Wall leaks are typically caused by roofing issues, broken gutters, and faulty drainage systems.

To spot a wall leak, look for any damp patches. They tend to form around the source of the leak, making it easier to find a solution.

Here’s how to fix it:

  • Inspect your roof and make any necessary repairs.
  • Examine your pipes and replace any outdated components.

When To Call a Professional

Minor water damage on walls can be treated with a little DIY spirit. However, some issues may be too much to handle on your own. In that case, it’s best to call a professional to avoid any further damage to your walls or the rest of your property.

Damp is dangerous, the longer you wait the worse the problem becomes.

Professionals have the necessary tools and experience to get the job done quickly and safely. Moreover, they can also help you identify any other water issues around your dwelling. If you feel like the dampness on your walls is too much to handle, reach out to a reputable water restoration service in your area.

Read more: How to dry out walls after water damage

How All Dry Can Help

Finding dampness on your walls can be stressful, especially if you don’t know how to fix it. Fortunately, treating water damage on walls is usually quick and affordable. You can restore your walls to a healthier moisture level with the right service.

Here at All Dry US, we’ve helped countless homeowners repair wet walls, and we’d love to help you next. 

Reach out to our friendly team today to learn how All Dry can keep your home safe from mold, water damage, and more!

Ben Suiskind
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