Dealing with damp and mould
Damp happens when water comes into your home from outside or because of condensation or water leaks. Damp can damage your home and cause mould.
If you have damp or mould in your home
Call 0191 525 5500. The phone line is open Monday to Thursday, from 8:30am to 5pm, and Friday, from 8:30am to 12:30pm.
Where needed, we will arrange a damp inspection for your home. During the inspection, we will:
- assess the structure of the property
- check the level of humidity
- check your extractor fans work
- take photographs of any issues we find
After you have reported the damp or mould, you will be allocated a case co-ordinator, to assist throughout the repairs journey.
If we find faults or damage during a damp inspection
If you are a tenant, we will contact you to arrange an appointment to repair faults or damage.
If you are a leaseholder, we will contact you to arrange an appointment to repair external or structural faults or damage. If the damp or mould is caused by something inside your home, like a water leak, you are responsible for getting it repaired.
Causes of damp
Faults and damage
Faults and damage can cause rising and penetrating damp.
Rising damp is water rising from the ground into your home. It only affects basements and ground floor rooms. Usually, it will leave a mark on the wall and rise no more than 30cm to 60cm (1 foot to 2 feet) above ground.
Penetrating damp is water getting from the outside to the inside of your home. It affects external walls or ceilings. Usually, it appears as a patch that looks and feels damp.
Faults and damage include damaged, blocked, missing or leaking:
- bath, shower and sink seals
- brickwork and finishes, including chimneys, walls and pointing between bricks
- doors and windows
- ground, depending on the ground level and condition of the damp proof course
- gullies, which are outside and have a grating or grid to stop leaves, litter and larger objects from getting into the sewer
- gutters and downpipes
- roof tiles and flashing
- water and waste pipes
Rising and penetrating damp does not usually cause mould. The damp areas are usually too wet or contain salts or chemicals that stop mould from growing.
We are responsible for repairing any faults and damage that cause damp.
Condensation is the most common cause of damp. It happens when moist air inside a home touches a cold surface. The water drops can soak into paintwork, wallpaper, woodwork or plastered surfaces and make windows, walls and ceilings look wet.
It also causes mould to grow. Mould grows particularly well on paper, cardboard, ceiling tiles and wood.
Mould in a property means you are more likely to have breathing problems and infections, including the sinuses, throat, airways and lungs. It can cause allergies and asthma or cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
Damp and mould can also affect your immune system. People more sensitive to damp and mould include:
- babies and children
- older people
- people with skin conditions
- people with breathing problems, like allergies and asthma
- people with a weakened immune system
Moist air in one part of your home can cause condensation in another part of your home. The moist air will move to colder parts of your home.
Condensation is worse from September to April when it is colder. It does not depend on whether it is wet or dry outside. You usually find it:
- in corners of rooms
- on north-facing walls
- in areas with little or no air circulation, like cupboards or behind furniture
Everything you do adds moisture to the air, including:
- cleaning and washing up
- cooking and boiling a kettle
- drying clothes indoors
- using the bath and shower
You are responsible for reducing condensation in your home and cleaning and clearing mould.
Reducing condensation in your home
Keep your home warm
A consistent warm temperature of 15°C to 16°C keeps surfaces warm and makes it more difficult for condensation to form.
To help keep your home warm, you can also:
- tuck long curtains behind radiators
- keep doors closed to stop any draughts
- open your blinds and curtains when the sun is shining to allow the natural sunlight to warm up a room
Avoid using portable heaters that use oil, paraffin or gas bottles.
Wipe away condensation
Wipe condensation and moisture off windows and windowsills every morning.
Stop moist air reaching other rooms
Close internal doors during the night and when you use your kitchen or bathroom.
Keep your loft hatch closed when you are not using your loft.
Produce less moist air
- cover pans when cooking
- dry clothes outside or in your bathroom with the door closed and window open or extractor fan on
- put cold water in the bath before the hot water to reduce the steam
- switch off a kettle as soon as the water has boiled
- vent tumble dryers outside
- drying clothes on radiators
- using portable heaters that use oil, paraffin or gas bottles
A dehumidifier will help reduce moist air.
Help air to circulate and leave your home
To help air circulate, you can:
- use ceiling fans
- leave space between the back of furniture and walls
- put furniture near internal walls instead of external walls or against or near radiators
- open cupboard doors, wardrobe doors and drawers to let out trapped air
To help air leave your home, you can use extractor fans and open:
- bathroom windows when using the bath or shower
- bedroom windows in the morning
- curtains and blinds
- kitchen windows when cooking
- windows on opposite sides of your home
Never block air bricks or vents in walls, doors and windows.
Cleaning and clearing mould
Wipe down the area with a fungicidal wash that has a Health and Safety Executive approval number. You can buy fungicidal wash from supermarkets and DIY shops.
Never use undiluted bleach to clean walls or ceilings with mould. This can be dangerous and may encourage mould to grow in the future.
If you need to redecorate, use an oil-based sealer or primer and fungicidal paint.
Once you have removed any mould, follow the different ways to reduce condensation in your home to help stop the mould from growing back.