7 Ways To Fix Moisture in Walls
Whether you have your own space or live in a rented house does not matter. If you ever notice bulges on the walls, stains, and the walls feel constantly wet or like they are sweating, it means the space has a moisture problem.
And that is never a good sign. I faced this issue in the space I was residing in a couple of years ago, which was not a pleasant experience. But, it is not uncommon and can happen, especially during the winter.
There are multiple potential reasons for the accumulation of moisture in the walls. And if you leave it unattended without taking any measures, it promotes the growth of mold, stains, and bacteria. It can also rot structural wood and lead to swelling in the drywalls. So how to fix moisture in walls?
After testing and trying several methods and strategies, I have a comprehensive guide for you where everything related to this topic will be covered. If you are facing this problem or you want to know how to solve it if it occurs, keep reading till the end.
What causes moist walls inside the house?
Honestly, there are two specific reasons behind the accumulation of moisture in walls in most cases. You will see moisture from outside coming in and getting trapped without finding a way out. Or the humidity inside the house gets trapped behind the walls. And sometimes, it can also be a combination of both.
When I experienced this issue, it was due to the excess moisture inside my house. And I did not notice it immediately until I started scene stains on the walls and mild mold growth. Here are the most common reasons which cause moisture in walls.
Leaks inside the walls
The most common reason I have come across leaks inside the walls. But why does it happen? Most of our houses have water pipes running behind the walls. And if there is a leak in those pipes, the water can spread through the walls.
You will usually see them around the ceiling, on particular sections, or where the pipes are connected to the external framework. It can also happen near your bathroom or sink area, as those spaces are prone to leaks.
And let’s not forget the chimneys and vents. If there are cracks, water can seep in and penetrate the walls. It is not very hard to spot leaks as they form stains quite fast. But it is essential to keep an eye on plumbing issues to identify them as soon as they occur.
Leaks from outside
If you face the problem of wet walls from outside leaks, the chances of the rain being the culprit are very high. Heavy rains can cause white patches on the walls due to water accumulation.
Rainwater can also penetrate through cracks in walls, damaged door seals, loose shingles, leaks in the chimney, etc. It is not always possible to keep a constant eye on it in the middle of hectic schedules, but it is a good idea to set a reminder at regular intervals to look for signs of moisture in walls around the house.
Condensation on walls
Condensation on walls is one thing you might have noticed several times on your bathroom wall after taking a hot shower. The primary reason behind this is the collision of warm and moist air with cool and dry air. You can also see it in a hot kitchen. But if those droplets occur frequently, the wall will start absorbing that moisture and feel damp.
I have also seen this in one of my friend’s places during the cold weather. It can happen when the temperature is freezing outside while it is warm and cozy inside.
The reason behind thermal bridges occurring is primarily due to insulation problems. When any apartment does not have sufficient insulation, the thermal resistance of the walls decreases, then you will see condensation forming due to temperature fluctuations. This mainly occurs where the insulation installation has been done poorly.
How to fix moisture in walls?
If you know the right strategies and techniques, preventing wet walls is not very hard. The key is to identify the locations where the chances of moisture build-up are the highest. Once you have placed the cause and the source, you can choose the appropriate solution quickly.
Here are some tips on how to fix moisture in walls.
Use a dehumidifier
Investing in a dehumidifier is one of the best approaches if you want to know how to fix moisture in walls. Once I invested in a good-quality dehumidifier, I realized quickly that it was one of the best investments I have ever made.
A dehumidifier can remove excess water in the room and avoid mold growth and dampness. It is even better if you have purchased a portable one as you can quickly move it from one room to another.
Depending on your size requirements, you can also get a small one that will fit easily in any cupboard, shed, or loft. If you use this device during the winter months, ensure that there are no closed rooms with poor ventilation and high humidity.
What I like about a dehumidifier is that it not only helps eliminate the excess moisture but also helps my wet clothes dry quicker, even when I hang them indoors. It just sucks out the excess water from the garments.
These devices also help in promoting an overall better air quality.
Ventilate your house correctly
This step is the least you can do to prevent excess moisture build-up in the house. It is also the top solution that will appear in search results if you search for ways how to fix moisture in walls.
Even simple daily activities like breathing, cooking, and bathing can accumulate moisture in walls. And the logic is very simple. If you do not let this moisture go out, it will get trapped inside your house.
Even if you are not ready to take drastic measures, promoting fresh air circulation inside the space can work like a charm. It is just a simple step to ventilate your space and can be a game changer. You will notice your bathrooms and kitchens feeling much less humid after a while.
However, the vents in your house should go directly outside instead of going up only to the attic. Otherwise, all the excess moisture will accumulate again in the attic, and you will return to square one.
There are multiple options for vents available on the market, including timers and moisture sensors. Pick a budget you are comfortable with, and make your decision accordingly.
Work towards an improved insulation system
As we established above, poor insulation can lead to the creation of thermal bridges, and you do not want that. If you want to know how to fix moisture in walls, installing double-pane windows is a good start. This idea will help improve insulation to a considerable extent and will also decrease the loss of heat.
Try to go for trickle vents if you choose a new double-glazed fitting, and keep them open. The humid air inside the house can escape from these vents. Of course, you do not need to keep them open always. You can close them whenever you want to, according to your convenience.
Use vapor retarders
Not many are aware of this solution, and I was fascinated when I came across this solution to reduce moisture in the space. Hence, I decided to educate myself on this topic. If you are unaware of what vapor retarders are, these are specially treated materials that help to reduce water vapor. It can be any material like plastic sheets, paints, and metallic foils.
The amount of water vapor that can travel through each material can be measured with the help of a quantity known as permeance or perms. The perm value and the efficiency of the vapor retarder are inversely proportional to each other. In other words, if the perm value is lower, the vapor retarder works better.
You can choose the type of vapor retarder once you figure out whether the moisture typically moves into or outside your house. I would not recommend using a vapor retarder if the moisture travels both ways for significant periods during the year.
Fix all the leaks
I have already mentioned how leakage issues are extremely common, even though they are problematic. If you do not fix it, it won’t be possible to eliminate the dampness and the wet patches on the walls. Usually, the culprit is a leaky bathtub or sink or other appliances like dishwashers and machine machines.
The wet walls can also occur due to water seeping through cracks in roofs, chimneys, and vents. And the longer you leave it unattended, the condition will only start getting worse. The first step you need to do here is to identify the source of the leak. It will be easier if you have experience in this field. But if you do not, I will recommend hiring a professional.
You will find multiple DIY solutions to fix broken pipes and gutters. But if you do not have the required skills, there is a high probability of the issue occurring again in the future. Hence, getting a professional to do the job is a better idea, as some of the skills will require the strict supervision of a plumber or a roofer.
Make use of exhaust fans
Using exhaust fans is a lot like promoting ventilation inside the space. It will direct the moist air outside, and I have found it works exceptionally well when you take steam showers or cook in the kitchen. It reduces the overall humidity and prevents moisture from accumulating in the walls.
Multiple varieties and options are available on the market, including commercial exhaust fans. And I recommend using these as they are pretty affordable and do the job well.
Construction material choices matter more than you think
Many different components have a role to play while building any house. And choosing the materials will determine how well your house will stand against different issues. The capability of holding and passing moisture varies from material to material.
For example, choosing bricks for walls is risky as it tends to collect more moisture and allows higher moisture content to pass through them.
If you want to avoid moisture seeping into the walls, I suggest going for concrete instead of plaster. I would also request to consider the ventilation system, especially in the kitchens, and avoid placing any heavy furniture there. Choosing wooden furniture again is a risk, but you can choose the non-impregnated type if you prefer the wooden look in your space.
When dealing with moisture problems, remember to focus on two primary areas in your house: the kitchen and the bathroom.
Moisture build-up in the walls, internal or external, is never a good sign. And as soon as you see any wet patches, I will always suggest figuring out the source immediately and taking necessary measures. If you leave it unattended, the moisture will spread and start damaging the overall structural integrity of your house. Very soon, you will be able to spot mold and mildew growth.
One of the most effective methods to avoid the accumulation of moisture is to take care of air circulation inside the house and invest in a dehumidifier if possible.
The preventive measures mentioned in the article will help you deal with the problem efficiently and ensure your walls are dry and free from excess moisture. As they say, taking precautions as soon as possible is better than curing the issue.
How to dry moist walls quickly?
If you want quick results on how to fix moisture in walls, run your fans and dehumidifiers on maximum power 24/7. It will help eliminate all traces of moisture from the walls and prevent the wood present in your house from rotting and mold growth. You can also run your air conditioner, open the wall cabinet doors, strip away wall coverings, and move the furniture away from wet walls.
How to fix damp walls externally?
Repair any cracks in walls and other masonry defects to fix damp walls externally. Reach out to a professional if the issue is significant. Masonry protection creams are also available in the market today, which can help prevent rain penetration. If the roof or cutters are clogged with moss and leaves, get rid of them. Try to improve the house’s insulation and work on the heating factor to insulate cold walls.
What are the signs of moisture in walls?
Some common signs of moisture in walls are peeling paint or wallpaper, crumbling plaster, white patches on the wall after rain, visible mold, water running down the walls inside your house, stains and watermarks, and a musty, stale odor. There are other signs, but you will encounter these most common ones.
How to treat rising dampness in an old house?
Rising dampness usually occurs when the moisture from the ground travels up the walls through capillary action. The most economical way to treat this condition is to use a damp-proofing injection cream.
You can also install a new damp-proof membrane, which is somewhat complicated. After injecting the treatment cream, it is suggested to re-plaster the affected area to prevent the issue from occurring again.