Hello, I know that there are a number of 'damp' questions here already, but mine seems a bit different.
The house was built in 1920, so it hasn't got any cavity wall insulation. I have a built in cupboard (over the stairs) upstairs in my bedroom. It's got a door to it which I normally keep closed and the cupboard is on the corner of the house.
I went in there earlier and the room smells very musty and when I pulled out some boxes in there, I found that the walls are covered in a green kind of mould, and everything in the boxes feels quite damp. Most of the contents are a bit mouldy and have got greenish damp on them too :(
Can I have some expert advise please?!
Do you think this is caused by a lack of ventilation, so should I put in a vent, or is it caused by something else?? I know that it might be hard to tell, but any advise would be very gratefully received as this is new territory for me.
Thanks for your quick reply. Yes, it is a cupboard where the mould (algae?!) is 'growing'.
Would putting a vent in the door do the trick? It was suggested to me that i'd have to put a vent in on the outside wall, and that looks very difficult what with it being upstairs -I'd much rather put the vent in the door if it will work!
Also, how could I insulate the walls? Is there something I could apply to the walls? I don't think that I could do cavity wall insulation.....
CLEAR OUT CUPBOARD AND GIVE THE WALLS A GOOD CLEAN TO GET RID OF MOULD/ALGIE.
WHEN THIS IS DONE, CARRY OUT FOLLOWING CHECK: -
MAKE SURE AN AREA OF WALL (1 FOOT SQUARE) IS DRY TO TOUCH.
CUT A PIECE OF KITCHEN FOIL TO FIT OVER THIS AREA.
APPLY FLAT TO WALL WITH TAPE ON ALL EDGES TO SEAL.
INSPECT IN THE MORNING.
IF CONDENSATION PROBLEM, THE SIDE AWAY FROM WALL WILL BE WET.
IF DAMP PROBLEM, THE SIDE AGAINST WALL WILL BE WET.
YOU MUST TRY TO FIND OUT WHICH IT IS BEFORE YOU CAN REMEDY THE PROBLEM, SO THAT NO GHOUSTS WILL COME BACK TO HAUNT YOU IN THE FUTURE.
IF IT IS A DAMP PROBLEM.
FROM OUTSIDE, LOOK FOR OBVIOUS SIGNS OF WATER PENETRATION FROM OUTSIDE. (LAEKING OR MISSING GUTTERS ETC)
CURE THESE PROBLEMS FIRST.
IF IT IS A CONDENSATION PROBLEM ON INSIDE OF COLD WALLS.
YOU CAN GET PLASTER BOARD THAT HAS A LAYER OF DENSE FOAM INSULATION ON THE BACK. YOU CAN COVER THE CUPBOARD WALLS WITH THIS MATERIAL TO PROVIDE A WARMER WALL SURFACE AND DECORATE WITH ANTI CONDESATION PAINT.
THE VENT PROBLEM IS BEST SOLVED FROM THE OUTSIDE.
VENT IN DOOR WILL INTRODUCE WARM MOIST AIR INTO CUPBOARD TO CONDENSE OUT ON COLD WALLS AS THEY ARE AT PRESENT.
PUTTING VENTS ON DOOR IS JUST LIKE LEAVING THE DOOR AJAR.
AT BEST IT WILL DO THE TRICK WITH WALLS MADE WARM AS DESCRIBED ABOVE.
I agree - external air vent would be best and simplest, followed by applying insulation on the inside.
But I would look for an external cause first - the problem sounds too serious and localised. Are you sure you don't have a leaking gutter just by the cupboard? Check with a pair of binoculars or zoom camera when it next rains.
Cost - not expensive to add a vent - builders have special tools to drill through brick with the correct diameter. You could even get away with Â£50 if it's something he can slip in at the end of the day or a cash Saturday job.
Adding insulation is a pain as you have to redecorate, and I'm not convinced it'll be that effective.