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Where to check for damp when buying a house

Categories: Damp Proofing

Home buyers must always check thoroughly for mould and damp problems before they commit to a sale. Often, home buyers are naïve to the amount of remedial work their property needs in order to cure damp. While many cases of damp need simple and inexpensive treatment, in extreme cases the building’s structure may be a danger resulting to lengthy and costly remedial work.

When viewing a property, take thorough observation at the main areas below to catch out any damp problems.

Where to Check for Damp

checking for damp when home buying


You can instantly tell if the basement is suffering from damp. There can be evidence of moisture ingress and mould growth, combined with a damp and cold atmosphere. Moisture within the basement will quickly destroy paintwork, so look out for discolouration or damp patches on the walls.


Do the floorboards feel spongy? This means the wood beneath the flooring is beginning to rot and decay because of moisture seeping in from the ground.

Walls and ceilings

You will notice wall discolouration or paint and wallpaper peeling off the walls. Bad cases of damp may result to re-plastering using a damp proof membrane first of all to cure and prevent any further moisture seeping into the walls. Minimal black mould can be cured by a mould wash concentrate which will cleanse and eliminate black mould. Use an anti-mould paint, and only an anti-mould paint to redecorate the walls. Simply covering the walls with normal paint will not prevent further outbreaks – the mould will continue to come back.


Bathrooms may suffer from excessive condensation due to showering, bathing and the use of hot water. Condensation in bathrooms often leads to a rapid and unhealthy spread of black mould and other fungi. If the bathroom is suffering from condensation, you know mould is going to follow, and fast.

Closet with water heater

There is going to be a small amount of moisture damage surrounding the water heater, however if the dry wall is soft in that room, there may be a chance of a larger moisture problem elsewhere in the property.

Sniff out the smell!

Keep your nose open to a musty smell. This is one of the first tail signs that a property is suffering from damp, even if you can’t see it.

The best way to ensure your property is completely clear from damp is to call in a surveyor to check the property for you. If damp is found, contact the vendor and negotiate the price. If the damage is minimal you could potentially cure the damp conditions yourself, however always consult a professional if you are not sure.

Read our guide to How to Get Rid of Damp for more information on identifying damp or browse our damp proofing products.