Dampness and condensation

Dampness and condensation

Dampness is usually caused by a fault in the basic structure of the building which allows water to come into the house from the outside. There are two different kinds of dampness:

Penetrating damp

This can be caused by water coming in through the roof or walls, eg missing roof tiles, loose roughcast and cracks around windows and doors. You can usually identify dampness around the walls or ceiling by its musty smell, and if it forms wet patches after rain.

Rising damp

This can be caused if there is damaged or missing damp-proof course (a mechanism to stop moisture rising up from the ground). Rising damp usually leaves water marks on the walls.

Penetrating or rising damp can be identified by the maintenance officer who will call at your home and inspect the problem, and then carry out the necessary repair. If you think your home has either penetrating or rising damp, contact the Repairs Centre - freephone 0800 052 5574.


Condensation occurs when there is too much moisture inside your home and the warm air meets a cold surface such as a window or wall. If condensation persists, mould will appear - usually in areas where air does not circulate. It can also damage clothes and furnishings. The best way to prevent or reduce condensation is to:

  • keep your house warm
  • keep your house well ventilated
  • make sure the windows are opened when cooking or having a bath
  • do not overfill wardrobes and cupboards as this can make it difficult for air to circulate
  • keep kitchen and bathroom doors closed when cooking or washing to stop steam spreading through the house
  • use extractor fans where fitted
  • dry clothes outside if possible

If condensation is a problem, contact the Repairs Centre for further advice.