I’m a property expert – nine cheap DIY fixes to prevent condensation and mould starting from just £6
IF you have mould growing on your walls or ceilings, this will not only play havoc in your home, but could also be harmful to your health.
Infestations often begin with condensation, caused when warm air comes into contact with a cool window or other cool surface.
If condensation and damp are left untreated, you could start seeing black, white or green patches of mould.
You may also begin to notice a nasty, musty smell.
While mould can be miserable, there are plenty of cheap DIY fixes you can carry out in your home to prevent it, according to Thomas Goodman from trades matching site, Myjobquote.co.uk.
We spoke to the property expert to find out more about some of the simple steps you can take.
Install a damp-proof course
This is a layer of waterproof material that is installed in the walls or floors of a building to prevent moisture from entering.
Thomas said: “You can add this protection yourself using a special membrane which is applied to the affected area.”
At Screwfix, you can get 15m of damp-proof membrane for £35.99. This is enough to cover around 60 square meters.
“Put this cover in place and you can help prevent rising damp and reduce the risk of mould growth,” said Thomas.
“But it’s important to ensure any existing damp or mould is treated first, to prevent further damage.”
If you’re not confident carrying out this job yourself, hire a professional to help.
Thomas added: “A tradesperson can ensure the damp-proofing is done correctly, and can offer guidance on the best type of membrane for your needs.”
Focus on fixing any leaks or plumbing issues
Leaky pipes, taps or roofs can contribute to excess moisture in the home, according to the property whizz.
“This can lead to condensation and mould growth,” he said.
“Inspect your plumbing and roof regularly for leaks, and repair any issues promptly, to prevent moisture from accumulating.”
Ignoring the problem can lead to more significant damage and higher repair costs further down the line.
“If you’re unsure about how to fix a leak or plumbing issue, try watching DIY tutorial videos,” he said.
“You may be able to fix the issue yourself, with simple tools and materials.”
If you don’t feel up to doing the job yourself, call in a professional plumber.
Take steps to improve ventilation
Proper ventilation is essential for reducing humidity levels in the home.
“Open windows and doors whenever possible to increase airflow,” said Thomas.
“Consider fitting extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens to vent moisture outside.”
At Wickes, the Manrose Quiet Bathroom Extractor Fan, is reduced from £32.70 to £29.
You can also use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air.
“Note that ventilation should be maintained year-round, and not just during the warmer months,” said Thomas.
“In the winter, you can still use a dehumidifier or extractor fan to help reduce humidity levels.”
You should also still open your windows.
At the very minimum, do this for at least 15 minutes every day, so that fresh air can replace moisture.
Ideally, aim to do this twice a day, first thing in the morning and before you go to bed.
Thomas added: “It’s a good idea to regularly clean and maintain your ventilation systems to ensure they are functioning properly and efficiently.”
Replace broken roof tiles
Missing or damaged roof tiles or shingles can allow moisture to seep into the home, leading to the growth of mould.
“Make sure you repair or replace these as soon as possible to prevent water from entering,” said the DIY supremo.
“You need to address the issue quickly, as delaying repairs can result in more extensive roof damage, and this can be costly to fix.”
If you’re unsure about what to do, consult with a professional roofer.
Thomas added: “Regular roof inspections can also help identify any issues early on.”
Use a sealant
As basements are below ground level, they are often prone to moisture problems, according to Thomas.
He said: “It’s worth applying a waterproofing agent or sealant to the walls and floors to prevent moisture from seeping in.”
B&Q sells a 300ml container of general purpose sealant for just under £6.
With any product, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
“It’s important to address any existing moisture or mould issues before applying the sealant,” said Thomas.
“In addition, you may want to think about installing a dehumidifier in your basement to help you maintain a dry environment.”
Keep the heating on
Given that cold surfaces such as walls and windows are more likely to attract condensation, it can be really helpful to have the heating on.
“This will keep these surfaces warm and prevent moisture from accumulating,” said Thomas.
“To save on energy costs, consider using a programmable thermostat.
That way, you can set the temperature lower when you’re not at home, or when you’re asleep.
Proper insulation can also help keep your home warm, and prevent heat loss through walls, floors and ceilings.”
Invest in protective paint
Another simple DIY fix to prevent condensation is mould-resistant paint, says Thomas.
“Before applying the solution, you must ensure the underlying surfaces are clean and dry,” he said.
At Wickes, you can pick up a 2.5l pot of mould protect emulsion paint for £25.
Use silica gel packets
Thomas recommends picking up some low-cost moisture-absorbing materials, such as silica gel packets or charcoal briquettes.
On Amazon, you can get 12 packs (20g) of silica gel for £13, and a 5kg bag of charcoal briquettes for £8.99.
Thomas added: “These can be placed in closets, cabinets and other small spaces to help reduce humidity levels.”
Arrange furniture carefully
Ensure there is always a gap between your furniture and walls.
“This will allow for airflow, and reduce the risk of mould growth,” said Thomas.
“Also remember to regularly clean and maintain your home, checking behind furnishings for any signs of excess moisture and mould.”
There are lots of cheap and easy ways to get rid of mould at home.
Some of these involve using items which you are likely to already have in your cupboards, such as white vinegar and baking soda.