Is Your Floor Damp? Here are Some Ways To Tell and Likely Reasons

Is Your Floor Damp? Here are Some Ways To Tell and Likely Reasons

10th February, 2023

It is common for floors made out of different materials to feel cold, especially when the temperatures fall. What is uncommon, however, is the floor feeling or being damp. Some dampness on materials like tile should not be too concerning, although you should deal with it as soon as possible, but it can be damaging to floors made out of different types of wood and carpet. The longer the damp issue goes on, the more damage it causes. It is important to learn to identify whether your floor has damp issues and the reasons it might be happening.

The Symptoms of a Damp Floor

Different symptoms can tell you that you have a damp issue, especially if you have a wooden floor. The issue is that once you notice these signs on wood flooring, the wood might be too damaged to be reused. However, there are even more serious issues you should be concerned about.

Issues With Wood Flooring

Starting with the most obvious, you will notice warping on a wooden floor if you have damp issues. The two main types of warning are cupping and crowning.

Wood swells when it absorbs moisture. When the wood on your floor swells too much, it can start pushing out at the edges, leading to the edges being higher than the centre. This leads to the indentation of the whole length of single boards. This is known as crowning, which is responsible for the wavy look of a wooden floor if you have damp issues.

Crowning is the inverse of the cupping problem. Sometimes the damp is not distributed throughout the floor but instead resides in the centre of your wooden boards. This causes the centre of the board, rather than the sides, to rise in what is known as crowning. Crowning might not be obvious until you sand down a wooden floor to restore it.

Another issue is known as buckling or warping. This happens when the concrete under a wooden floor has excess moisture. The wood absorbs the moisture and pulls away and separates from the subfloor. Boards can even peel several inches upwards in homes with excessive damp and where the floor has been exposed to moisture for a prolonged period.

All these issues require a damp and timber survey before you fix the floor. Finding the point of water ingress can help avoid the issues in the future because it can recur if you replace the boards without dealing with the cause of the damp.

Damp Carpet

The issues we have discussed above can go unnoticed for some time if you have a carpet covering the floor. However, the carpet can also become damp if the water ingress issue goes on for long enough.

A damp carpet can lead to the additional issue of mould in the home. This is because the carpet will hold water and not dry out due to being in an enclosed location. You might find mould under or around the carpet as well as under your floorboards when this happens. It is also possible to find mould in other areas of the house if the carpet remains damp for too long.

Early Warning Signs of a Damp Floor

One internal issue that can cause a damp floor is a wooden floor whose wood has too much moisture. You can easily deduce this if your relative air humidity is low but you still see droplets on the floor. You might also see droplets on the floor if you have high relative humidity in your home.

This Is caused by humidity when hot, as damp air comes into contact with the cold floor. It is common in the summer when the doors and windows are open. If you notice condensation and water droplets on the floor close to an open door or window, this is what is likely happening.

Other warning signs include musty odours caused by mould and bacteria growth, discoloured floor finishes, especially in wood flooring, and a pest infestation. Woodworm thrives in wood that has excess moisture. A sudden infestation could mean you have a damp issue that needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

Serious Issues Causing Damp Floors

Damp floors can be caused by very serious issues like rising damp. Before you go any further, it is important to understand what rising damp is and how to get your home tested for it. Rising damp occurs when water rises from the ground through the walls and causes damp in a home. The damage it causes leads to it being a very issue. To know if you have a rising damp issue, look at London damp surveys. A surveyor will check your home for this issue and propose remedial measures.

Bad Ground Drainage

Ground drainage is a critical consideration during construction projects. Good ground drainage ensures the ground does not become saturated with water, especially when it rains. Bad ground drainage, on the other hand, can lead to issues such as water coming through the floor to cause it to be or feel damp.

These issues are common in the basement and floors at ground level. Regular inspections, especially in new properties and those in areas that receive heavy rain, can help you know whether you need to take additional measures to protect your floor and home.

Plumbing Issues

Plumbing issues are tricky because they can happen anywhere in the house and not just in obvious places like the kitchen or bathroom. A damp floor anywhere you would not expect is a serious cause of concern as it can be due to a slab leak. This is a type of leak that occurs due to the degradation of the pipes under your floor.

Contacting a plumber to find the leak is important, so the water does not cause additional damage.


A damp floor could be an indication of a serious issue. While the symptoms might be easy to notice, the damage happening under the floor might not be. This is why it is a good idea to contact a damp specialist to check the home for the point of ingress and to help you address the dampness in the house.