What Can Cause Dampness Under London Windows and Can It Be Fixed?

What Can Cause Dampness Under London Windows and Can It Be Fixed?

10th February, 2023

You are in the market for a home in London and upon doing a walk-through with the realtor, you notice dampness around the windows. Perhaps you never would have noticed this if you hadn’t gone over to see what the street view is from inside the home. At this point you find that the windows are all fogged up, preventing you from seeing anything until you get a cloth to wipe them up a bit.

You might think that someone had water boiling on the stove, causing steam to seep into nearby rooms. But what happens when you experience the very same thing when viewing the bedrooms upstairs? Do you actually think that steam is making its way up the stairs and around corners and through doors that are shut tightly?

In fact, it wasn’t boiling water. The fog is from leaky windows! However, what you may not be aware of is that fog is only one of the issues you could be dealing with. This is evidence in just how important a pre purchase survey is and how to go about damp proofing London homes so you will not need to deal with this if you buy and move into that home.

How to Assess Why This Is Happening

The very first thing to do is request an independent survey with the surveyors chosen by you. It is imperative that you have London damp surveys conducted by an independent surveyor that will be ethical in terms of their findings. You can probably trust all duly registered surveyors, but you will feel more comfortable if they are chosen by you. Bear in mind that if they are RICS certified, they are under the rules and regulations of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, meaning ethical surveys are absolutely required.

That said, you will almost always find that there are two common causes of dampness around windows but there are several ways in which that dampness can affect the home – none of which are pleasant! So, what will they find? You can bet it’s one of the two following underlying causes.

1. Improper Sealing Around Windows

Water is probably getting in around windows because they are improperly sealed. It doesn’t always mean that the right kind of sealant was used because age can wear sealants down as well. It could have been something the current owner missed, or didn’t understand, but it is something you need to be aware of before signing a purchase contract.

2. Lightweight Plaster Around Windows

The second reason why there is dampness around windows could be that whoever did the plastering job used a lightweight plaster that wasn’t ‘strong’ enough to withhold water during heavy rains or snow storms. Lightweight plaster can disintegrate quickly under those conditions because it wasn’t formulated to withstand significant amounts of water. It was either the wrong kind or insufficiently applied.

6 Most Common Concerns from Improperly Sealed Windows

This leads us to the most common concerns surrounding improperly sealed windows, the least of which is that fog. Yes, it’s a concern but you will find other, more pressing, concerns as outlined below.

1. Foggy Windows – Inability to See Out

Since you noticed those foggy windows already and your inability to see out, you know now from having that property survey completed that it can be a problem. However, in most cases that isn’t going to be your greatest concern and you’ll soon see why.

2. Draughts Getting In

One of the things that home surveying can apprise you of is the fact that improperly sealed windows can lead to draughts getting in. This can be extremely uncomfortable in the cold winter months but it will also cause your heating source to work harder and longer and that’s not something anyone is happy about. Those utility bills are high enough already without compensating for those draughts that can be avoided.

3. Water Getting In

Dampness in a house indicates that water is getting in somewhere and is not drying quickly enough to avoid this issue. Not only will it indicate that there may be spaces to allow draughts getting in but it also means that water can lead to other issues such as black mould behind walls. Not only is that a structural problem but it can lead to respiratory issues in the home’s inhabitants.

4. Timber Rot

A timber survey would also indicate if there is any structural damage to the home. Bear in mind that sometimes it can be easily corrected if the water infiltration was localised to a window or two and other times the entire structure could be compromised. This can be one of the reasons why you might want to look elsewhere for a home when in the market. However, if the problem is in terms of just a window in one room, it’s not something for a huge amount of concern but it must be dealt with nonetheless.

5. Inability to Open and Shut Easily

Another of the underlying causes of dampness under and near windows could be because of the inability to open or shut them easily. You would absolutely want condensation treatment in order to prevent any health-related concerns. But it will also help to eliminate any structural damage to the home. A damp specialist London can be relied upon to make the necessary repairs before issues progress. But it will also help you keep the costs of heating your home down as well if you are able to ensure they are tightly closed.

6. Higher Costs to Heat and Cool a Home

This leads us to the final issue that can result from improper sealing of windows and dampness in a house. The cost of energy is already high enough and expected to rise significantly in the near future. Rising damp treatment costs are reflected in so many ways. Not only in the repairs necessary to correct water and moisture infiltration but the cost of heating your house as well. That, in itself, is a major concern.

Who Pays for Pre-Sale Repairs?O

nce you’ve had an independent damp survey conducted, you may be wondering who would be responsible for paying pre-sale repairs. In most cases it would be the seller unless you, as the buyer, are willing to commit to that expense. As they would say in the world of sports, the ball is in your court, so what are you going to do with it? Will you pass it back to the seller or run with it yourself? It’s in your hands now, so what will you do? It probably depends on how badly you want that specific home, but you have the information you need to make a wise decision. What will that be?