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Why Your Business Should Consider a Damp Survey Coming Out of Lockdown

Digital Moisture Detector Showing Damp

Covid-19 restrictions in England have been eased and, whilst there’s uncertainty surrounding when all social distancing restrictions will eventually be lifted, the vast majority of businesses have been allowed to open. For those who have been unable to re-open as yet, the end is in sight.

For those who are planning to welcome customers and clients back to their premises, there is much to think about. The government has imposed restrictions on businesses to make sure they’re Covid-secure, including:

  • Providing adequate ventilation
  • Completing a Covid risk assessment
  • Enforcing face coverings
  • Social distancing provisions
  • NHS Test and Trace
  • Frequent sanitation and cleaning

If you’re one of the business owners who has had to work hard to implement the above procedures so you can open, the last thing you need is to be forced to shut again due to a damp problem. Most businesses have been closed for many months, and this means commercial properties have been left mostly vacant. Empty properties, residential or commercial, are prone to damp. In the case of businesses coming out of lockdown, making sure you get a completed damp survey is essential, and here’s why.

Vacant Properties and Damp 

When properties are left empty, the air inside them cools and has nowhere to go. If the temperature fluctuates during the vacant period, the air inside can cool and warm up, and this could cause excess moisture in the air which has nowhere to go. Droplets will settle on walls, ceilings and around window/door frames, causing mould.

Properties don’t have to be empty for a long time to become susceptible to damp issues – even short periods of vacancy can put your premises at a pre-disposition for damp. Over the course of lockdown, most businesses will have been closed for months, including over summer and winter, meaning it’s likely damp could have settled in.

The Dangers of Damp 

With so much focus on keeping workers and customers safe during the Covid re-opening process, the last thing you want is to be forced to shut again due to health risks posed by damp.

Damp not only looks unsightly, but it can have severe implications on people’s health if mould spores are breathed in. For sufferers of asthma, mould can irritate their lungs. Asthma sufferers are already at a higher risk from Covid-related implications, so it’s important that you’re not swapping one risk for another by opening your business with a damp problem.

In addition, mould can irritate people with eczema, too. In any capacity, breathing in mould spores is not healthy, so the moment you spot dampness, it needs to addressed or you could be in breach of health and safety regulations.

How to Identify Damp 

Oftentimes, signs of damp are easy to spot. Common signals include:

  • Wet walls
  • Peeling paint or wallpaper
  • A musty smell
  • Black mould
  • Cracked and/or warped skirting boards
  • Moss growth on the lower external side of walls

That being said, sometimes, damp can be hard to identify. It can go undetected in areas such as basements and attics. Depending on your type of business, these might be areas you rarely venture into. Nevertheless, damp rarely stays confined to one area, and it can be indicative of a larger issue, so it’s recommended to have a damp survey conducted. We are damp specialists and can identify even the most hard-to-find patches of damp that untrained eyes could otherwise miss.

Treating Damp 

As mentioned, there are different types of damp which mean treatment differs. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and it’s not wise to decide on a type of treatment without first conducting a comprehensive site inspection. This is exactly what our team does when you book a site survey. Using the wrong type of treatment could end up costing you more in the long run. After you’ve been closed for months losing revenue, you will be looking for ways to claw back money, not lose it.

Once the cause of damp has been established and the extent of the damage has been identified, our team will provide you with a quote on how much the works being undertaken will cost. We will then treat the area in the most effective way, whatever that may be. To find out more about how we treat damp, please contact us.

How to Prevent Damp 

The lockdown situation is still unpredictable and, at this stage, it’s impossible to tell whether we will have to live with restrictions in the future. It’s best to be prepared for every scenario, and that means damp proofing your property.

There are a number of ways you can do this, such as:

  • Removing textiles - fabric can absorb moisture in the air like a sponge, so remove curtains, blinds and cushion covers if possible
  • Ventilate the property – open windows, put the heating on if the temperature drops to dry out the cold air and open vents
  • Ensure you have a comprehensive DPC (damp proof course) installed

Book a Site Survey 

Ensure your business is fully ready to open and book a site survey with Garratt’s Damp & Timber today. We work across the London area, so get in touch if you’re within Greater London and are looking to re-open your business soon.

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