Although they seem very similar, damp and condensation are different issues and require different solutions. Hence, there is also a significant difference between damp proof paint and anti-condensation paint. It does boil down to the same thing: moisture is either finding a way into your property or cannot find a way out. A healthy property needs to breathe, with good air flow and ventilation. A little dampness and moisture is natural, it’s when the excess has nowhere to go that the problems start. To understand what type of paint you need, damp resistant or condensation resistant, you will first need to understand which of the two issues you are dealing with.
This post has been updated, incorporating some frequently asked questions from Rawlins Paints’ customers, where the products recommended can be found here:
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- Damp or condensation?
- How to tackle damp issues?
- Regularly asked questions about damp
- How can I stop damp returning to wall areas around furnishings?
- How can I prevent damp build up in a renovated basement?
- How can I prevent mould and damp on bedroom walls and ceilings?
- How can I treat damp build-up on skirting boards from concrete floors?
- How can I treat black mould patches on the wall behind a toilet?
- Regularly asked questions about damp
- How to tackle condensation?
- Regularly asked questions about condensation
- What should I use on bare plaster prior to using anti-condensation paint?
- Are anti-condensation paints the same as waterproofing paints?
- How can I prevent black mould growing on a kitchen ceiling?
- Which products can be used to prevent condensation build-up in a caravan or campervan?
- How can I prevent condensation and mould in the back of kitchen units?
- What is the best paint for condensation build-up on interior windows?
- Can anti-condensation paint be painted over?
- Regularly asked questions about condensation
- How to tackle damp issues?
- Don’t despair!
Damp is caused when the building structure is lacking protection from moisture coming from outdoors. This could be a crack in the wall or a damaged roof tile that has been compromised and is letting rain in instead of keeping the rain out. Thus, damp is caused from water or moisture finding its way into your property when it shouldn’t have.
Condensation is caused by a lack of ventilation or little movement of air. Condensation is most common in areas with poorer air circulation, such as bathrooms or kitchens. You can tell by your windows and walls whether certain rooms have optimal ventilation. If there is an issue with the air flow, your windows will very easily fog up and you will find droplets forming on your walls and ceilings that will be difficult to get rid off again. Thus, condensation is caused from water not finding its way out of your property.
Whether you are dealing with damp or condensation, the implications and resulting issues are similar. Both problems can cause mould to form. Mould thrives in humid, warm environments, and so it loves places that are damp or have condensation. The mould will not just be limited to your walls, but could also spread to your plasterwork, furniture, and clothing. On top of that, mould is detrimental to your health and could cause health issues related to your lungs and airways. If you already have a weakened immune system, mould could create even bigger issues. On top of that, the mould could also create a rather unpleasant odour. The good news is; these are issues that can be tackled!
A tell-tale sign for damp is often peeling wallpaper and crumbling plaster. This is a big indicator that there is a source of wetness penetrating your walls and creating problems. Often, this is caused by an external source. For example, a broken roof tile, overflowing gutters, a badly fitted window. Dampness can also crawl its way up, so if you have a badly insulated basement, it’s important to keep an eye on this. You could be dealing with dampness long before you realise, as it could take a while for a damp patch to show on your walls for example. Dampness can usually be smelled before you can see it. So, if you are dealing with a persistent stale and stuffy smell, dampness could be the cause!
If you are dealing with some type of leak that is allowing water and moisture in when it should be watertight, a paint like Zinsser Watertite is a great solution for internal usage. This damp resistant paint is designed to keep water out your property, can be applied to wet areas and helps to protect your property from fungal degradation. On top of that, Zinsser Watertite paint comes in a wide variety of colours. If you are dealing with a leaky roof that is letting water in, Rust-Oleum’s Waterproof Roof Paint will be a great solution. This waterproofing paint can also be applied directly to wet areas and in any weather conditions, so it’s perfect for quick repairs. It creates a protective elastic coating that keeps the water out. Both anti-damp paints will help you battle the issues that arise from damp. However, it is still important to ensure you tackle the cause for the dampness as the paint will only help to a certain point.
If you are having problems with recurring damp behind shoe storage units in cupboards, chests of drawers or wardrobes, etc, leave the section of furniture out and increase the ventilation to this area (opening windows, doors, etc.) until the patch of plaster/wall surface has completely dried out. Then apply 2 coats of Zinsser Watertite directly to the bare plaster and then decorate as normal.
As with all treatment of damp and condensation problems, remove all visible signs of organic growth and treat the areas with Zinsser Mould Killer & Remover in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and allow to dry.
In painted areas, clean down with Zinsser Universal Degreaser & Cleaner to remove any contaminants. Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove all residues.
Prime all areas with 1 coat of Zinsser B-I-N in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and then, apply 2-3 coats of Thermilate InsOpaint Anti-Condensation Paint.
For additional protection you can apply a further 1-2 coats of Zinsser Perma-White Interior in your chosen colour and finish if you wish.
Use Zinsser B-I-N for covering and sealing the ceiling stains, and then Zinsser Perma-White Interior for the walls.
Dampness may be coming up through the floor and into the wall, the skirting boards may be getting damp from the floor and wall.
Sealing the wall and floor with a suitable product will hide the problem for a time however the damp is likely to find its way out at some point in time.
You would need to remove the skirting boards and treat the surfaces, then re-fix the skirting. Blackfriar Interior Seal Damp is a simple sealer which can be effective in minor damp situations. 2 coats can be applied to both the floor and wall, (in the areas covered by the skirting, not the whole floor/wall). While the skirting boards have been removed these could also be painted on the reverse side with 2 coats of Zinsser Cover Stain followed by 2 coats Zinsser Perma-White Interior.
Note the skirting boards must be completely dry before painting. When re-fitting the skirting a small gap could be left between the floor and the boards, this will prevent the skirting from sitting on a damp surface.
These should all help but the long-term solution will be to sort out the damp problem.
This will be from warm air hitting a cold wall surface behind the toilet and condensing – leaving water droplets on the surface which is then forming mould over time.
We would recommend clean surfaces ensuring all existing paint is sound and free of dirt, dust, grease, wax, wallcovering adhesive, soap film, loose paint or other surface contamination. Remove all existing mould and mildew before painting – To do this, Zinsser Mould Killer & Remover directly on to the surface. Leave to dry fully before painting. Prime mould stained areas with Zinsser B-I-N and then apply 2 coats of Zinsser Perma-White Interior in the desired colour and finish.
If your exterior is watertight and so the moisture is coming from somewhere indoors, you are dealing with a condensation issue. Condensation is in big part an air circulation issue, where the moisture is unable to leave your property, resulting in droplets on your wall, windows and ceilings and it could also cause spotty mildew. Condensation is most common in rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms, but condensation could also wreak havoc in chimneys or even under your laminate or wooden floors when they are tightly fitted and leave no room for air circulation.
A combination of improved heating and air circulation will help solve issues with condensation, and industry experts including Best Heating are on hand to advise you on the best type of installed or portable radiators for short and long-term solutions. There are also various paints designed to work against condensation. A great anti-condensation paint is Thermilate InsOpaint Anti-Condensation Paint. Not only does it come in a variety of colours and in a 5l tin, but this condensation proof paint also works against issues like mould, blistering and cracking paint, discoloured walls, stains and peeling wallpaper. It only takes two coats for this paint to create a thermal insulation and a long-lasting resistance against mould. This paint can be used both on walls as well as ceilings. If you only need a small amount of anti-condensation paint and colour is not important, then Rawlins Paints also stock Coo-Var Anti-Condensation Paint, which only comes in white, but is stocked in 1l and 2.5l tins. This paint also provides protection against condensation and is ideal for smaller projects in bathrooms, kitchens or laundry rooms.
Apply 1-2 coats as required of Zinsser Drywall Pro 2 in 1 to the bare plaster and follow with at least 2 coats of Thermilate InsOpaint Anti-Condensation Paint in your chosen colour and finish.
Designed for use in areas of high moisture – kitchens and bathrooms – and providing moisture resistant finish, Thermilate InsOpaint anti-condensation paint is not a waterproofing product that will prevent moisture and damp from penetrating the walls from behind. If there is an issue with moisture and damp penetrating the walls under the paint coatings, we recommend using Zinsser Watertite, Sika Damp-proofing Slurry, Sikalastic 1K, or the Sika 1 Waterproofing System.
The surfaces where the black mould is present must be thoroughly cleaned – sound and free of dirt, dust, grease, wax, wallcovering adhesive, soap film, loose paint or another surface contamination. To do this, clean surface thoroughly with Zinsser Universal Degreaser & Cleaner or a similar proprietary cleaner. Then spray Zinsser Mould Killer & Remover directly on to the surface. Leave to dry fully before painting. Once prepared, apply 2 coats of Zinsser Perma-White Interior in the desired colour and finish.
If the surfaces are interior walls and ceilings that have been previously painted we would recommend that after cleaning and preparation, apply 2-3 coats of Thermilate InsOpaint Anti-Condensation Paint and for added protection add a finishing coat with 1-2 coats of Zinsser Perma-White Interior in your chosen colour and finish.
For plywood kitchen units, all surfaces must be clean, dry and free from anything that will interfere with the adhesion of the materials to be applied:
Remove all visible signs of organic growth and treat the areas with Zinsser Mould Killer & Remover in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow to dry.
Prime all areas to be painted with one coat of Zinsser B-I-N Primer Sealer in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow a minimum drying time of 45 minutes in normal drying conditions.
Finally apply 2-3 coats as required of Thermilate InsOpaint Anti-Condensation Paint.
After cleaning and surface preparation, if you wish to paint the plastered window surrounds then we recommend Thermilate InsOpaint Anti-Condensation Paint. If you wish to paint the window itself – for timber, prime with Zinsser B-I-N, for uPVC prime with Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3. Then finish either primer with Zinsser Perma-White Interior.
Yes, if you use Coo-Var Anti-Condensation Paint, but be sure to allow Coo-Var Anti-Condensation Paint to thoroughly dry (5 – 7 days @ 20°C) before applying the wallpaper.
Condensation and damp, stains and watermarks are frustrating issues to deal with when they arise. However, don’t despair! There are various solutions that you can carry out yourselves to help minimise the risk of damp and condensation. If you require any further assistance when you are dealing with a damp or condensation problem and would like additional assistance to choose the right products, give our Technical Team a call, or drop us a line, for the latest information on the products available.