When should I address a damp problem?
In answering this you wouldn't be surprised if I said straight away!
Why is that? Well if we were to identify the cause of an internal damp issue was due to a mains water leak, it makes common sense that you would fix that leak as soon as possible. A, because you don't want to unnecessarily waste water but B, the longer a leak is left unfixed or undetected, the greater the damage it can cause. Even leading to the dreaded Dry Rot!
A leak could be as simple as some faulty sealant around a shower tray or worse, a cracked drain underneath a property which could potentially lead to a subsidence issue.
So you can see how a water leak could be something simple or something devastating. Why risk it so the answer to that being; address it right away!
If you have a damp issue brought about by surface Condensation, this is largely an issue that is greater as a problem in the winter months or in fact, Condensation season which is typically October through to April. Its my experience that this will typically get dealt with when its at its worst and black mould has developed which, in most instances, be at its worst around February and March but not uncommon if it is earlier or later than this. By nature, we tend to tackle things as needs must. For instance, we think about getting our boilers serviced before winter arrives. This is reactive rather than proactive. So, if you are aware that your property suffers from condensation year on year then think about being proactive and put measures in place during the Autumn before condensation season starts.
Other types of structural damp such as Bridging, Penetrating and damp coming up from the ground tend to manifest themselves internally as unsightly stains, defective plaster, peeling wallpaper, etc, etc. Ideally, you address this as soon as possible because if you can prevent the internal plaster from becoming too contaminated with salts it can be salvaged and will dry down of its own accord meaning you might get away with keeping the plaster and redecorating it when it is dry. Left for too long, a structural damp issue will blow the plaster meaning a more invasive, messy and expensive job has to be done. In some instances, if the damp affected walls are northerly facing this can potentially create a secondary issue of black mould on top of the damp plaster making the issue even more unsightly, even depressing!
In certain circumstances, damp issues may have come about for faulty rain goods or defective pointing. If it is a maintenance issue such as pointing, then the work actually determines that we need external temperatures of 5 degrees Celsius and rising and no rainfall for the materials to bond and cure successfully. 5 degrees and falling such as being able to do the job in the daytime because for instance it is 8 degrees Celsius outside but will be 2 degrees or even freezing, will most likely mean mortars and renders will not bond or cure properly which can subsequently leads to cracks later on. So clearly, these kinds of damp proofing works need to be undertaken during the warmer months.
In summary, act on mains water leaks as soon as possible. Address condensation damp before winter arrives and if damp issues are brought about by external defects, think about external working temperatures meaning spring, summer and early autumn.