What Causes Wet Walls?

wet walls

If you’re noticing wet walls in your home, there are several possible explanations. Whatever the cause turns out to be, you’ll want to take a proactive approach to remedy the problem because chronic wet walls in a house seldom get better by themselves. In fact, they usually become more damaged as time passes.

Place the palm of your hand against the wall. If it feels damp and typically noticeably cooler than the house in general, that’s probably an indicator of wet walls. Other signs may be speckled black or gray evidence of mold growth or mildew on the wall, as well as flaking paint. In more severe chronic cases, powdery, deteriorating drywall may be evident.

Here are some of the most common causes of wet walls inside a house and what can be done to solve the problem:

  • High indoor humidity. All homes produce water vapor inside the house. If the humidity level rises too high, condensation can occur on walls, keeping those surfaces damp or outright wet. Depending on the indoor temperature, condensation may develop on surfaces when humidity levels in the house exceed 50%. Exhaust fans in rooms that produce water vapor—kitchens and bathrooms—help reduce indoor humidity. For a more comprehensive solution, a whole-house dehumidifier can be installed in HVAC ductwork.
  • Wet basement. Dampness due to a chronically wet basement may migrate upwards into the house. This ongoing source of moisture keeps large flat surfaces in the house, such as walls, damp, particularly when the house structure is cooler in winter. Identify sources of basement moisture—seepage of ground water, plumbing leaks, etc.—and repair to reduce infiltration of moisture into living spaces.
  • Leaky plumbing. Various plumbing pipes are located inside wall cavities. While a severe pipe rupture will cause the wall to deteriorate rapidly and water to enter the room, subtle chronic pipe leakage may cause a wet or damp wall generally limited to the area where the pipe is routed. A plumber can use a moisture meter to check the moisture level inside the wall and pinpoint the problem.

Tags: , ,

Return to the Blog Home Page