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Moulding Apartment Life
"A press release from the Sunday Tribune"
My clothes are always ruined. I can't keep a pair of shoes
in the cupboard without mould covering them within days. My
bed is always damp and there's mould all over the walls.
"Niamh, a young marketing executive acquired her apartment
home in Dublin 8 just under two years ago. Since then, she
has encountered extreme difficulties with damp. The building
firm has since run into legal problems and claim that her
problem isn't their problem, Niamh says they have been no
Richard, an accountant, rented a Quayside ground floor studio
apartment in Dublin 1 for 12 months. "Straight away., I noticed
the air seemed musty. Before long the sheets on my bed were
damp and my clothes were getting destroyed. There was one
small window in the apartment and because it was on the ground
floor, it had to be kept closed during the day. "When I complained
to the builder, he installed an industrial dehumidifier which
took in 14 buckets of water in the first few days. This relieved
the problem somewhat before the builder discovered that one
of the walls had not been properly damp proofed. The wardrobes
had to be taken out, the plaster removed and a proper damp
"In that 12 months, I had more colds and flus. A friend of
mine had a third floor apartment nearby and also experienced
damp problems. I billed the developer for ruined clothes and
the cost of running the dehumidifier but never got a penny.
It would certainly put me off buying an apartment.
" Michelle, a public relations executive with her own business,
recently rnoved into a two bedroom ground floor apartment
north of 0'Connell Street in Dublin.
"Damp was only one of the problems we had to contend with
apart from bursting pipes, ill fitting doors and cracks in
the walls. We have had the heating on since July and the weather
hasn't even got cold yet.
"The beds are wet and my clothes, particularly my shoes, have
been destroyed. I have had chest infections in the summer
months. I am dreading what it will be like when winter kicks
Liam Harris who heads up the Damp Store Ltd, one of Ireland's
largest building treatment firms, has had many years experience
treating damp in buildings countrywide.
He deals regularly with apartment dwellers and owners and
estimates that around 30% of new apartments suffer from damp
in some form or other. He sells hundreds of dehumidifier units
each year and estimates that half are bought by apartment
owners. However, Harris believes that 90% of damp problems
are not caused by construction faults but rather by the tenants
"Most of these apartments are constructed to a reasonably
high standard with proper damp proof courses installed. In
most cases it is the tenant and his or her lifestyle which
creates the problem. I can guarantee that in most cases if
you take two apartments, one with damp and one without, and
swop the tenants, you will see the damp problem transferring
itself as well.
Damp is caused by poor circulation of air. Apartment dwellers
typically leave their windows closed all day and all night
and come home in the evening to turn on the heating, the washing
machine, cook and take a shower. Combine this with the greatly
improved standards of insulation currently in use and a damp
problem inevitably prevails.
"North facing apartments and ground floor units are most affected
by damp related problems. Installation of a dehumidifier can
help deal with the problem, but there's no substitute for
simply leaving the windows open for set periods of time, each
"Irish people are not as used to apartment living as others
and can automatically blame the builders rather than examine
other causes of the problem."
So while the builders can be let off the hook in most cases,
the problem of damp is likely to prevail in many cases given
the lifestyle may occupiers lead being absent all day and
not having the option to leave windows open for security reasons.
Based at St James Hospital, Dr Luke Clancy is one of Irelands
leading medical experts on lung and chest related problems.
While he does not claim to have knowledge of the problems
relating specifically to apartments, he beliefs living in
damp conditions does cause some health problems, particularly
for those already suffering from allergies or breathing difficulties.
"There is evidence to suggest that living in damp conditions
can cause the spread of chills and colds, spores from damp
induced fungus can cause allergic reactions and generally
old people and children are more sensitive.
"Bad ventilation can also cause the spread of droplet infections
(spread by sneezing and coughing) Although there are varying
opinions on how much illness fungus spores can cause."
Although for the most part, builders don't appear to be to
blame for damp problems in apartments whether they like it
or not most sufferers unwittingly hold them responsible.
For this reason, they should ensure tenants and occupiers
are well informed about potential problems and should ensure
maximum ventilation in their units.
providing Dehumidifier units as standard in all apartments
may also be worthwhile if only for the image of their proffesiona
and apartment living overall.
Mould growth on wall and ceilings can be removed with the
aid of MGC Mould Treatment and these products can also prevent
re-occurance of the mould growth.
Excessive condensation problems can be reduced and controlled
with the aid of Dehumidifiers which reduce the relative humidity
levels and prevent condensation build-up.