The Mouldiest Cities in the UK

Anyone living in the UK knows that it rains – a lot. Residents deal with bad weather daily and are prepared for it. But Britain’s damp climate and constant showers don’t just result in daily inconveniences, they also wreak havoc on UK houses. Damp, condensation and mould are common issues in the UK that can lead to property damage and may even affect the health of occupants.

While the Met Office has plenty of data on the UK areas that receive the most rain, in which areas are you most likely to find damp indoors? The team at Allerton Damp Proofing have analysed a year of Google searches for damp solutions across the UK to reveal the areas where residents have the most issues with their property and damp.

Using the content research tool Ahrefs, the team found the most common questions online relating to damp, condensation and mould. They then analysed these in Google Keyword Planner to calculate the number of people who searched for damp-related problems and solutions over the past year across the UK.

There have been 12,636,555 damp issue queries in the past year

Over 12 million people experienced damp issues this past year. The majority of these were located in England, where 10,999,963 people had damp housing issues. This is followed by Scotland, with 758,473 people experiencing damp issues, then Wales with 637,398 searches. Northern Ireland had 227,646 damp problems, while the residents of the Isle of Man only searched for damp issues 13,075 times.

Where are the majority of people experiencing damp issues?

Over the past year, 1,266,656 people searched for damp issues and solutions in London. With a population of 9,304,000, almost 1 in 7 people form the capital are experiencing damp, mould or condensation.

Birmingham is second, with 227,537 yearly searches, followed by seaside cities Bristol with 152,955 searches and Liverpool, with 110,354 searches.

Excessive rain across the north of the UK certainly increases the chances of a damp home, with Sheffield, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Leeds taking spots 5 to 9.

All of these cities have high populations so may naturally have more residents experiencing damp – but tenth spot Bournemouth has a population of just 198,296, with 76,314 people searching for damp solutions. Therefore, 4 in 10 residents here may have experienced damp, mould, and condensation in their homes.

We’ve compiled the top 20 results for areas across the UK.

Why might a property have damp issues?

There are many reasons why a property becomes mouldy. Joe Trivett, Damp Expert at Allerton Damp, walks us through the potential causes:

Renovation pushing in water

“In cities with high property prices such as London, every inch of space is valuable to the homeowner. Some popular ways to make the most of exterior space include patios, paving, concreting, and walls to shield the garden from onlookers. However, water will always take the path of least resistance, so solid surfaces and building work can push water into the property, where it once soaked through the ground.

“Another renovation that could cause issues are neighbours building or converting basements and cellars. If neighbours dig down into basements, there is less area for water to drain into, so the natural level that water sits at moves closer to the surface. In turn, the amount of pressure the water exerts on your property, especially if you have a basement, is increased. This heightens the chances of a leak.

“If a neighbour’s basement is being waterproofed or tanked, this can also push water into your basement. It’s worth checking the work neighbours are having done, especially if your property shares a wall with theirs.”

Outdated building techniques

“If the property is a Victorian-era or older build, it may have a few issues that could cause dampness. The walls and floors of properties soak up water from the ground, in a process called rising damp. Most houses are built with a damp proof coursing layer just above ground level to combat this process, stopping water at the building’s base from moving up the walls. However, this often breaks down or isn’t installed in old properties, which is why Victorian houses might have damp problems that can cause mould and rot to develop at the bottom of walls and on skirting boards.”

Lack of ventilation

“Humans sweat and exhale water droplets, while daily activities such as showering and boiling water produce additional humidity. This water condensates on windows and walls, providing the perfect damp surface for mould to grow on. Plenty of ventilation is key for humid air to leave the property and allow walls and windows to dry.”

Poor Maintenance

“If you suddenly see water pool through the roof or in patches on the wall, a leak is the most likely cause. Broken guttering, lost roof tiles or a broken pipe in the wall are all common causes of a sudden leak.

“If the floorboards are damp or rotted, ventilation blocks that allow air to run under the house might be blocked by debris or building work, preventing floorboards from drying out.”

Here are some tips for preventing condensation, damp and mould:
  • Keep your heating on low and continuously, rather than at high temperatures that cycle between on and off.
  • Ventilate rooms, opening windows in humid rooms for short periods, especially if the windows don’t have any vents.
  • Install and turn on extractor fans in high humidity rooms, such as the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Check that the ventilation blocks which allow a light draught to flow through the property or under the floorboards aren’t blocked.
  • Check guttering and roof tiles aren’t broken or missing.
  • Allow space between furniture and walls, so moisture isn’t trapped and can instead dry.
  • Dry clothes outdoors, or use a tumble dryer that can pump humid air outside.
  • As a property buyer, get a full property survey done, especially when buying an older home.

Joe Trivett, Damp Expert at Allerton Damp, adds: “Blocking up ventilation blocks and using draught blockers can be a quick way to heat your home, especially during the colder months. But the work required to treat damp may eventually swallow up the money saved on heating. A more energy-efficient approach that allows the property to ‘breathe’ and stay dry is installing more loft insulation and double glazed windows.

“In older properties, the use of a fireplace can help the building stay dry – as material combusts, the air is drawn from other areas of the house, creating a natural, warm draught that encourages drying of surfaces.”

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