5 Solutions to Fix Your Damp Attic (Easy Fixes!)

Last Updated on March 6, 2023 by Web Operator

Finding dampness in any part of your home is a problem, and it’s an issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Failure to do so may result in structural damage, and then you have an even bigger problem that you then need to contend with.

Damp is common, but to then address the issue, it’s also essential to understand how it started to develop in the first place. It focuses on improving ventilation around the attic space while working to stop condensation at its source.

damp on walls

You see, there’s no point in stating that you can fix damp anywhere in your home by doing specific steps if you fail to address the issue that lies at the core of it all. At that point, you end up wasting your time and effort, as the dampness will surely come back. That’s why I want to try to prevent that from happening.

But here’s the good news. You don’t only have one solitary option when it comes to fixing a damp attic. Actually, I have five different solutions that have the potential to turn that damp attic into a room that is functional once again.

Now, I admit that this will generally require some work on your part, but it’s best to get started on the project as soon as possible. Failure to do so will lead to you ultimately having to contend with an even more significant problem than before, and nobody wants to deal with that type of thing.

What Causes a Damp Attic?

damp on ceiling

Before I dive into how to fix a damp attic, let me quickly explain what tends to cause it in most cases. You see, this influences how you repair things since there’s a need to know the root of the problem to counteract it.

The problem mainly lies with the natural way in which warm air rises. This may sound like a good idea, but that’s not always the case. Instead, it can cause some serious problems for some people. If that problem is not tackled early enough, then a disaster could be just around the corner. 

The problem is that the warm air will eventually find its way up to the attic, and that’s where it runs into an issue: Poor ventilation. Ultimately, it will lead to those tell-tale marks appearing on your ceiling.

Suppose an attic does not have adequate ventilation. In that case, one thing that is guaranteed to happen is that the warm air will become trapped, leading to condensation and even dampness. If this is not resolved, then condensation and dampness build, leading to some potential structural damage.

But there’s no need for you to sit and worry about damp. Instead, taking early action can drastically reduce the chances of something terrible happening inside your home. 

How You Spot an Issue

I’ve already covered the basic explanation, but what a number of people don’t realize is that warm air tends to include more moisture than cold air. That extra moisture will then lead to condensation developing. The bad thing from your perspective is that it takes some time before tell-tale signs begin to appear, letting you know there’s a problem.

You see, this issue is more of a slow burner, and then suddenly, you notice you have a damp problem you need to contend with. However, suppose you fail to check your attic regularly. In that case, before you know it, you will have water stains on your ceiling and the development of mold or mildew in various structural components of your attic.

But let’s not forget something. Mold is dangerous for your health, so forget the structural problems, as there could be more severe consequences if you fail to deal with it correctly. Let’s face it, nobody wants to have any type of mold in their home, as that stuff rightfully gets bad press. 

Yet it can get even worse.

Let’s say you notice there’s a problem with damp, but you feel it’s not too bad, so you fail to take action. Once that damp really takes hold, then you will need to remove any insulation due to damage, and you may even need to replace your ceiling in severe cases. Also, it can begin to rot away the structure of your attic resulting in some significant repairs. Yet, this can all be avoided when you take the correct action.

So, I’m going to help you out with all of this. I have five different methods that can make a difference and help fix a damp attic. However, how well each one works depends on how bad the problem is. If you are unsure about the extent of the damage, I would advise you to get a professional to assess it first and to then think about the approach you should take.

Option 1: Work on Moisture Issues in the Home

moisture in the home

I admit this option is far more preventative rather than anything else. Still, it also means it’s something we should all be doing. Sure, you may live in an area where you believe mold and damp are not going to be a problem, but you would be surprised to discover some of the places where dampness can appear. 

The aim here is to work at reducing the level of moisture that will end up in the warm air in your home. This may sound basic, but it’s amazing how much moisture we create just by our habits. That moisture can ultimately lead to some problems developing that could have been so easily avoided.

Running the shower for too long, especially when we aren’t in the shower and using it, will create a lot of moisture in the air. You only have to look at how much moisture lands on the walls in your bathroom to know how bad it can get. The same applies to filling a bathtub.

But that’s not all.

Have you examined how much moisture and condensation can appear when cooking on a kitchen window or walls? It gets even worse if we leave lids off pots allowing more moisture to build. So, using lids is a simple step that will cut the moisture level quite considerably.

But even something as simple as drying clothes indoors can lead to a problem. I’m not talking if you only do this sporadically. That’s not enough to cause an issue. However, if you are running the type of home where a pile of laundry is done daily and dried indoors, then it can add up over time.

Look at areas in the home where water is being used and look at how you can cut back on the water, and also whether it’s all entirely necessary.

By reducing the moisture we produce, it makes sense that less can then get into the attic leading to a bigger damp problem.

Option 2: A Dehumidifier

portable dehumidifier machine for damp

When it comes to active solutions that do not involve paying too much attention to what’s going on, then using a dehumidifier in your attic is the best solution. 

A dehumidifier is self-explanatory. This machine is designed to remove moisture from the air, and in doing so, it should reduce the chances of a damp problem occurring. 

But here’s the best part. 

I’m not talking about you having to get your hands on some sort of industrial machine to stop this problem from developing. Instead, a standard home dehumidifier will do an excellent job of removing excess moisture from the air. 

Yet, you still need to be careful as to which one you use. It all depends on the area to be covered by the dehumidifier and also how much air it can pull through the machine on an hourly basis. The bigger the requirements, the bigger the price tag.

But there’s also a limit as to the size you can use. Larger dehumidifiers, designed for large spaces, tend to be on the big side. So, don’t go ahead and get one larger than you need. Either it won’t fit into the space, or you will use extra power to fire up a machine when a significantly smaller and less expensive machine would do the same job.

Check the product details regarding the dehumidifier, as that’s where it will let you know all about the area size it can cover.

Even if I didn’t have a real problem with damp in my attic, I would still invest in a quality dehumidifier to ensure I didn’t then develop an issue in the future. They are just so good at what they do and can save you a significant number of problems down the line.

Option 3: Replace Insulation, or Install it for the First Time

attic insulation

Suppose you have an issue with damp in your attic, which has built up into a terrible situation. In that case, you may be required to rip out any insulation and start again. Actually, that’s what I would recommend because condensation may have gotten into the core of the insulation, and that’s a problem just waiting to develop.

Also, if you do not have insulation in your attic, and I would question why you didn’t, then now is the time to add some. I would insulate the entire attic to change the temperature difference in the space. However, you must also use a dehumidifier or add ventilation to the attic as well as installing the insulation. 

If you fail to take other steps, then don’t be surprised if the damp problem comes back, and you are then left with the task of ripping out the insulation and starting again.

But the key area to focus on with insulation is the roof. That’s because the main issue you have is with the colder temperature of the roof space hitting the warm air resulting in that condensation.

So, insulation stops that happening, and I suggest getting some fiberglass and using that as your insulation. It’s inexpensive, very easy to install, and it’s excellent at what it does. 

Make sure the insulation fills every space possible. Warm air will always seek to find a way out, so any gaps will be exploited, leading to the potential for you to then have a problem.

Option 4: Improve Ventilation in Your Attic

attic ventilation option

This is a bigger task to undertake, but improving the ventilation in your attic can result in an improvement in damp and moisture levels in the space. 

I see this as important because this problem with damp is often caused by poor ventilation, which then doesn’t allow the warm air to escape. The result is it becomes trapped, leading to that condensation issue I mentioned earlier.

One easy solution here is if you have a window in your attic. Opening it regularly will make a massive difference to what’s going on, and it will undoubtedly reduce this moisture problem. 

But I know not everyone has a window in their attic, so what do you do? 

One solution is to install a vent. This vent is small in size but is big in what it can achieve. 

What you have with a roof vent is some fresh air making its way into the attic space. It helps redress the balance regarding air circulating here and will certainly reduce the possibility of moisture building in the room. 

Typically, these roof vents will sit near the actual peak of the roof. That’s because they need to be at the highest point, thanks to how heat rises. It just makes sense to put them in the correct spot to allow a lot of warm air to then escape with relative ease.

I do see roof vents as a fantastic solution. There’s no doubt they do allow warm air to escape. Still, I would also suggest checking your roof vents a couple of times a year, thanks to the possibility of debris building up in them. If this happens, then they become useless.

Option 5: Installing Soffit Vents or Gable Vents

gable vents

Option four focused on roof vents, but that’s not the only type of vent you can end up installing to help with roof ventilation. Instead, there’s also something called soffit vents, and they too can make a significant difference when it comes to regulating the temperature and the air flowing in your attic.

A soffit vent appears on the underside of the overhang of your roof. They sit between the wall of your home and the fascia of the overhang, so they will only really be viewable if you look up at that space.

The idea of these vents is that they will allow cooler air to enter the attic and then help regulate the temperature and moisture level. 

The key thing here is that it allows outside air to come into the roof. However, as the vents are in the shade, then the air will not be too warm even when the temperature is climbing outside. 

Carrying out this project is undoubtedly more extensive than other options, and yet it will still be highly effective. Also, you have two versions of these vents that you can implement into your roof.

First, you may wish to install the board version. This does help them blend in perfectly as they do look like the other boards used in this part of the roof, but several of them have numerous holes punched through them to allow the air through.

The other option, if you already have this boarding installed, is to cut a hole and sink a circular vent through the gap. Again, this version is highly effective, but it can come across as being easier to notice than the board option.

But here’s another tip that could make things even better regarding ventilation: Having these vents throughout the roof and not just in the one place.

I see this as making a lot of sense. The more vents you can have without endangering the structural integrity of your roof, the better the airflow on the inside. Ultimately, it leads to less condensation and a reduction in the possibility of damp starting to develop.

Gable Vents

But I also mentioned the possibility of installing gable vents when it comes to fixing a damp attic. It could be the case that some people would require both types of vents if damp is a significant issue.

A gable vent is obviously situated on the gable end of the roof. Depending on the version you install, you may have the ability to effectively open and close the vent to really gain control over the airflow into your attic. 

But there’s a problem. Many homes already have gable vents installed, but you may still struggle to deal with damp. At that point, you really should look at installing either Soffit vents or roof vents, as it’s clear there’s still insufficient ventilation to cope with the damp problem. 

Which Option Works Best?

damp in the attic

The five different options I’ve mentioned will all help to a certain extent, but here’s a key point I need to say. In order to really fix a damp attic once and for all, you will need to use more than one of the options to ultimately get the ventilation issue sorted.

I just feel using only one option is inadequate. Sure, it will make some difference, but not to the extent where you feel you are genuinely on top of the damp issue. Also, this becomes even more important when you have a serious problem with condensation. At that stage, you need to try everything you can, or you will have to continually revisit this issue and never resolve it.

I think that, for me, I follow these simple steps and ask myself the following questions before deciding.

  • How bad is the situation?
  • Am I doing something wrong that’s adding to the problem?
  • Can I do something simple to fix it?
  • Is anything damaged that needs to be removed?
  • What is my budget for fixing the issue?

So, how do you decide which option to use? I suggest the following steps and tips to make life that bit easier.

Tip 1: Assess the Situation Closely

First, you need to assess the situation before you do anything else. How bad is the damp issue? How widespread is the problem? It would be best if you looked at how bad things are to then know the extent to which you have to work to resolve the issue with damp.

For example, if we are talking about a minimal problem, then something as simple as installing and running a small dehumidifier may be enough. Also, just replacing the insulation could make a difference.

Yet, that won’t be enough if the problem is more significant than that, which is why I implore you to assess everything first.

Tip 2; Always Do More Than You Need

Sometimes with projects, we are guilty of only doing what we need, but this is not one of those times. Instead, I suggest you do more than you think you will need, or I promise this is an issue you will find yourself returning to on several occasions.

That is why I’ve mentioned at different times the need to use more than one option to get on top of this damp attic problem. 

The way I see this issue is you need to do more because you are attempting to limit the potential damage to the structure of your attic and also stopping you from potentially having to replace the ceiling. In this instance, it’s better to be safe than sorry rather than doing the minimum and possibly costing yourself more money in the long term.

Tip 3: Repair the Damp Before Preventative Measures

For me, the final main tip I want to focus on is repairing the damp before you go to town with all these preventative measures. 

The problem with damp is when it gets into the core of the building. It would be best if you attempted to either remove it, which is easy when insulation is damp or try to dry things out and stop the damp in its tracks.

If damp or mold is on the surface of things, then use a specific mold cleaner in order to remove it. You can buy these products quite easily, and all you need to do is to wear protective clothing and follow the instructions. Often, you will quickly discover that these cleaners do a fantastic job of removing mold. Still, you do then need to allow the area to dry after cleaning.

The aim here is to remove as many of the signs of the damp problem as you can. After that, your preventative measures should then manage to keep the situation under control. 

Overall Conclusion

That is how you manage to fix a damp attic, and I do admit it takes some work and the ability to get to the root of the problem and address it from that point. There’s no reason why you would not be able to fix it all and to ensure the issue does not come back in the future.

But I feel that you need to have a better understanding of different aspects of dealing with damp in and around the home. So, I think the following articles could help better explain some of the things you need to potentially contend with. 

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.