Paul Midgley, Market Manager – Trade at Knauf, discusses the notable surge in damp-related concerns within the UK, and solutions to mold growth and subsequent structural damage.

“As we all know damp buildings pose numerous risks to the structure and its occupants. The most common is condensation, which manifests as water droplets collecting on windows or walls. As climate change continues to exacerbate extreme rainfall, the UK faces an escalating challenge in safeguarding buildings against issues related to damp. Builders’ merchants are crucial stakeholders in addressing this challenge, as they provide the essential materials and solutions needed to fortify against damp and its detrimental effects,” said Paul to David Crowson Editor.

Paul explained that a large part of the damp-related problems could be explained by the age of the UK’s building stock. A historical issue with old stock is poor levels and quality of insulation, with many buildings dating back before 1925 containing no insulation at all. Whilst new builds are being constructed with damp-proof cavity walls, there are still problems when it comes to the effectiveness of these walls, and then the larger issue of retrofitting the older building stock.

If heating and ventilation are not used adequately (an increasing issue following a spike in energy prices) the moisture starts to build up, leading to a build-up of mold and serious damp problems. In addressing the UK’s worsening damp problem, builders’ merchants must do what they can in the form of offering educational resources, stocking effective products, providing expert advice and establishing valuable manufacturer partnerships.


The solution – Performance-driven plasterboards

As the needs of our building stock change, the industry is increasingly developing, selling, and installing innovations that will equip the buildings with enhanced resilience. To aid merchants in providing beneficial products, manufacturers are developing specialised, high-quality, and safe products and systems.

However, a pitfall tends to be that project teams often become comfortable using a particular brand or plasterboard across all different applications, and it is typically seen as a commodity product. However, some products have been carefully designed to meet and exceed the required performance level, and available with the relevant tested certifications, performance boards represent the ideal solution for the increasingly complex project needs.

Prevention is better than cure

Recognising the urgent need for resilient building materials, Knauf has developed a Moisture Panel Performance Board which is a solution for internal areas of high humidity such as bathrooms and kitchens. When installed with our full system, the Moisture Panel offers improved moisture protection.

It works by preventing moisture ingress, leading to less moisture being contained within a building’s structure, and therefore less risk of prolonged damp and mold. Whilst, this Moisture Panel can limit the damage damp can cause in certain areas, such as reducing the risk of tile popping, it is important to note that it does not prevent or cure the deeper issue of damp in a building. For affected buildings, it is crucial to ascertain the root cause and tackle it head-on before rebuilding with a sturdier fabric with enhanced features.

When using our Moisture Panel, there is no need for extra components that would be required to moisture-proof standard plasterboard. This not only reduces time on site but also proves to be far more cost-effective. These panels provide a huge opportunity for merchants looking to play a key role in adopting and offering high performance products, as well as encouraging a full system approach.

The full-system approach

Product knowledge is critical when it comes to offering and selling new, innovative products. This is why we work alongside builders’ merchants to help educate the industry on new product developments, we provide dedicated training and support through our technical support team, who can provide technical data sheets, test certifications and specification expertise.

A full System Performance Warranty provides extra peace of mind when using and selling the Moisture Panel as a full performance system, offering support and reassurance about the product.

Embracing a suitable Moisture Panel product empowers builders, specifiers, merchants, and property owners to reinforce their buildings against dampness, guaranteeing a sturdier, healthier built environment for future generations.

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