Condensation in fitted wardrobes

Discussion in 'Carpenters' Talk' started by Joiner Jim, Nov 26, 2005.

  1. Joiner Jim

    Joiner Jim New Member

    I have a problem with condensation/mould inside fitted wardrobes. The wardrobes were fitted about 10 years ago to a north facing wall, there is a 2-3 inch air space behind the wardrobes which are full ceiling height, the external wall is 9" solid brick. Any ideas how I can cure this? Would vents in the back help?
  2. big all

    big all Screwfix Select

    hhheeelllooo j j

    is the space fully enclosed!!!!!
    if there is damp present it needs airflow to dry it out
    if you fit internal vents in the wardrobe there may not be enough air flow it may indeed move the damp to the wardrobe dammaging the clothes more

    what might help is one at the base and one at the top but venting into the room

    you could also paint gloss onto the back pannel that should stop the damp penetraiting the back but in conection with the back vents

    big all
  3. WouldWurker

    WouldWurker New Member


    Fitted stuff against cold walls is always a sod! I agree exactly with Big All, however a couple of other thoughts....

    1. Any way you could get some convection going behind the wardrobe? With old fashined wardrobes you'd get airflow behind the wardrobe from top to bottom. Warm air going in at the top and cold air coming out where the plinth is in fitted stuff. Kinda like a radiator in reverse. It kept the void (and hence the wardrobe) a bit warmer.

    2. This is probably a example of hope over reality, but could you fit a double wall to the back of the wardrobe with some insulation between? It would either work or rot the fitted stuff away so you could replace it with free standing stuff!
  4. Mr. Handyandy

    Mr. Handyandy Screwfix Select

    Leave the doors to the wardrobes open for long periods.

    Don't put the ironing away straight away, letb it air first.

    Dry clothes better before ironing.

    Get an ironing board that allows steam to pass through it, making your ironing less damp.

    Vent as said, from back to front, but not into wardrobe space.

    Just thinking aloud. Sound like an old mother, don't I ?

    Mr. Handyandy - really
    GoodwithWood likes this.
  5. dirtydeeds

    dirtydeeds New Member

    your married now so you know these things
    AlvyChippy likes this.
  6. two by one

    two by one New Member

    I had a client with this problem in a bathroom cabinet. He cleaned it out and left the doors open, and fitted vents top and bottom. He also changed the shelving to a more open type so that air could circulate, after a couple of weeks it was ok.
  7. 4 x 2

    4 x 2 New Member

    i have fitted wardrobes floor to ceiling north facing cavity wall and no damp in wardrobes for 5-6 yrs try an extractor fan in wall at top and trickle vents in plinths of wardrobes,she who must be obeyed turns fan on when cleaning usually about 2 hrs a week.
  8. bonnie the botch

    bonnie the botch New Member

    just a thought , have you any gutters on the wall out side and have they been cleaned reacently, perhaps cure the problem as well as the symptom . might be worth a look.
  9. Joiner Jim

    Joiner Jim New Member

    Thanks for your advice, I will fit some vents in the plinth and above the wardrobes and see how it goes.
  10. Wanderer81

    Wanderer81 New Member

    Just wondered if you had any joy with this solution? I have exactly the same problem. When fitting ventilation would it be ok to vent from bottom right through to loft space above? wardrobes are floor to ceiling and the only circulation i could get out of the top is into the loft.
    Thanks in advance.
  11. Bob Uppendown

    Bob Uppendown New Member

    If anyone wants to create a condensation problem, partially screening off the coldest wall (which is what you do if you position cupboards there) is a surefire way to achieve it. (Either within those cupboards or behind them).

    It ensures that whenever the room is heated, that outer wall, which was already the one which would be the last to warm up, will lag even further behind the temperature of the other walls. The greater the contrast between the coldest available surface and the room air temp, the greater the likelihood of condensation on that cold surface. By shielding that wall from the room, you keep the wall cooler for longer. Where heating is intermittent (particularly where it is less than about one 8 hours in every 24) the likelier it is that the wall surface will never get warm enough to avoid condensation occurring (ie its surface temp will hardly ever exceeed the dewpoint related to the maximum room air temp and its airborne moisture (humidity) level).

    Contrast is the key. The greater the discrepancy between air temp and wall temp the likelier you are to get condensation. Fanning warmed room air briefly onto the chilly surface will make matters worse - as the initial effect will be for airborne moisture to condense there. This will only cease if the warmth is applied long enough for the fabric of the wall to warm through sufficiently, or for warm dry air to take up condensed moisture from the surface.

    Contrast really is the key. The greater the contrast between air temp in adjoning rooms/voids, the likelier you are to get condensation in the cooler zone (hence mildew within cool wardrobes). The greater the contrast between air temps and surface temps, the greater the risk of condensation. The greater the imbalance between coolest surface conditions (when heating has been off longest) and highest-humidity times (when room air temp has been raised and has absorbed maximum moisture) the likelier you will get condensation.

    Ventilation is a factor, but can also make matters worse if it isn't thought through properly. Lurching between different conditions (fan on/fan off, heating on/heating off) will just shift the problem around. Sticking vents in outside walls (allowing more cold air into certain areas that are already chilled, and allowing excessive loss of (expensive) heat) can make matters worse.
  12. Wanderer81

    Wanderer81 New Member

    Would putting plasterboard on battons covering the offending wall be a suitable method? Also I have the same problems with condensation on the bay walls on the window in the same room. Any way of getting rid of this? There is no way to make a false wall.
  13. bobajob

    bobajob New Member

    Hi all,installing cavity wall insulation on a post 1930's property or thermal boarding on interior wall will help retain heat within the room therefore reducing temperature contrasts and consequently condensation,naturally loft insulation will do the same for ceilings,this will only help in conjunction with adequate ventilation to problem areas,hope this helps.
  14. Alan Ewing

    Alan Ewing New Member

    Would injecting expanding foam into the void behind the wardrobe and outer wall cure the damp issue.
  15. AlvyChippy

    AlvyChippy Active Member

  16. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Screwfix Select

    As Bob U has said, the problem is temperature differential. If you have air at say 20 degrees and 60% relative humidity, its dew point is around 10 degrees. If that wall is that cold any air that hits it is going to condense. If the humidity is higher, so is the dew point. The theory of ventilation is that air that isn't saturated passes over a wet surface and absorbs the moisture, but ventilation could also potentially give you a condenser where new supplies of damp laden air are continually forced against the cold surface.

    There are 3 choices :- reduce the ambient humidity - difficult - you don't want to stop showering
    remove the humidity with a dehumidifier until the amount of water vapour in the air is below the dew point saturation of the cold wall
    warm the wall up by fitting insulation (you don't actually "warm" the wall, but it doesn't act as a heat sink) so the inner surface is more like the ambient room temp and less like outside.

    You could remove the cupboard, dry line with insulation backed plasterboard and then refit. You don't even need to skim/finish it if it can't be seen.

    Finally, no way on this earth would I put cavity wall insulation in any house with soft, permeable mortar, like anything with lime mortar. Once that insulation gets wet you have bigger problems. Breathable cavities need ventilation to dry out.

    For info I've attached a table that shows saturated water density for various temps. Relative humidity is actual water density in air/saturated water density at that temp. so e.g. if air is carrying 12g water/m3 you can see what temp can hold that amount when saturated. Reduce the temp below that and you get condensation.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  17. chippie244

    chippie244 Super Member

    Or you could wait 11 years for an answer :):)
  18. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Screwfix Select

    :rolleyes::rolleyes: bloody thread archaeology! Still the problem people have is just the same so advice might help someone :D
  19. Alan Ewing

    Alan Ewing New Member

    I cannot remove the six fitted floor to ceiling wardrobes. There is a 25mm approx gap between the back of the wardrobe and the external cavity wall. I have nowhere to to install vents. I'm not clear on putting expanding foam in the void behind the wardrobes be a bad step. Would it help to even out the temperatures between the wall and wardrobes or would it make the problem worse.
  20. AlvyChippy

    AlvyChippy Active Member

    if the damp is only damp, you'll isolate wardrobe and leave the wall more damp-moisture effected.

    however IF there is leak channeling down or rising damp issue- in long term you make bad situation worse

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice