Martin Panes from roof window specialist, Dakea, talks exclusively to Showhome about preventing condensation in new build windows
Condensation can be miserable for any homeowner, which is why homebuilders should plan to prevent it occurring in any new build. We talk to Martin Panes of Dakea roof windows about how to stop it being a problem.
Martin Panes, National Housebuilder Manager at Dakea, has 20 years’ experience in the construction industry and knows what it takes to turn a new build or renovation into a fantastic home. Martin has worked at Dakea for two years and tells us, “At Dakea we only sell roof windows and accessories that are high- quality, cost-effective and look great too. They’re designed to create energy-efficient and safe rooms. We’re so confident in the quality of our windows each one comes with a 20-year guarantee, the best in the market.”
But Dakea do much more than just sell roof windows for professionals – they also pride themselves on offering industry advice and insight to help customers grow their business. Martin tells us, “Condensation is an issue for so many homeowners and only leads to ongoing issues for housebuilders and installers alike. So, if you keep the problem front of mind when installing windows or designing a home, you can ensure you keep your building condensation-free.”
What is condensation?
Water is always present in the air as a gas. Water condensation on windows occurs when it changes into a liquid. If the air has more moisture in it, it’s likely to condense on windows and if the glass on the windows is cold (as in autumn and winter months) it’s even more likely.
The two key factors that cause condensation on windows are air humidity being too high and the temperature of internal partitions such as windows being too low. When these conditions combine, condensation occurs. Actions such as frequent boiling water in a kitchen or lots of showering in the bathroom can also lead to too much water in the air and, in turn, condensation.
When it comes to new builds, Martin has some good advice on avoiding condensation: “New homes tend to have more of a condensation problem but dry out over the first few years. It can take a year for a new property to dry out so this shouldn’t be rushed or you can store up issues for down the line. New homes are built to be well insulated so ventilation is key to drying out the home and keeping condensation at bay.” Martin’s best tips are to open windows on dry days, gently heat the property when cold and keep all ventilation ducts open.
How to spot condensation
Most homeowners will be aware that a room has a condensation problem: it will feel damp, mildew can appear inside walls and paint on exteriors may also begin to bubble. If ignored, wood in the room can begin to rot over time. “Housebuilders need to act swiftly when condensation issues are highlighted to them: ignore them and they will only get worse – and potentially more expensive for all concerned over time,” advises Martin.
Air humidity becomes too high in a building when there is insufficient, or no, ventilation: the air becomes more humid and then condenses. The moisture will then begin to collect on the walls, in corners and around doors and, in particular, windows. After a while, mould and fungi can develop in these places.
Four average people in a typical home produce between 10 and 15 litres of water a day into the air. Housebuilders must plan good ventilation into their build: this will blow out used air and ensure fresh air enters the room. This fresh air will contain more oxygen and be cooler, which means that when heated, it will be able to absorb new moisture generated in the building, which will in turn be blown out by the ventilation system and keep the room moisture-free.
Why install a roof window?
“When planning or building new homes, a roof window will greatly reduce the risk of condensation in any room, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms,’ advises Martin. And there are extra steps you can take to be even more confident your home will be condensation-free. When choosing a roof window look for these extra features:
- Triple glazing – three pane windows have better U-value to reduce heat loss and make it easier to keep the room warm.
- Improved insulation design – such as argon gas used between panes will keep the room warmer and cut the risk of condensation.
- Correct installation and use of the flashing is essential as a poorly-installed window will lead to a build-up of condensation or leakage around the frame. • PVC frames – in contrast to wooden frames, PVC offers much better resistance to mould which can develop in moisture-rich environments.
- Try Dakea’s Better Energy PVC roof window range, which encompasses all the above features and is ideal in preventing condensation.
What other steps can installers and housebuilders take to combat condensation? Whether a room has a roof window or not, Martin recommends you consider fitting these additional features:
Air valves. Installing them in a home allows air to be extracted from a room into the ventilation ducts. They can be adjusted according to the building’s specific ventilation requirements.
It’s worth noting that if you don’t have an extraction system in your kitchen or bathroom, this will make a big difference. They can cost around £400 to install but help to remove moisture-rich air created as a result of cooking or showering and replace it with fresh air.
Window vents can be added above windows to allow air to move through the room and prevent moisture condensing on the windowpanes.
Air bricks can be installed in rooms that are poorly ventilated. These bricks allow air to move through them to enhance ventilation.
Roof windows allow moisture-rich air to escape when opened as it will rise higher into the room thus ensuring good ventilation.
In loft or attic conversions, as well as openable roof windows, roof ventilation tiles or soffits can be installed to encourage air movement through the room. Attic conversions are often at a high risk of developing mould due to condensation because they can be hard to insulate and ventilate. Ensuring a good ventilation system is essential during construction or conversion of these rooms.
Martin also recommends that you consider fixing any incorrectly installed plasterboard or radiators and add additional heaters.
Everyday steps to beating condensation
Some final advice from Martin. “Always talk to your homeowner about the small steps they can take to keep condensation and bigger issues at bay.” Improving ventilation and reducing the level of humidity in the home will beat condensation, so homeowners should be encouraged to do the following if it’s an issue in their home, and particularly in new builds:
- Dry clothes outdoors or use a tumble dryer wherever possible.
- Open windows in rooms that experience condensation for at least 10 minutes a day.
- Use a thermostat to ensure the home and room are at a constant warm temperature.When a room is under-heated, there will be excessive saturation of water vapour as the air can hold less moisture.
- Add a heater under the windowto ensure thewindowpane doesn’t get too cold.
For more advice about tackling condensation and Dakea’s range of roof windows call Dakea on 020 3970 5080
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Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, Showhome Magazine
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922