Don’t Let Your Books Rot in the Loft

Keeping Your Loft Dry and Your Treasure Safe

Most of us have treasured possessions tucked away in the loft or the cellar. Are you sure that yours are safe and dry?

Even the most super organised person has a certain amount of junk tucked away in the loft, cellar, garage or spare room. Of course, where you and I are concerned, junk is not the right word. These are treasured possessions, family heirlooms and articles that are just waiting for that next house move, extension or the conversion of the spare bedroom into a library so that they can retake their pride of place in the centre of family life.

In the meantime, though, these magnificent artefacts are packed away in boxes, awaiting their moment to shine. The trouble is, a damp, musty loft is about the worst place you can leave treasured books, or just about anything else, for any length of time. A simple solution is to install electric tubular heaters to keep the temperature even and the condensation at bay. Let’s learn a bit more about protecting your hidden treasure from the damp.

Why is your loft damp?

If the loft space is damp, the first thing you need to do is work out why. Most likely, the moisture is coming from outside or inside, although there is a third option. We will look at each in turn.

Got a leak?

If the water is coming from outside, and your roof is leaking, it will be obvious, as the water will be concentrated in a particular area. Trace it back to the source, and get the problem repaired as quickly as possible, as left unattended, the ingress will do costly damage. The sooner you fix it, the smaller the problem.

Condensation from within

The more likely culprit is condensation, and this is not such an easy issue to address. Modern houses are typically well insulated, but sometimes they can be too much so. The house needs room to breathe, and there should be ventilation gaps in the loft space to let the moisture escape.

Think about where the condensation is coming from. For example, if you are in the habit of having hot, steamy showers, that’s your prerogative, but make sure the extractor fan is always switched on while you are doing so. Got a tumble dryer? Check the vent pipe is pushing the damp air outside and the vents are not blocked.

Even after checking all these things, you might still find you are getting a certain degree of condensation. A foolproof solution is to install some inexpensive heating in the loft to keep the temperature even. The tubular heaters we mentioned earlier are ideal for this, as they are energy efficient and simple to install in out of the way places.

One other possibility

If you have water tanks in your loft, there is an outside chance that they might be the culprits. These tanks feed the system by gravity and should contain cold water, but there are rare occasions where a plumbing fault causes them to warm up and create steam and condensation. It is not a common problem, but it is worth checking, just to be sure.