Wallpaper vs paint-which is better?

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  • Wallpaper vs paint-which is better?

    I am soon to redecorate a rental property due to condensation damp on the north facing walls. I am wondering whether there is a "right" answer as to whether to paint the walls or wallpaper them?

    This may seem a bit banal, but would be interested to receive any advice!

  • #2
    I would go for paint with an additive to discourage mould growth.

    P.P.
    Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

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    • #3
      Must agree with P.P, wallpaper would be my last choice.

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      • #4
        100% paint. Wallpaper is out at the moment and is more hassle, it can come loose, get torn etc.

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        • #5
          Paint definitely, but I would also investigate or have investigated the source of the "condensation/damp", as you put it, as this may return if it has not been tackled.

          Typical culprits for dampness in a property are the gutters, brickwork and pointing, but also poor ventilation and poor heating. Often, you just need to heat the property/room better and the people living there to ventilate it too on a daily basis.

          Tenants are notorious for not airing rented properties and then they wonder how mould grows at the back of wardrobes and behind their beds.

          There are several reasons why a wall may be damp (if that is what the problem is), but one thing you should be aware of is to very be wary of people in the damp industry - they can find damp in any situation and recommend expensive solutions that sound plausible and 'technical". They can even "find" damp when none exists by using a meter that responds whenever they put it against a wall, skirting board, etc. However, those meters also respond if you put your hand against one. Pathetic.

          Oh by the way, rising damp does not exist.

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          • #6
            Thanks everyone!

            These ladies will be moving on soon, so I don't expect the problem to reoccur but I will clearly have to redecorate. I was wondering whether a patterned wallpaper would have better longevity than a painted wall when it comes to minor wear & tear. However, the votes are clearly for paint. I have seen anti damp paints are available- any good?

            The problem is definitely condensation. Previous tenants no problem but then these ladies came along and won't open windows because its too cold, house is always full of cooking steam (your hand comes away wet after you touch the walls!) etc. The north facing walls were black with mould so that I felt sick. They have cleaned the mould away with mould killer and supposedly are ventilating the place better now. Of course, the existing wall paper has had it. I am not a happy bunny.

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            • #7
              A flat I had in Bristol once had an extension for the bathroom and it was damp, no amount of venting helped. The walls were semi-gloss painted woodchip style anaglypta and one wall in particular had a huge mould growth in the shape of South America. We regularly treated it with an anti-mould solution but this just masked the problem. One day we walked into the bathroom to find the wallpaper on the floor by the skirting board, it had become brittle and just dropped off, disintegrating as it hit the floor. Weeks later the plaster also jumped off the wall. The landlord was aware of the problem thoughout the flat and intended to fully re-plaster the place after we left. He was a good landlord and we were good tenants.

              Anyway, good airflow is a must, but is often at the expense of heating, I can understand why someone might not be too keen on opening windows in winter to avoid damp. I would look at improving the airflow since any painting solution to the problem is really just masking it. Inadequate ventilation can also put people at risk from carbon monoxide build up.
              I also post as Moderator2 when moderating

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              • #8
                In that case I assume England is a combination of all types of damp?

                In any place where there are signs of poor ventilation I recommend fitting a CO2 alarm, actually, fit a CO2 alarm regardless.
                I also post as Moderator2 when moderating

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Miffy View Post
                  Thanks everyone!

                  These ladies will be moving on soon, so I don't expect the problem to reoccur but I will clearly have to redecorate. I was wondering whether a patterned wallpaper would have better longevity than a painted wall when it comes to minor wear & tear. However, the votes are clearly for paint. I have seen anti damp paints are available- any good?

                  The problem is definitely condensation. Previous tenants no problem but then these ladies came along and won't open windows because its too cold, house is always full of cooking steam (your hand comes away wet after you touch the walls!) etc. The north facing walls were black with mould so that I felt sick. They have cleaned the mould away with mould killer and supposedly are ventilating the place better now. Of course, the existing wall paper has had it. I am not a happy bunny.
                  You could also lay lining paper first and then paint, to prevent minor cracks appearing etc. Trick is to get a good decorator who can lay the lining paper well enough that the edges don't show.

                  The rooms affected have to be left to dry, probably over several days or weeks, depending on the severity of the problem, BEFORE you can consider tackling the problem. In my tenancy agreements, I specify that tenants are not to block any bathroom vents (which come on/off automatically as required) or any air bricks and to ensure that all rooms are ventilated on a regular basis.

                  You must also tackle the reason why the rooms affected are so cold. Is there no heating there? Are any windows in poor condition?

                  If you have provided for heating and ventilation and the tenants are behaving unreasonably and possibly negligently, you may cause for action against them, especially after informing them repeatedly about what they should be doing. Perhaps Jeffrey can advise.

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                  • #10
                    Go on, then
                    T has duty to use property in a good and tenant-like manner. Failure to do ths breaches T's obligations in Letting Agreement.
                    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Miffy View Post
                      Thanks everyone!

                      I have seen anti damp paints are available- any good?

                      The problem is definitely condensation. Previous tenants no problem but then these ladies came along and won't open windows because its too cold, house is always full of cooking steam (your hand comes away wet after you touch the walls!) etc.

                      We've had the same problem with a couple of our properties. No problem one year when the tenants heat AND ventilate the property - black mould the next when the tenants don't/won't.

                      We used International anti-condensation paint overpainted with Dulux bathroom paint. It does seem to have helped, but we also managed to get the tenants to open the window and door to the affected rooms and stop drying soaking wet clothes over the radiators in the properties which I'm sure has done far more to cure the problem. Plus we gave the tenants portable dehumidifiers to use in the depth of the winter when the problem is at its worst.

                      We are also going to fit permanent automatic dehumidifiers which should also help with tenants who just will not open windows or even switch on a portable dehumidifier.

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