Advice on Damp problems – are these damp specialists trying to make a quick buck?

by Readers Question

10:26 AM, 9th November 2014
About 6 years ago

Advice on Damp problems – are these damp specialists trying to make a quick buck?

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Advice on Damp problems – are these damp specialists trying to make a quick buck?

To give you some background, I own a terraced property built 1888 which was later fitted with a dpc (drilled into brick) but I’m not sure how long ago this was. We refurbished the property 4 years ago, having all external walls re pointed and painted, we hooked off old damp plaster, allowed an industrial dehumidifier to dry out the walls before having re plastered etc. Advice on damp problems

Damp under bay window:

There are damp patches appearing under the bay window, I’m not sure if the dpc has failed here, but it looks like the tenant has had a virgin box installed that they no longer use. I have complained to virgin media that I believe the installation has caused the damp in the wall and this is under review. Damp specialists have advised me to pay to have an injected dpc under bay window but what are your thoughts??

Damp on rear window corner & lower internal partition wall:

A damp patch has appeared in the corner of the window, which looks like it moves down to the corner. Damp specialist also suggested having this injected dpc under the window and along, however it seems to me like that isnt going to solve the problem as damp starts heigh up.

Kitchen:

Has the chimney breast separating the dining room to a small kitchen, the wall is extremely thick and is showing damp patches on the wall which rises higher than rising damp. We capped off the chimney and pointed the top to stop water from getting in so this water may just be trapped in the wall. The other wall in the kitchen, around the window white salts are appearing and this wall is damp also with crumbling plaster, the external wall is rendered so I’m not sure if the rendered external wall is causing a problem?

Damp specalist advised to have this dpc injected from the outside, to have kitchen taken out, plaster hacked off and replaced, however i dont think that would solve the penetrating damp (the kitchen walls are solid)

I’ve had a national damp specialist out but I’m unsure weather they are quoting unnecessary work. My issue is that I want to tackle the exact causes and then replace plaster etc so that it doesnt come back. It seems like the damp specialists are just plastering over wet walls and there is no guarantee that it will not come back.

Would anyone recommended having a building defect damp survey completed by an RICS member? If so, if their recommendations did not rectify the damp in the property would they be liable to fix? It looks like I am going to be paying out a few thousand pounds to try and fix this problem, I want to make sure it works.

Please help.

Thanks

Andy Manning


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Comments

Stephen Linley-Shaw

21:26 PM, 10th November 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "09/11/2014 - 10:33":

We have used Nuaire positive input ventilation systems 20 for years. They were the original innovators and still supply the best units.
Any competent electrician can fit a Drimaster in a morning (including reading the instructions and tea breaks!).
They honour the 5 year manufacturers guarantees without quibble.
NB I don't work for and am not paid by Nuaire Ltd but I like their style ......just an honest opinion..
Stephen

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

21:28 PM, 10th November 2014
About 6 years ago

David - folks here are simply giving the original poster some ideas based on their own problems, which may or may not be helpful.....

"independent and experienced surveyor " hey ? I wonder if you are a surveyor.....

Quite frankly I would rather start from the basis of apocryphal suggestions from other people who have had similar problems, and have nothing to sell me, then go to the professionals with nothing to guide me ...

Having posted on here for advice from others at least OP now has the benefit of some of the possible problems/solutions before going to a professional.

You may be a perfectly ethical and moral professional... there are many who are not.

Mark Alexander

21:42 PM, 10th November 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Stephen Linley-Shaw" at "10/11/2014 - 21:26":

That's very interesting a comforting feedback because Nuaire approached us recently to discuss sponsorship opportunities.
.

Stephen Linley-Shaw

8:28 AM, 15th November 2014
About 6 years ago

Self Help. Buy a cheap humidity meter on line. Even the £5 models are usually accurate to +- 3 or 4%. When next viewing the property leave the unit on for 5 minutes and take a reading. if over 65% condensation is inevitable.
This advice is a little simplified......humidity can be low in the day time and normally is at it's highest about 4am.
This data will CONFIRM to you and the tenant that the air is wet and this is the source of the damp problem.
Data loggers can be used - they are expensive and very accurate.

Confirming a diagnosis will not make the condensation go away........and will not placate tenants. Building works rarely help!

To control damp you need expert help. My staff at Dryhomes know their stuff.

Peter Wood (alias) Hawkeye

9:41 AM, 15th November 2014
About 6 years ago

There's really good food for thought here and suggestions that you may have not contemplated, and I would like to add another ..... it is a plug (but not for me!)

Are you aware that building Thermography and it's use to help pinpoint the point of entry and to trace the flow of damp, and will provide visual evidence of the problem.

It's non-invasive (but there is a cost), but is more than worth it to truly locate what / where your problem is, as well as give peace of mind, as to where work really need to be done, with the added benefit of being able to show the visual results tenants, insurers, surveyors or third party remediation specialists. ... and if required, a 2nd survey sometime post repairs would confirm if now all OK.

I've forwarded this question to ScanTherm, in Tonbridge, Kent whom I have asked to comment directly, as not sure where your problem property is located.

For the record, I specialise in Hi-level Photo - Video - InfraRed visual surveys of buildings to 24m (7/8 storey level!), great for landlords with multi-occupancy or tall properties ..... all without the expense, time and cost of inspection scaffolding.

Please excuse the last plug, but many people, landlord, solicitors, building surveyors just do not know that we do exists and how we can help.
... anyway I trust you do cure your damp problem, and I'm sure somewhere on this forum, lies the solution.

Mark Alexander

10:28 AM, 15th November 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Stephen Linley-Shaw" at "15/11/2014 - 08:28":

Hi Stephen (and Peter)

Have you considered upgrading your member profile to business sponsor status?

Please see >>> http://www.property118.com/business-sponsorship/

Also note our "House Rules" on the linked page please.
.

Peter Wood (alias) Hawkeye

10:52 AM, 15th November 2014
About 6 years ago

House rules, OOOps ! On first posting as well.

Mark Alexander

11:29 AM, 15th November 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Peter Wood (alias 'Hawkeye')" at "15/11/2014 - 10:52":

No worries Peter. I have not moderated the post as it was your first and was in context and well intentioned. You were not to know but you do now 🙂

Welcome to Property118 🙂
.

Ramesh Chhatralia

23:13 PM, 16th November 2014
About 6 years ago

Hi Andy

Working in the building industry for over thirty years we have come across all kinds of damp issues with a variety of building built from 1800's to 1960-70's and yes some modern buildings as well.

Quoting : 'built 1888 which was later fitted with a dpc (drilled into brick) but I’m not sure how long ago this was'

Many buildings built upto 1930's had slate as a damp-proof course built into the external walls. Due to movement theses would crack and the damp would penetrate and rise in the wall. Also, if there are solid floors the damp poof membrane would not have been laid and this the damp on the walls would find its way at the junction of the walls and the floor.

Use this link for advise on damp-proof injection making sure that it is not bridged by internal and external plaster.

http://www.dampness-info.co.uk/index.html

-----------------------------
Quote: 'we hooked off old damp plaster, allowed an industrial dehumidifier to dry out the walls before having re plastered etc'

Looks like the guys did not either use the correct water-proofer in the render mix or never used a water-proofer. In all plastering work, new and re-plaster we have always insisted the plasterer uses a propriety water-proofer in the mix to future proof the walls against damp. Here the link to the right water-proofing systems:

http://gbr.sika.com/en/solutions_products/solutions-for-projects/e-house.html

We have used this product very effectively esp for basements:

http://www.vandex.com/old-building-refurbishment/

--------------
Quote : 'the wall is extremely thick and is showing damp patches on the wall which rises higher than rising damp'

As above
--------------------------------
Quote : 'We capped off the chimney and pointed the top to stop water from getting in so this water may just be trapped in the wall.'

The chimney flue needs to breathe otherwise it will cause condensation. The top must be capped off with a chimney pot flue vent or a cowl and not simply blocked off and cemented. The chimney breast in the room must have a vent. Also, it is advisable to have the flue swept and all the deposits at the bottom cleared before closing off the fireplace.

Here's how the caps/cowls looks like:

http://www.travisperkins.co.uk/Search?pagesize=10&pagenumber=1&emptycat=&search=chimney%20cowls&sortby=&modifiedterm=

-----------------
Quote: 'around the window white salts are appearing and this wall is damp also with crumbling plaster, the external wall is rendered so I’m not sure if the rendered external wall is causing a problem?'

As the building was built in 1888 the walls would be solid brick or stone walls. First, check that the builders have not used bonding in any of the external walls., The bonding acts like a sponge and simply sucks the damp from the outside through the external plaster cracks, pointing and the bedding. This would react with the paint and cause the sulphation. Same can happen with cavity walls where the cavity gets bridged by cement while building.

Check the external render for cracks. These need to be chased out and fixed properly. We use the"vandex" plugging compound to fix this.

Here a link to some excellent info on treating damp:

http://www.dampness-info.co.uk/diagnose.htm

You also need to check all the gutters and downpipes for leaks. Esp in old buildings we have found the the cast iron downpipes are fixed to the wall with metal spikes which tend to rust and rain water can easily penetrate through the gaps.

Also, old buildings have windows which are draughty and with no background ventilation. This causes air-bourne condensation in the rooms leading to damp walls and ceilings. This can be solved by inserting Air bricks, trickle vents on windows or in worst cases condensing extractors fans.

The method of treatment will depend on the age and condition of the affected building elements.

Hope the above is useful to you.

Ramesh

Imajik Property Solutions Ltd

A holistic approach to buildings management and value addition for investments and lifestyle improvement.

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Joe Bloggs

9:01 AM, 17th November 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ramesh Chhatralia" at "16/11/2014 - 23:13":

HI
SOME GOOD ADVICE EXCEPT FOR:
'Also, old buildings have windows which are draughty and with no background ventilation. This causes air-bourne condensation in the rooms leading to damp walls and ceilings.'
IT IS MOISTURE PRODUCTION, POOR VENTILATION AND POOR INSULATION WHICH CAUSES CONDENSATION RATHER THAN DRAUGHTY OLD WINDOWS. IN FACT REPLACING SINGLE WITH DOUBLE GLAZING CAN MAKE MATTERS WORSE AS CONDENSATION IS THEN DIVERTED ONTO WALLS WHERE IT IS HARDER TO WIPE DRY. ALSO NEW SEALED WINDOWS REMOVE FORTUITOUS VENTILATION PROVIDED BY DRAUGHTS AND OF COURSE MOST OCCUPIERS WILL SHUT TRICKLE VENTS.

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