Damp FAQ

Selected topics that have generated a lot of interest.
Rebecca
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun 23rd Dec, 2007 10:51 am
Location: South Wales

Removal of cement render and laying a limecrete floor

Post by Rebecca » Sun 23rd Dec, 2007 11:08 am

I am buying a middle terrace, stone house built in 1890. The exterior has a cement render. There is damp in the property and I have been advised to inject a DPC into the walls. I think that the reason for the damp is because the walls can't breathe because of the cement. Does anyone think it is a good idea to take the cement render of the exterior wall? Is this extremely costly because I am on quite a tight budget? Would it be worth it?

I am also taking up the floor slabs because there is no damp proof course underneath and was thinking of putting in instead, a limecrete floor. Does this sound like a good option? Again, is it extremely expensive? Would it be worth it?

Rebecca

MdB
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Location: Cornwall
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Post by MdB » Sun 23rd Dec, 2007 11:45 am

Rebecca, before you do anything, work out where your damp is and why it is getting there.

A injected DPC (if it worked) will only stop damp going up from the ground into the base of your wall. It won't stop damp coming through the walls, up through the floor, condensation and other damp problems. I don't think you will find anyone here that thinks injected DPCs for old properties are a good idea and most will say that all they do is damage perfectly good walls.

Why are you taking the floor slabs up? Because the floor is damp? You should ask yourself why the floor is damp before going any further. My guess would be that your outside ground levels are higher than your internal ground levels. If you sort this out, I bet a lot of your damp problems will be solved. Very rough round figures for flooring a 3 bed house £1k to £2k for concrete, £2k to £4k for lime - materials only labour extra.

Removing cement from your walls is probably a good idea but may not be necessary. If its in poor condition with rain getting through cracks in the surface then you want it removed. If its in good condition and the inside of the walls can breath and are well ventilated then it might be a job that could be left. Removing it is either an easy job if its delaminated from the stone (like in my house :)) or a long horrible job if its still stuck. I don't know costs for replacing it.

Rebecca
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun 23rd Dec, 2007 10:51 am
Location: South Wales

Damp

Post by Rebecca » Sun 23rd Dec, 2007 3:06 pm

Thanks for your reply MdB.

I had a damp report done which stated there was rising damp in the property and recommended that the affected walls should be injected with DPC. It also stated that the floors had been constructed without a DPM so that seems to be the reason for laying a new floor down (this is all on recommendation from my builder!)

I'm not actually sure whether the floor is damp. The report just stated that moisture meter readings indicated rising damp. However, the neighbouring property has got a higher internal floor level because the terrace is on a steep hill. If the outside ground levels are higher than the internal ground levels, could you solve this with a raised floor?

The cement on the walls on the whole seems to be in good condition, so maybe its better just left alone.

Moo
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Location: SE 22

Post by Moo » Mon 24th Dec, 2007 10:31 am

Just a guess, but I reckon it went a bit like this:

- Building Society requires a survey.

- Surveyor sticks his little damp-meter probe in a wall or two and gets a 'reading'.

- Sucks in through his teeth and says you should call in a specialist.

- 'Specialist' (aka salesman) comes along, sticks his meter probe in the wall and prescribes (aka sells) all the expensive treatments you have described.

Matt Green
Posts: 571
Joined: Wed 10th May, 2006 3:40 pm

Re: Damp

Post by Matt Green » Mon 24th Dec, 2007 1:20 pm

Rebecca wrote:The cement on the walls on the whole seems to be in good condition, so maybe its better just left alone.
It's a funny thing: 'damp specialists' don't sell a product called Leave It Alone, so they rarely recommend it.

Nemesis
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Location: Planet Earth

Post by Nemesis » Mon 24th Dec, 2007 6:22 pm

1890. Should in all probability already have a physical DPC installed from new.

Rebecca
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Joined: Sun 23rd Dec, 2007 10:51 am
Location: South Wales

Post by Rebecca » Wed 26th Dec, 2007 10:13 am

That's pretty much how it went Moo. The problem is now it is one of the conditions to getting the retention back from the mortgage lender.

Moo
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Location: SE 22

Post by Moo » Wed 26th Dec, 2007 11:21 am

I'm sure that this problem has been addressed here relatively recently. The solution seems to be (if I remember rightly) to get a report from a real specialist.

Someone here will have suggestions as to where to find one.

Rebecca
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun 23rd Dec, 2007 10:51 am
Location: South Wales

Post by Rebecca » Wed 26th Dec, 2007 5:54 pm

Thank you Moo.

I have just looked up specialists on this website and have had a good read of their websites. I think going with an independent specialist who has knowledge about preserving older buildings, is definitely the way to go.

dave40
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu 3rd Jan, 2008 1:57 pm

Post by dave40 » Thu 3rd Jan, 2008 2:23 pm

I have lived in many period buildings and have never once heard from a damp proof company that didnt tell me to inject a damp proof course !This is death as you all know for many buildings and makes the problem much worse so you are right to see a specialist that deals with old buildings and knows about letting them breath etc.
On 2 of my properties a simple french drail cured the rising damp problem .The list given by "NT" in this thread is an excellent reference.

Rebecca
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun 23rd Dec, 2007 10:51 am
Location: South Wales

New Damp and Timber Survey

Post by Rebecca » Thu 3rd Jan, 2008 4:05 pm

I got in touch with an independent specialist from the list on the web site and had a new damp and timber report. He said that I didn't need to inject the walls or take up the floor. I was over the moon! The report cost me a bit but has saved my thousands in work I would have done. I would definitely recommend having a report done by an independent specialist for anyone who has a property with damp problems, particularly if it is a period property.

silverfox
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon 21st Jan, 2008 12:30 am

Re: New Damp and Timber Survey

Post by silverfox » Mon 21st Jan, 2008 12:34 am

Rebecca wrote:I got in touch with an independent specialist from the list on the web site and had a new damp and timber report. He said that I didn't need to inject the walls or take up the floor. I was over the moon! The report cost me a bit but has saved my thousands in work I would have done. I would definitely recommend having a report done by an independent specialist for anyone who has a property with damp problems, particularly if it is a period property.
Hi there - can someone point me to the list of independent specialists please. We have damp issues and the local builders all have an answer which we no longer trust!!! Help! :?:

Nemesis
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Joined: Sun 6th Aug, 2006 4:04 pm
Location: Planet Earth

Post by Nemesis » Mon 21st Jan, 2008 12:41 am

See SEEKING SPECIALISTS on this site. Or contact SPAB.

Where are you?

silverfox
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon 21st Jan, 2008 12:30 am

Post by silverfox » Mon 21st Jan, 2008 8:00 am

Nemesis wrote:See SEEKING SPECIALISTS on this site. Or contact SPAB.

Where are you?
In Reading, berkshire.

What am i looking for? A specialist who can come see and offer advice etc.

Nemesis
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Joined: Sun 6th Aug, 2006 4:04 pm
Location: Planet Earth

Post by Nemesis » Mon 21st Jan, 2008 8:07 pm

Several of those on the PPUK Seeking Specialists list will travel and the SPAB, as I said, will give you names also.

What you don't need is a man with a van and a damp meter, who will only tell you the answer is chemical injection and hey, we will provide!

Look at the websites of specialists, it will tell you a great deal about their approach.

Statements such as:
Our philosophy is to avoid the expensive damage caused by unnecessary or incautious remedial treatments, and thus to reduce both the loss of historic materials and the quantities of hazardous chemicals introduced into the environment.
on the Ridouts site, for example, are a fairly reliable guide.

Another approach may be to contact a RICS surveyor with conservation expertise, depending on the nature of the problem.

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