Viewing 38 posts - 1 through 38 (of 38 total)
  • House damp on survey, when to panic?
  • Premier Icon mikey-simmo
    Free Member

    Had a survey on a new home which came back with damp on an internal wall. Its an early 80s house with concrete floors downstairs. Imagination being what it is has anyone treated such a problem? How much should we ask for treatment on the problem ballpark? Second specialist survey next week.

    Premier Icon wrightyson
    Free Member

    *Waits for the damp deniers to post*

    Is it an
    internal wall as in single skin, room dividing wall,
    if above, is it load bearing,
    or is it an internal wall which backs up the external skin?

    Premier Icon perchypanther
    Free Member

    House damp on survey, when to panic?

    Never.

    Never panic. That’s when you end up paying thousands for work that perhaps you don’t need.

    damp on an internal wall

    Could be any number of things. Impossible to answer your questions until the root cause is identified.

    Premier Icon Sidney
    Free Member

    There is some controversy on damp surveys and assessments (I may have been made aware of it on these very forums!). Here is my story.

    We had similar but from the other end as the seller. Our buyers homebuyers report picked up woodworm and damp. Our estate agent referred them to a specialist damp and timber contracter to do a survey but really it was a quote for work totalling £1200. Aware of the issues with surveying for damp and having had no issues previously I remanind unconvinced so spent some money on a survey from these peopleAcademy Remedial Surveyors. Their survey convinced our buyers to not request any remedial work be done before completion, saving us a grand at a crucial time.

    So what I would ask if I were you is if the specialist survey is being undertaken by a person/company with an business interest in finding work to do?

    Premier Icon Sidney
    Free Member

    Luddite can’t reply directly to a post.


    @Wrightyson
    – Oops – think I just took on the mantle…

    I don’t deny damp, I just need proof!

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Free Member

    Have a look for obvious causes (damaged/missing/blocked gutter, damaged/poorly fitted window, missing/cracked tile, soil piled up outside, leaky water pipe). You can do that just as well a ‘specialist surveyor’. Has the house been occupied? Not really much to worry about though. Maybe an opportunity for a few quid off if you are that way inclined.

    Premier Icon windydave13
    Free Member

    As with Sidney when we bought our house (1890’s Victorian semi) I was concerned about damp in the cellar. The estate agent suggested a specialist who we got in to have a look. He suggested it just needed painting however when we pressed him for an official quote all of a sudden the cellar needed tanking and a whole host of other work. We never followed up with him and whilst when it properly rains like last month we get some water ingress it’s generally ok

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    *Waits for the damp deniers to post*

    Hello!

    Damp, of course, exists. But there is a huge amount of misinformation kicking about regarding it (because there’s a huge amount of money to be made from remediation).

    If they’ve stuck a damp meter on the wall and gone “yeah, it’s damp” I’d be tempted to ignore it as a false positive because that’s not what those things are designed to do. If it is actually damp, then as others have said the question you need to ask is “why?” (and “what kind of damp?”) If the house been lying empty and hermetically sealed for months then that’s probably your answer right there, your “treatment” is to open some windows.

    Premier Icon mikey-simmo
    Free Member

    Nobody with an interest in getting some work will be visiting the house. Surveyors only please. Its a wall between the hall and lounge/dining room so its Unlikely to have guttering in the bedrooms. I suspect it is a supporting wall as it;s the only other wall downstairs aside from the external walls that’s not wooden. We don’t have evidence of damp on the external walls though, just this one in the middle which is more worrying. Don’t want to start arguing about the cost of fixing it as that’s simple so long as the cause isn’t a bad one.

    Premier Icon joeydeacon
    Free Member

    Might not be related in the slightest, but (assuming you’ve got loft access) our place benefited massively from fitting a drymaster – my parents have used them in 2 other houses too to permanently cure massive damp problems.

    Edit: should be Drimaster

    Premier Icon mikey-simmo
    Free Member

    I’d have though there might have been damp on the upper floors on ceilings if there was damp on the lower? Its is magical fairy piss and can do some amazing things. Damp and subsidence put you into the hands of the building industry’s worst

    Premier Icon perchypanther
    Free Member

    What exactly did your survey say? Actual damp meter readings? Evidence of damp? Mould?

    Was there a piece of furniture  against the wall previously in the place where the damp  has been detected? A sideboard, bookcase, piano etc?

    Was the damp detected on the  heated living room side but not on the relatively unheated hall side?

    Premier Icon Weasel
    Free Member

    A few weeks before I was due to exchange on my current property (ground floor maisonette), an email which had gone round the houses finally reached me via my mortgage broker from the banks surveyor saying he’d changed his mind there was a damp issue possibly affecting the flooring joists and therefore the valuation was reduced, with approx £5K of work required but the mortgage offer still stood.

    Anyway, once I had moved in I had a local dampworks company attend, their surveyor took readings for damp and humidity etc and he mocked most of the report for scaremongering and ar5e covering. I had the damp course injected for around £500 with a 20 year guarantee, if anything more as peace of mind and a preventative measure, as I can see a number of other similar properties in the street have had the same works.
    When I come to sell the property I am more than willing to show the original surveyors report and all the things I’ve had done to correct or make good.

    Premier Icon mikey-simmo
    Free Member

    If the damp isn’t anything to worry about the second specialist surveyor will tell us more (hopefully) Don’t mind drilling and filling as all the rooms are getting decorated. If it’s going to cost us actual money then we need to go back and discuss the price. Not that we really want to get into this as we’d quite like to just get started.

    Premier Icon wrightyson
    Free Member

    It’s likely the wall bears to ground/founds then as it’s probably picking up first floor joists in some form or fashion. It could well be a case of poorly fitted dpc or none at all at ffl as it was seen as an “internal wall”. If that’s the case then it is the dreaded “rising damp” that doesn’t exist.

    Premier Icon slackalice
    Free Member

    Well… without proper pics of the rooms/areas highlighted in the report, it’s virtually impossible to deduce what may be causing the high moisture content readings. Ideally, they need to be measuring the salts, rather than a damp percentage. To suggest at this stage it is one particular cause of the damp earth beneath the building finding its way up into a drier atmosphere is…. let’s just say, money and bullshit talks. 😉

    Additionally, I would be keen to gain an understanding of who lived there previously and their lifestyle, in other words, where did they put their damp clothes to dry? Did they open windows? Is the dwelling well sealed against drafts? Or in other words, how well ventilated is the interior? When they cooked, did they open windows? Lots of variables.

    I’m with @cougar totally on this one. I’m not however dismissing that in some very rare cases, moisture will and can work it’s way into a drier environment and generally, IME, this occurs when water is gaining entry elsewhere or poor building practises and or knowledge have created a ‘perfect storm type scenario.

    Ventilate, ventilate and ventilate some more and see what happens 😁

    Premier Icon mikey-simmo
    Free Member

    Thanks for the advice. Yes we’d love a detailed look. We’ve seen the house twice and the survey brought it up. If it was an exterior wall I’d be less concerned. As it’s a concrete slab floor with this wall inside the house separated from the outside by a considerable distance it’s come as a unpleasant surprise. As with all things I wish I had detailed photographs. And it’s a simple fact that we can’t think of a reason to have moisture there and not elsewhere. I am bracing myself for a survey result that says
    ‘it’s damp. We don’t know why without further investigation. Can we have our money now.’
    I’d rather have a gas leak than damp, at least you can smell facts with gas.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Full Member

    Our house had rising damp listed as an issue on the survey. Turned out to be a leaking shower tray on the other side of the wall…

    Premier Icon stumpyjon
    Full Member

    Given the walls location if there is damp I’d expect it to be leaking pipework or from a bathroom upstairs. Is there a radiator on that wall on either side? Don’t forget water can track in odd ways so the leaking shower may not be directly above the damp area.

    Premier Icon irc
    Free Member

    We had damp in a house we bought. On external wall with flat roof canopy over front door. On removing wallpaper found previous owners had tried to sort it by painting plaster with some some sort of rubber coating. After close inspection of the flat roof found nothing I pulled up the floor in the first floor bedroom the cause was found to be a nail through a central heating pipe.

    Premier Icon bigyinn
    Free Member

    My stepson had “damp” on and internal wall (semi detached house, dividing wall between them).
    It was recommended the wall be stripped back to the walls and treated, which he did. How would an internal dividing brick wall even be exposed to moisture from the other side?
    It then transpired that because the previous owner suffered from hayfever they NEVER opened any windows in the house. I suspect the “damp” was merely a lack of air movement around the house, so condensation had nowhere to go.
    The trouble I had trying to get the bathroom window open (practically stuck shut) suggests that it hadn’t been opened for a long time either.
    If in doubt, I’d get a second opinion. It seems to be a bit of a scam IMO.

    Premier Icon mikey-simmo
    Free Member

    The bathroom is quite a distance from the wall and all of the radiators are a distance from this patch. Can’t say about pipework as we can’t lift the carpets or floorboards. If I need to treat the damp we will but not for thousands. Give it a week we should know more. Or perhaps the same but with a bill for 200 quid.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    The report says that damp was found “with a moisture meter.” The only such devices I’m aware of existing are either for wood or for concrete. I’d like to bet that your dividing wall is neither of these things.

    I’m not saying there isn’t damp, nor am I saying there isn’t perhaps an underlying problem, rather that I’d be taking that advice with a pinch of salt. Sticking a probe designed for wood into a sheet of plasterboard might not be providing the most accurate of results. (Of course, if the walls are obviously PWT that’s another story..!)

    But TBH this is all crystal ball stuff until you can get a proper look at it. When you say “patch,” what do you mean exactly? Is that where the plaster’s blown, have you seen it?

    Premier Icon perchypanther
    Free Member

    PWT?

    Premier Icon mikey-simmo
    Free Member

    Guessing Piss wet through?
    Thanks, reassured and concerned in equal amounts right now. So condition normal.

    Premier Icon wrightyson
    Free Member

    Some classic possibilities been offered on this one, the leaking shower being a particular highlight. I’m still sticking with my original, moisture coming up from the found/bearing of the wall or maybe even at the floor/wall interface which is causing salts or just moisture.
    The floor dpm could be doing an excellent job of keeping any damp from other areas and may have, even back then, been “aproned” in to the dpc on the inner leaf of the external walls which is protecting them. Cant see any reasoning for cold bridging unless it’s only damp at the interface with an external wall as it should be a warm surface on both sides being an internal wall. Mold is usually a sign of furniture too close to walls in a particularly unvented/air tight property but you would have it in all areas not just mid walls. My two Penneth. As you were.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Full Member

    Personally I would dig a hole in the garden next to the house and see how damp the ground is currently. If the water table is right up around the footings, then I could believe it was actual rising damp. However, unless the house is sat in the middle of a bog, I would suspect it’s coming from a water source in the house. Especially as we’re having quite a dry year (well down South) and the ground is dry as a bone.

    NB Our Victorian terrace had no DPC, is sat on the earth with very little foundations and is dry as a bone and probably has been for over 130 years….

    Premier Icon wrightyson
    Free Member

    Seriously footflaps what “water source” would present itself on one area of an internal wall that is it visible elsewhere?

    Premier Icon mikey-simmo
    Free Member

    It appears that yes, panic was the right answer. Might be walking away depending on the details but from initial conversation with the specialist surveyor, it was worth paying for.

    Premier Icon wrightyson
    Free Member

    So what was the outcome/his thoughts as to what it was?

    Premier Icon Selled
    Free Member

    Seriously footflaps what “water source” would present itself on one area of an internal wall that is it visible elsewhere?

    A dog thats been left inside everyday whilst the last owners were at work 🙂

    Also interested in the outcome.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Full Member

    Seriously footflaps what “water source” would present itself on one area of an internal wall that is it visible elsewhere?

    Who knows, leaking pipe in the wall somewhere.

    If rising damp was a prevalent as most people are led to believe, all the Victorian canals would act like fountains, yet the courses of bricks above the water line are generally bone dry (unless it’s just rained).

    Premier Icon mikey-simmo
    Free Member

    Possibly damaged DPC or disturbed due to moving a door and building a cupboard, Stud wall and brick wall is wet.
    Sole plate in the stud wall will need replacing due to water. plaster board obviously damaged.
    This could be not only change in price but a full walk away.

    Premier Icon wrightyson
    Free Member

    Me

    It’s likely the wall bears to ground/founds then as it’s probably picking up first floor joists in some form or fashion. It could well be a case of poorly fitted dpc or none at all at ffl as it was seen as an “internal wall”. If that’s the case then it is the dreaded “rising damp” that doesn’t exist.

    Expert

    Possibly damaged DPC or disturbed due to moving a door and building a cupboard, Stud wall and brick wall is wet.

    Just saying, and that little quote about canals 😂😂😂😂

    Premier Icon TheFlyingOx
    Full Member

    We had damp reported on an internal wall when we bought our house 6 years ago. Quoted around £6000 to fix it with various damp-fighting technologies. We declined but there was definitely something there – has to keep replacing the wood in a door frame as it was continually rotting.

    Ended up discovering the cause last year when I renovated the kitchen: an old TV aerial cable had been chopped off and hidden behind the kitchen window frame. The wire core had rotted away over the years leaving the hollow sheath, and so we basically had a 5mm pipe running from somewhere on the roof where an aerial used to be that fed water into the kitchen behind the walls every time it rained. Slight slope on the concrete floor meant the water traveled under the floor tiles and pooled right at the door frame that kept rotting. The £6000 of damp treatment we were told were needed would have done absolutely naff-all to fix it.

    Moral of the story is: damp is definitely a thing, but it appears that some damp treatment companies haven’t got a **** clue. Don’t worry about it but be prepared to do a lot of work finding the cause.

    Premier Icon mikey-simmo
    Free Member

    The quote wasn’t from a damp company but a surveyor (not received the actual copy but verbal guidance) Not sure how to proceed as i hope the seller will move on the price as the work to make good this wall is larger than we saw when first visited.
    If they don’t or won’t move it could be goodbye house.

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