Damp Report

Forum for discussing period houses.

Damp Report

Postby The_Laddie » Wed May 23, 2007 3:28 pm

Hi folks,

I was looking for some advice about "Rising Damp" which came up on a report on a Victorian house I am thinking of purchasing. The thing that I don't fully understand is that most of the damp appears to be confined to inner partitioning walls as opposed to the outer walls :?: :?: .
I know that there is quite a lot of sceptisism of these damp reports and yes the report was done by a company that recommended and offers a Chemical D.P.C. both vertical and horizontal for the affected area but why would there be dampness from Rising damp on inner walls ????? They are joined to the outer structure of the house but only on one edge.
Thanks for any help
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Postby Simon TL » Wed May 23, 2007 5:35 pm


It is *conceivable* that the low tech DPC (usually slates) is bridged or failed and then if the underfloor *is* very wet then damp could get to the first course or so above the floor, but this is very unlikely unless a drain or water main has failed.

It is much more likely that:
a: the walls are cold and the air humid so you get condensation on the walls
b: the crude 'damp' meters used by most surveyors are detecting some mineral peculiarity rather any moisture

Feel the walls referred to; do they feel cold and damp? Is the paint or wallpaper failing? Has the house been unoccupied, unheated, or else used for a lot of washing and drying indoors?

If this was to be my house and there was no stupid retention on the mortgage, and the survey was otherwise ok, I would just go for it. If you are less reckless, then an independent damp survey (do a google) would be ?300 or so well spent.
Simon TL
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Postby The_Laddie » Fri May 25, 2007 12:58 pm

Thanks for the reply Simon.
I forgot to mention a couple of things in my first post. I don't think there is any DPC as I cant see a line where the slates would be. All mortar joints are staggered and there's not a complete line round the house. Secondly, the house was owned by an older woman who was as tight as the peverbial Ducks bottom and never turned her heating on unless she couldn't bear the cold any longer and even then I think she just used to go to her bed and turn the electric blanket on instead.
A couple of the walls mentioned in the report we would probably have wanted to knock through in any case so I don't know if there would be any point in getting the Chemical DPC work done on them. Lastly there was one external wall that was also mentioned and they wanted to rip up the floor against that one to check the timbers I presume :?

Thanks again
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Postby rods16 » Wed May 30, 2007 9:45 pm

Have a read of this article, its one of the best I have come across and explains all aspects extremely well. It confirmed a lot of things which I had already seen on TV etc about damp and really put my mind at rest about such things when we purchased our 1860's house.

The fact is that my current house (built circa 1860) is far far less damp than my old house (built 1992).

http://www.buildingconservation.com/art ... ngdamp.htm
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Postby James » Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:18 pm

I'd buy the property and put the 'specialist damp company' report into the bin. You may also enjoy reading this:

http://www.rics.org/Builtenvironment/Bu ... 50901.html

Generally, opening windows, installing air bricks and turning on (installing!) central heating will cure the problem.

The summer is here, so get the windows open as soon as you can. A dehumidifier may help, as will a fan.
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Postby The_Laddie » Mon Jun 04, 2007 2:22 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone. I think I've read these articles before as I seem to remember a lot of the things that are said in them.
We ended up buying the house as it was originally one big house that was split in two in the 60's/70's and we already live in the upper part so now we have a damp lower to go with it :roll: :roll:

Having now had a good look round it I think most of the dampness has been running down the inside of the chimneys and onto the floor as when we lifted the carpets you can see the water mark all round the hearths and the floor was wet. Also the house has what looks lie a Lino :?: :?: :?: D.P.C. and because of the slope on the drive etc, the front garden and most of the driveway is above this original DPC 8O 8O So I think it's going to be a case of digging a sort of French drain round the place and fixing the leaky chimneys, as well as an extreme amount of repointing brickwork but I think it should all be worth it in the end.

Unfortunately when it was converted it looks like the bottom half of the original internal staircase has been removed, :cry: along with the period fire surrounds. :cry: Also looks like Jack the ripper has been at the floors too :x :x :x
No doubt I'll be back on here a few times asking more questions soon. As for summer ariving, Maybe where you are James but here in Scotland I don't think I can remeber what that is :D
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