Black Mould due to Condensation
Damp within properties generally falls within 3 categories, namely rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation.
Our experienced, qualified, surveyors are trained to be able to diagnose the different types of damp, investigate the causes and provide a solution for treatment, if indeed any treatment is necessary.
Getting the correct diagnosis is key.
For example, condensation can often be mistaken for rising damp. However whereas condensation is water vapour created within the property resulting in moisture on the surface of the internal walls, rising damp is due to what is termed “capillary action”. This is where ground water is “wicked” up through the masonry resulting in efflorescing salts erupting through the plaster. Chlorides and nitrates will also have been brought up with the moisture leading to damp patches in the plaster that will not dry out. Long term this can lead to decay in adjoining timbers. Condensation is cured via effective extractor fans but rising damp many necessitate the installation of a new damp proof course and all that entails (see our section on Rising Damp).
A weevil (Pentarthrum Huttoni) infestation needs no chemical treatment at all but simply that the ventilation be improved and the timbers allowed to dry because weevil can only survive in damp timber. An active common furniture beetle (Anobium Punctatum) infestation however will require treatment to protect the timbers and eradicate the beetle.
Common Furniture Beetle (Woodworm)
Mine fungus (Fibroporia Vaillantii)
It is also important to be able to recognise the difference between wet rot and dry rot, the latter requiring specialist treatment to ensure its eradication. Failure to successfully treat dry rot will result in the fungus continuing to spread, often undetected behind skirting boards and architraving, and even through plaster and masonry causing substantial damage to the property.
Dry rot (Serpula Lacrymans)
Dry-lining in the absence of a protective membrane
In addition, and all too often, we are able to recognise the tell-tale signs where damp treatment has failed. This is often due to a membrane not being taken up to the recommended height of a minimum of 1.2M or 300mm above the last signs of damp. Another common problem we see is where plasterboard has been placed in direct contact with damp masonry. In the absence of a membrane this can lead to damp patches where moisture has passed through the plaster dabs attaching the plasterboard to the wall resulting in spoiling decor.