Mr & Mrs Brown problems of dampness and timber decay
Mr & Mrs Brown who live in a mid 1930s semi detached property in Darlington reported problems of dampness and timber decay in December 2016. An inspection was arranged for the following day which revealed that they had engaged a National Company to treat their damp issues which were large damp patches and tide marks extending up to 1.4 meters high. The National Company advised Mr & Mrs Brown that they could solve their damp problem by installing vents in the walls externally and duly completed the works which totalled several thousand pounds. Upon our inspection of the plasterwork it was found to be significantly deteriorated to the point that when touched it would fall off the walls, the occupants stated that they were deeply upset that there had been no visible change to the appearance of the walls as promised would be the case a few months after treatment by the National Company. One evening in early December whilst the occupants were relaxing in their living room they were disturbed by a loud bang which came from the dining room, they found that their Sideboard had fallen through the timber floor!

Sub-floor timbers in contact with damp walls often cause the onset of Wet Rot and Dry Rot, especially if the timbers are not protected by damp proof membrane and properly ventilated. Our thorough inspection revealed that the cause of timber decay was Wet Rot due to a high moisture content as the timbers were not protected by DPM and all of the existing air bricks were found to be blocked by rubble, debris and cobwebs. Sub-floor timbers in the kitchen were also found to be significantly decayed although the cause of this problem was due to plumbing leaks.

We quickly provided Mr & Mrs Brown with a full written report and quotation and they phoned us the next day to accept our recommendations and quotation, they asked if there was any possibility that the works could be carried out before Christmas and we promised that we would do our best.

Luckily the occupants had family living nearby who they stayed with during the day whilst we carried out the works over the following two weeks.

As the sub-floor timbers were in a dangerous state we cut out all decayed timber back to sound timber and renewed the decayed timber with new treated timbers treated with Boron, we cleaned out all of the airbricks in the affected areas as per our quote and installed an additional eight air-bricks around the property free of charge which will significantly reduce the risk of further timber decay occurring in the future. We then completed the damp-proofing works by removing the existing wall plaster back to the brickwork to 300mm above the last point of rising dampness, installed our silicone damp-proof course and re-plastered the walls incorporating our tanking membrane system. The occupants asked us if we could renew their old kitchen units and we supplied them with a beautiful kitchen from Magnet at cost price and fitted it for them also at cost.

On 23rd of December the Brown’s returned to their property late in the evening to find us re-fitting the last of the skirting boards and applying the finishing touches to the job which they were “over the moon with”.

High moisture meter readings and severe wet rot decay
In November 2019 we were contacted by a young lady who was in the purchase of purchasing a ground floor flat in Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne. She had contacted two other companies to arrange a Pre-Purchase Damp and Timber Inspection of the property, however, neither company turned up.
The Home Buyers’ Survey revealed that high moisture meter readings were recorded on some walls and therefore recommend that she engage a Damp and TImber Specialist to carry out a further inspection. She contacted us in respect of this and I advised her that we levy a charge of £80.00 for a full Pre-Purchase damp and timber inspection and report which is refundable against the cost of any recommended works that we carry out, reluctant at first on account that she’d already paid for a building survey she said she’d discuss the matter with her partner.
Two days later she called back and gave us the instruction to carry out the inspection. I collected the keys from the estate agent the following day and went straight round to the property.
Upon entering the property at first glance there did not appear to be any visible dampness as the whole flat had been recently painted, however upon close inspection some very minor blistering was noted at the base of some walls. Tests carried out with an electronic moisture meter revealed high readings at the base of all masonry walls throughout the property with a sharp cut off pattern at around 400mm high.
I lifted floorboards in all of the rooms with timber floors and discovered that around 80 per cent of the timbers were affected by severe wet rot decay. An external inspection revealed decking at the rear elevation which was significantly affecting sub-floor ventilation.
I advised that based on my findings it was likely that a chemical damp proof course many years ago with attendant re-plastering using a sand and cement system with added waterproof and salt retardant agents and although the system installed was largely controlling rising dampness and also that there was not a significant health risk to her should she move into the property and not have any damp proofing works carried out, if she was to sell the property (which she planned to do after a few years) she would likely have to deduct the cost of the works from the final amount that the property sold for.
We provided a fully documented report with a recommendation for a full damp proof course and re-plastering using our tanking membrane system and extensive timber replacement and sub-floor ventilation works, we also allowed for taking out the kitchen units and all bathroom fittings and re-fitting them on completion of the works. We started the works over the Christmas period and finished in Mid-January.
The client was very pleased with the quality of our works and has recommended us since had she not engaged us from the start she would not have been able to get the purchase price reduced to cover the cost of our works which was almost seven thousand pounds!