Rising Damp? Myth?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in In My Home (includes DIY) MoneySaving
42 replies 58.4K views
Franks_2Franks_2 Forumite
4 Posts
We are in the process of buying a 3-bed semi detached which has solid floors downstairs/timber upstairs that has been surveyed by a RICS approved surveyor. This includes a detailed survey of all things related to the house. They go crazy on it!

One big thing that the house was pulled on was possible rising damp. (condition 3 which means urgent attention is needed)
The house is vacant property at the moment and has had no one living in it for the last 8 months (it's inheritance being sold off) so I'm dubious to the fact it is actual damp. The surveyor was aware that the property was vacant i.e. no central heating has been on and airflow via windows/doors has been minimal but still, I'm dubious.

I've searched the internet and I have seemed to uncover quite a few scare-stories of even RICS surveyors covering their own arses too highly and not even using their damp meters correctly (i.e. in walls when they only work correctly in skirts and timbers). Any sign of high moisture level and they urgently detail the house as having damp. This leaves the responsibility with the buyer/owner of getting in a "specialist" who 99% of the time WILL find "damp" as they won't have a job to go to if they didn't ;)

The ony issue I have is that the house has been recently re-docorated and re-wired so the wallpaper won't exactly be pealing off yet if there was indeed any legitimate rising-damp. The only advise from the RICS surveyor I had was High levels of moisure detected in skirting boards on main-walls and internal partitions, possible DPM failure. Seek further specialist services

Damp was found on the lower floor only.

Has anyone any advice who is in the trade and would having a solid floor be anymore trouble than that of a timber floor? I'd guess it would prove easier to sort as there is no timber to rot or decay.

Cheers!
«1345

Replies

  • GloomendoomGloomendoom Forumite
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    I think I'd be inclined to live in it for six months before doing anything.
  • ormusormus Forumite
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    there is no such thing as rising damp.
    many yrs ago, the building research establishment in watford, built a house and filled its cellar with water. and waited. and waited.
    6 months later, guess what? no damp walls.
    Get some gorm.
  • edited 10 June 2010 at 8:24PM
    mikey72mikey72 Forumite
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    edited 10 June 2010 at 8:24PM
    ormus wrote: »
    there is no such thing as rising damp.
    many yrs ago, the building research establishment in watford, built a house and filled its cellar with water. and waited. and waited.
    6 months later, guess what? no damp walls.

    They also sell a lot of books on how to treat rising damp, and the use of dpc's.
    eg

    http://www.brebookshop.com/details.jsp?id=287528

    I've had rising damp in a house I bought, treated it, it's gone away.
  • edited 10 June 2010 at 8:30PM
    garthdpgarthdp Forumite
    351 Posts
    edited 10 June 2010 at 8:30PM
    I had the same thing when I bought a 300 yr old cottage ten years ago
    I was told that remedial damp work up to the value of £7000 was required!!!A retention of that sum was placed on the mortgage in lieu of getting the work done which, as I did not have that kind of money to spare meant the sale was effectively off.I argued the toss with the mortgage co who eventually reluctantly gave in and lent us the money anyway.

    The cottage which had no DPC ( well they didnt use em in 1789) and was a holiday home and rarely used when we bought it was absoloutly fine once we started living in it and airing it etc.

    The cynic in me says these reports are just ways of one 'profession' providing another with access to your cash for no reason.
    garth;)
  • Dry_RotDry_Rot Forumite
    51 Posts
    I posted this onmy blog earlier in the week. May have a bearing...


    Rising damp is a myth, some say. Not many really think so; that would be stupid, but those who believe this nonsense seem to have the ear of the press and the ear of RIBA and RICS too.
    So instead of being drowned out by howls of derision from the those who really know about these things, they gain publicity and even a bit of notoriety too.
    Yet every day – yes every day, rising damp causes damage to our housing stock. It causes salting of brickwork, wet rot in floor joists bearing into affected walls, perishing plaster surfaces and even increases heat loss at the base of walls.


    Now then, you may disagree with me. Perhaps I’m just spouting an opinion too, like the ‘myth pushers’, but no, I state facts, facts proven time and again by me and importantly, by people who have really studied the phenomena scientifically.
    The internet is full of papers which detail various trials and careful studies done, in an effort to quantify the nature of the problem and analyse the effectiveness of treatments. They are being ignored.
    Who cares? Well we all should be worried, because when people read something in the papers they tend to believe it. If building preservation ‘experts’ generally agree on something and one or two of them suddenly start babbling an unsupported view, with no proper evidence, the papers like to publish it; conspiracy and corporate culpability sells so well.
    Unfortunately the readers get the information in an unbalanced way. They then become prey for all sorts of crackpot ways of dealing with their ‘mythical’ rising damp problems.
    As a result, I see people turning away from proven chemical damp-proof courses, just at the point when the technology of these systems has begun to deliver much better results. You see, chemical DPC’s have a bad press, because too many were installed improperly, by badly trained and sometimes quite iffy installers. Often no plastering was done, so the nitrate and chloride contaminated plaster just sat there; soaking up more humidity and the walls never dried out. Many DPC’s were installed for the wrong reasons; they can’t eliminate condensation or penetrating damp, or rising damp; if the cavity is blocked. This is not the fault of the material or proof that rising damp does not exist – it is the fault of the installer or the surveyor involved – or both.
    Now that we have better training and the advent of DryZone DPC injection cream, standards and success rates are far higher. This is good – but because of the bad and completely unjustified attacks on the whole premise that damp rises – customers are being bamboozled into trying unproven, unreliable and generally more expensive ‘cures’.
    So this is where the MMR scandal link is. The scandal was caused by poor and unproven opinion being disseminated as science fact. Before long, others jumped on the bandwagon and thousands of parents (many of the them middle class Sunday paper readers), decided that young Rupert and Felicity shouldn’t have the nasty jab. This directly caused the severe illness of many other children and eventually those who had promoted this were shown for what they were – the main doctor was struck off the medical register.
    In my opinion RIBA and RICS members who seem to support this current ‘myth’ nonsense should have a read of some proper evidence. As professionals we have a responsibility to give good advice to clients; advice based on facts; advice based on knowledge.
    Opinion is no substitute for fact; experience is no substitute for knowledge.


    Dry Rot.
  • ormusormus Forumite
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    thats not rising damp per se, its a faulty DPC and or poor construction.
    the main point is that all/most damp problems are caused by water ingress from outside.
    usually too high soil levels. or water entering the building from the roof/windows/cavity.
    Get some gorm.
  • GloomendoomGloomendoom Forumite
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    Dry_Rot wrote: »
    Many DPC’s were installed for the wrong reasons; they can’t eliminate condensation or penetrating damp, or rising damp; if the cavity is blocked.

    So they are totally useless on 3' to 4' thick solid stone walls built straight on the ground then?


    Thought so!
  • Damp can rise in masonry walls. Whether a particular property has "rising damp" is a matter of investigation of the specific evidence. Investigation will determine the most likely source of any damp over any other possiblity, and then the correct solution for the problem is devised. Many damp issues are mis-diagnosed leading to the wrong remedial work being done, and then to complaints that the treatment has failed, when in fact it was the wrong solution in the first place

    A moisture meter is a tool. It's readings are meaningless unless interpreted properly. It can be used on materials other than timber, as long as the user knows how to interpret the readings. However, more often than not, the tool is the one holding the meter!
  • 25rts25rts Forumite
    50 Posts
    ormus wrote: »
    there is no such thing as rising damp.
    many yrs ago, the building research establishment in watford, built a house and filled its cellar with water. and waited. and waited.
    6 months later, guess what? no damp walls.
    what about BRE digest 245?
  • 25rts25rts Forumite
    50 Posts
    Dear Franks


    Epoxy floor coatings are a good way of dealing with damp in solid ground floors as they are both waterproof and resistant to mechanical abrasion. Not all companies are dishonest but avoid 'free' surveys. Also ensure that the surveyor who attends the property at least has the industry recognised qualification CSRT and ideally CSSW as well.


    Keith
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