odd smells from under floorboards

We've moved to a detached house, it was done up after been empty for years.
There's a kind of damp smell (sometimes like cheap paint) from under the floorboards. We know there seems to be a lot of old plaster under the boards, would getting the boards up and removing all the rubble reduce the smell?
The ventilation is good, we can smell if the neighbour had a fag in his garage, could the damp smell be coming from his garage (it is a bit niffy).
Bad smells drive me crazy so any advice would be great.
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Replies

  • JnelhamsJnelhams Forumite
    1.4K Posts
    Did you have a Full Structural Survey or a Homebuyers report?

    I would firstly see if you can get the a corgi plumber to check for a leak, as it may be gas or a dodgy central heating pipe you are smelling

    If you had a full structural anything dodgy like this would be on it. It is worth contacting a couple of damp cure companies in the phone book for them to come and have a peak, because what you can smell could be bad for your health long term but can be cured for a couple of hundred quid.

    It could also be dead mice if someone has recently used rodent killer.

    I would clear any excessive amounts of rubbish that are reducing airflow and make sure that all the airbricks around the outside of the house are clear and free of blockages. (These are the little bricks with all the holes in!, they should be about every 4-6ft around the outside)
    My Mind wanders, if found please return.
  • quietheartquietheart Forumite
    1.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Yes we did have a full survey. The sellers also had a damp report done, replaced some joists etc and we've had all the airbricks replaced. I did wonder about getting the heating pipes checked so will be on the lookout for a Corgi engineer.
    Thanks for your advice.
  • economisereconomiser Forumite
    897 Posts
    Do you notice the smell without the floorboards up? I have a dank smell if I lift floorboards but there is nothing untoward under the floor, dry as a bone. I also have debris under the floor and have cleared out what I can over the years but it hasn't made any difference.

    I can't understand how you can smell cigarette smoke from your neighbours garage if you have a detached house?

    A heating leak will not smell any different from any other water leak, I wouldn't get a Corgi man to check for a leak (expensive!). I would have thought your damp check would have noticed a leak.

    You can check for a heating leak by tying up the ball valve and watching for a drop in water level if you have a header tank or watching for a pressure loss if you have a sealed system.
  • robowenrobowen Forumite
    3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Heres a previous post I made. I'm too tired to type tonight !

    "Smells are difficult to track down as different people smell differnt things.
    We had a bad fishy smell, it was coming from between the centre of the lounge and mostly the door. We thought for a long time, that it was coming from in between the concrete flooring, at the seams, concrete is put down in slabs and we thought it was coming up in between slabs.
    Turned out to be a light fitting and not water between the concrete. when bakerlite gets hot it can smell.......it was a cheap tatty light made in china
    :doh:
    If only everything in life was as reliable...AS ME !!
    robowen 5/6/2005©

    ''Never take an idiot anywhere with you. You'll always find one when you get there.''
  • quietheartquietheart Forumite
    1.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    economiser wrote: »
    Do you notice the smell without the floorboards up? I have a dank smell if I lift floorboards but there is nothing untoward under the floor, dry as a bone. I also have debris under the floor and have cleared out what I can over the years but it hasn't made any difference.

    I can't understand how you can smell cigarette smoke from your neighbours garage if you have a detached house?

    A heating leak will not smell any different from any other water leak, I wouldn't get a Corgi man to check for a leak (expensive!). I would have thought your damp check would have noticed a leak.

    You can check for a heating leak by tying up the ball valve and watching for a drop in water level if you have a header tank or watching for a pressure loss if you have a sealed system.
    Hello Economiser, it's a link detached house so the garage/lean to where he smokes is next to our airbricks.
    This smell isn't when the floorboards are lifted, i can smell it all the time (sensitive snout unfortunately) OH can smell it when down by the skirting boards. The dampman thought it was condensation but we've improved ventilation and the smell hasn't improved.
    We have a combi boiler and there's no dip in pressure, what if it's just a small long term leak, would that affect the pressure?
    I'm starting to bore myself now so will leave you in peace. Goodnight.
  • pboaepboae Forumite
    2.7K Posts
    Your description could be loads of things, but it could be dry rot. You can get a specialist firm in to do a report, it should be less then £100, if it is dry rot they should recognise the smell instantly.

    Wet rot also has a smell, but it isn't as strong and it is more like something rotten than something mouldy. Hmm describing smells doesn't really work.
    When I had my loft converted back into a loft, the neighbours came around and scoffed, and called me retro.
  • quietheartquietheart Forumite
    1.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    We had a specialist firm back as they did a report prior to our purchase. They just recommending increasing ventilation. They would've spotted dry rot I think. I've smelt dry rot and it's very strong so hopefully it's not that one....
    There was some wet rot but the joists have now been replaced.
    We might need to get them out for a more thorough survey though as we can't seem to find any answers ourselves.
  • never_enoughnever_enough Forumite
    1.5K Posts
    I had a problem a little like this in a ground floor flat. Rubble had been left under the floorboards, probably from the conversion 30 years before. Some of it was in front of airbricks (but not blocking them) & ontop of wooden joisty supporting things. Water managed to get in, ended up rotting some of the joist supports, was a big hassle. We took all the boards up, emptied a skip full of rubbish (:mad: ) & treated all the wood. Took some time to dry out but the differance was huge.
  • economisereconomiser Forumite
    897 Posts
    If the combi boiler pressure is not visibly dropping then then any leak would be too small to cause any problems. I don't think its a leak problem and as you say your survey should have picked up any wet or rot problems. How long have you had the problem? Is it everywhere or in one particular place?

    We had a bad smell at one time which we could not trace which eventually went. Years later we found a dessicated squirrel under the floor!
  • quietheartquietheart Forumite
    1.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    The main smell is in the lounge. The front room smelt damp but that's improved since we had the sodden chimney removed a few weeks ago. There's also an odd smell in the bedrooms so that's why we think it could be old plaster. The whole house was replastered and we know it was all done on the cheap so skips were probably not considered necessary.....
    Thanks neverenough, it makes me feel i should get a damp expert in for a proper look, get the rubble out and hope for the best. It'll just be such a hassle to get all the carpets and floorboards up. Every room has a bit of an odd smell. This could take some time I guess.
    Economiser, the previous owner of the house died over 2 years ago so the house smelt stale at first but i thought it go when it warmed up. We're 7 months on now and it's still niffy. Smells really affect me whereas DH barely notices them. Thanks for all the advice, it's greatly appreciated!
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