Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • Semper
    • By Semper 2nd Aug 18, 12:12 AM
    • 9Posts
    • 1Thanks
    Semper
    Damp Proofing
    • #1
    • 2nd Aug 18, 12:12 AM
    Damp Proofing 2nd Aug 18 at 12:12 AM
    Good Evening,



    I've recently discovered fungus and dry rot in my home with new spores appearing on some of the joists (so I need to move quickly). Looked into 4 separate firms. One isn't available for another week (Peter Cox), one local is dragging their heels with a quote, one failed to show up and the final one has almost no online presence with only 3 positive feedback on My Builder.

    The latter one was a pleasant chap who came across as very professional and informative. He's also the only one who gave me a quote. He's offering a 30 year guarantee for his work. He quoted 2500 for the following:

    • All exterior walls to be drilled and injected along motorline
    • air bricks replaced or repaired
    • cavities checked for debris horizontal and vertical drilling.
    • Slabs to be sealed at front of the property where water ingress is evident (this is a sizeable 5ft by 5ft slab which is the main source of water into my cellar)
    • interior of the property walls to be drilled and injected in places pointed out on survey in both lounge and dining room (two bay windows, a 4ft section in one room and then another 15ft section in another)
    • attention to hallway wood with wood worm treatment
    • Wood treatment needed in cellar and room off cellar wall for dry rot and fungus
    • cellar to be DPC in places mentioned (this is along one wall, about 8ft and then another small room directly beneath the slab mentioned above).
    • Kitchen floor drilled and treated for !!!8216;rising salt!!!8217; by injecting membrane under stone tiles (they're the original from when the house was first built).
    • Treatment for fungus in cellar and kitchen
    • Damp proofing membrane in wall outside kitchen (roughly 4ft where rendering has fallen away and bricks have begun to rot - he did say this would only be a stop-gap until bricks etc repaired)
    • Adjust pipe outside so leading water away from base of house


    He offered to do the work associated with the cellar, which is my main concern, for 1400. He explained almost every bit of the work including his methods but he didn't mention any re-attachment of skirting boards or radiators or re-plastering etc. He also invited me to double check any concerns with the internet and has been fairly good at communication. I identified the damp and his 'damp meter/detector' confirmed it. He said that he didn't need to remove plaster etc as it would up the cost and he could deal with the issue by drilling instead. He said that the fungus and wood worm could be poisoned without excessive spraying. He took the time to look around the full base of the house, inspecting walls etc where he could.

    My house is a detached. It was built in the 1900's but had some modernisation work done in the early 90's. There's clearly sign of fungus and rot in the cellar ceiling (ceiling is the floor above) but the wood is still hard and the worst 'infection' seems to be purely masonry based at the moment and in the old wooden steps which have been removed.

    Basically i'm just looking for some advice. Does this quote seem fair and reasonable? Would you take the plunge and get it done?



    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by Semper; 02-08-2018 at 12:13 AM. Reason: Adding in space to truncate paragraphs better
Page 1
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 2nd Aug 18, 12:39 AM
    • 1,994 Posts
    • 2,834 Thanks
    FreeBear
    • #2
    • 2nd Aug 18, 12:39 AM
    • #2
    • 2nd Aug 18, 12:39 AM
    I identified the damp and his 'damp meter/detector' confirmed it.

    My house is a detached. It was built in the 1900's but had some modernisation work done in the early 90's.

    Would you take the plunge and get it done?
    Originally posted by Semper
    This "damp meter" - Was it one of those gadgets with sharp prongs that you poke in to the wall ?

    If so, be advised that they are only suitable for use on wood, not plaster, walls, bricks, or slabs. Things like salt content, paint (particularly old lead paint), and even the type of plaster all affect the readings given and can not be trusted.

    Chances are that the existing DPC is fine and you have damp problems caused by elevated ground levels, leaking gutters, or roof defects. On a turn of the century property, it is unlikely that you have a cavity (but there will be one on the extension), so drilling holes in the wall is not going to serve any purpose.

    Injecting a "membrane" under the tiles in the kitchen is possibly the worst thing to do - It will push moisture in to the walls causing further (expensive) problems in the future.

    The name "Peter Cox" sounded familiar.... https://www.heritage-house.org/damp-and-condensation/all-about-the-pca/peter-cox-damp-proofing.html

    Have a read of the Heritage House site, pop over to the Period Property forum, and then get an impartial survey & report done.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
    • Semper
    • By Semper 2nd Aug 18, 11:02 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Semper
    • #3
    • 2nd Aug 18, 11:02 AM
    • #3
    • 2nd Aug 18, 11:02 AM
    Hi and thanks for the information, it is helpful to have a second opinion. I'll post the same question on the forum.

    He did use a two pronged yellow device with a scale, the second expert used the same device in the same manner (both from separate companies). I am aware there's damp as in the winter there are clear wet marks on the walls. Two sections are near pipes, two others are not but there is definitely a minute slant away from the house, so if anything the house is probably raised?

    I'll give Peter Cox a cancel and I had some budget concerns anyway so leaving the floor and just continuing to polish it will be fine for now.

    I'm struggling to find an impartial surveyor in my area for a reasonable cost (I don't have the hundreds to get a survey and get the work done).
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 2nd Aug 18, 12:06 PM
    • 25,949 Posts
    • 70,166 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    • #4
    • 2nd Aug 18, 12:06 PM
    • #4
    • 2nd Aug 18, 12:06 PM
    I don't have a great deal of time at this very minute, but if the slab in the main source of ingress, the the slab needs to be removed, or at least cut right back away from the house! What the hell is sealing going to do? It's like putting a sticky plaster on a broken leg.

    The quote is ridiculous. They're just finding stuff to do that they like doing.

    What is the situation with air bricks? How many, are they clear, at what level to the ground etc?

    If you can post pictures of affected areas inside, pictures of the outside of your house etc then we can offer plenty of advice. All your pictures need some sort of context to them, though, so we can see how each picture corresponds to the next and understand where the problems are located.

    Don't act desperate with people. If someone isn't available for a week, it's pretty normal. People sitting around waiting for your call is not!
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 2nd Aug 18, 12:42 PM
    • 1,994 Posts
    • 2,834 Thanks
    FreeBear
    • #5
    • 2nd Aug 18, 12:42 PM
    • #5
    • 2nd Aug 18, 12:42 PM
    I am aware there's damp as in the winter there are clear wet marks on the walls. Two sections are near pipes,
    Originally posted by Semper
    If these are cold water or waste pipes, then damp around them in winter is not unexpected. The pipes will generate a cold spot on the wall, and moisture in the air will condense in the area - No amount of fancy waterproof render or plaster is going to cure that. Pipe insulation will go some way to minimising the problem and will only cost a pound or two (and it is something that you can do yourself).
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
    • Semper
    • By Semper 2nd Aug 18, 1:14 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Semper
    • #6
    • 2nd Aug 18, 1:14 PM
    • #6
    • 2nd Aug 18, 1:14 PM
    @Doozergirl, I will acquire some pictures after work this evening. Thank you for the insight.

    @FreeBear. Apologies, I may have mis-represented that specific situation. The main areas where I have found the water marks in the winter are below a gutter (perhaps 18ft or so) on one side.

    On the other the water is rising up from where a gutter pipe ends, letting water out (it runs onto the ground with no pathway made so it can and does end up at the base of the wall that has the damp). I have a pipe to direct the water away in this second area.

    My biggest concern is the fungus and rot in the cellar. I simply don't have the budget to replace a floor and get a ton of DCP work done and as the rot hasn't progressed I am hoping to get it tackled before it does and I have to replace the floor. Again, thank you both. I'll grab some pictures and post them with context tonight. I really am grateful as i'm completely out of my league and too swamped with a myriad of responsibilities to get to grips with this without the kind of insight you're providing.
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 2nd Aug 18, 2:40 PM
    • 1,994 Posts
    • 2,834 Thanks
    FreeBear
    • #7
    • 2nd Aug 18, 2:40 PM
    • #7
    • 2nd Aug 18, 2:40 PM
    The main areas where I have found the water marks in the winter are below a gutter (perhaps 18ft or so) on one side.

    On the other the water is rising up from where a gutter pipe ends, letting water out (it runs onto the ground with no pathway made so it can and does end up at the base of the wall that has the damp). I have a pipe to direct the water away in this second area.
    Originally posted by Semper
    Sounds like the downpipe is blocked, as is the underground drain & soakaway. There may well be a leak on the gutter as well - If none of these are fixed, any remedial action taken inside the house will be wasted.

    Get someone in to clean the guttering & downpipes (do all of it to be on the safe side). Locate the soakaway, and try to identify if it is full of debris. Use drain rods to clear out the pipe leading to the soakaway. Worst case, you will need to dig out and replace the soakaway and drain pipes.

    Once drainage is sorted out, give the house a chance to dry out and then look to see where any remaining damp is located - There is a good chance that it is the result of relatively small problems outside that can be fixed without spending huge amounts of money.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
    • Semper
    • By Semper 3rd Aug 18, 10:47 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Semper
    • #8
    • 3rd Aug 18, 10:47 AM
    • #8
    • 3rd Aug 18, 10:47 AM
    Hi,

    I tried to post some images and links but it will not allow me as i'm too new a user.
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 3rd Aug 18, 11:49 AM
    • 1,994 Posts
    • 2,834 Thanks
    FreeBear
    • #9
    • 3rd Aug 18, 11:49 AM
    • #9
    • 3rd Aug 18, 11:49 AM
    I tried to post some images and links but it will not allow me as i'm too new a user.
    Originally posted by Semper
    From a PM sent to me, the images in question.
    Some images.



    This is Wall A (starting from the left, under the black gutter at the top). The internal signs of damp appear from about 2/3'ds the way down this wall, to Corner A and into bay window A, round to corner A2 which resides next to the front door.

    This is Wall A internally, with an example of a power socket I am avoiding use of (socket A), this is in the internal of corner A.

    There are no signs of damp there at the moment but when it rains heavily I can clearly see dark, damp patches appear a long the dado rail and coming up from the ground near corner A and half way down near plug socket A2.

    There is no sign of damp in the cellar beneath Wall A, in fact it appears to be solid ground; however, Wall A also connects to the kitchen floor.

    (I didn't get the best photo)

    This is external, corner B.


    As you can see, corner B has a pipe ending right at it's base and it's not directed away, with spaces in the stones nearby, seemingly allowing water ingress. I have a piece of pipe to put at the bottom to direct the water away, I have not installed it yet as more than one proofer has said it wouldn't do nothing, but it wouldn't fix the issue.
    This is corner B internally.

    Aside from the wall feeling damp after rain, there is no sign of damp at ground level internally. My decorator discovered the damp feeling wall and decorated around it for me for now.

    This is internal of corner B from the cellar below. The 'ceiling/floor' in this corner has fallen in (a space about 2ft square). I fudged the photos but will get more.

    This is the air brick from the cellar. It is completely blocked.

    There is a mossy fungus growing beside it.

    This is the aforementioned stone slab.

    In the fore of the picture, to the left of the door is corner A2 to give you some bearing. As you can see, from the top, the slab appears to be cracked on the far side of it.
    This is the slab from the cellar...


    This is the ceiling of the tight hallway leading to the slab..

    As you can see, lots of water condensation. In winter, if it's raining, I can go towards the slab and clearly see drops on it, leading me to believe the slab is leaking in.

    These are some general shots of the cellar.





    by Semper
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 3rd Aug 18, 12:07 PM
    • 1,994 Posts
    • 2,834 Thanks
    FreeBear
    If you look to the right of the drain pipe, there appears to be a mortar joint at ground level that is thicker than the others - I suspect this is the DPC. The pavers under the down pipe should be removed and then you need to dig down between 100mm & 150mm. The air brick(s) certainly needs unblocking as this provides ventilation in the cellar.

    The slab you referred to in your original post - No amount of sealing will stop condensation forming on the underside. In the winter, it is going to be very cold and water will naturally condense on it. There may be some water penetrating around the edges, but it would have a tendency to run down the walls and wouldn't form droplets in the middle. Putting some insulation up along with a vapour control membrane would go a long way to reducing condensation on the underside of the slab.

    I would recommend getting the air bricks unblocked, the down pipe, drainage, and guttering sorted as a priority, then look at resolving the root causes of damp. No point in wasting money on expensive "cures" without fixing the sources.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
    • Semper
    • By Semper 3rd Aug 18, 4:28 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Semper
    Thank you for posting and giving me some insight. I've got an independent surveyor coming around in the middle of next week as they've agreed to give me a verbal report for 90, which isn't a desired cost but it's something I can accommodate and they said I can use a voice recorder.



    In regards to the first part, digging 100-150mm down, when i've dug, should I be putting in a new DPC? There is a black DPC sheet (in the last pipe picture, in the top right corner you can just spy it between the bricks).
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 3rd Aug 18, 10:44 PM
    • 25,949 Posts
    • 70,166 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    No. Your ground is too close to the DPC. You're digging away to give it space to stop it from being breached by water. Stop talking about DPCs, there is nothing wrong with it. You have maintenance issues that are breaching it, you have condensation and potential rot in your cellar because it is a naturally damp environment (and so it should be) but no ventilation, meaning it is trapped and your guttering is blocked causing water to come straight down the walls.

    Imagine a DPC being like a raincoat. If it's raining, you're going to be dry where you're covered. If someone was simply chucking buckets of water right at your face, you wouldn't need a new raincoat, you'd need the person to stop throwing water in your face. Raincoats are expensive and no number of raincoats is going to solve that problem.

    Everything that freebear says is exactly what I was thinking.

    You appear to have plants growing out of your guttering - get it cleared!

    The airbricks are blocked - clear them!

    They are basic maintenance issues and nearly always the culprit. Next time, don't leave it so long. A stitch in time saves nine.

    People who sell DPCs are going to sell you a DPC. This is life. It doesn't matter if you need one. They've no interest in unblocking gutters or airbricks. They'll leave you with an injected DPC and a rendered walls to block the damp, not prevent it occuring in the first place. It's snake oil.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Semper
    • By Semper 3rd Aug 18, 11:33 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Semper
    Hi Doozergirl. Thanks. I've actually not had the house for long and the circumstances by which it came into my possession are not wholly within my control but for the same reason, i'm trying to keep it up on a limited budget.

    I've spoken to a friend to do the guttering (i'm not the biggest fan of heights and don't have the ladders, plus he'll do it for a pint) and i'm hoping they'll get onto that next weekend. As for the rest, i'll see what the independent surveyor says as they'll obviously be able to get there in person and inspect it all up close and personal but i'm quite trusting of yourself and Freebear as you've no stake in selling me some DPC and you've very kindly taken the time out to give me advice.

    Thanks. I'll post an update when one comes.
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 3rd Aug 18, 11:59 PM
    • 1,994 Posts
    • 2,834 Thanks
    FreeBear
    I've actually not had the house for long and the circumstances by which it came into my possession are not wholly within my control but for the same reason, i'm trying to keep it up on a limited budget.

    I've spoken to a friend to do the guttering
    Originally posted by Semper
    Lemme guess - You inherited the property after a recent death in the family ?

    If so, you are in the same boat as me trying to fix "stuff" after years of neglect and a zero budget. I'm also attempting to cure a damp wall, and after hacking out half a dozen bricks from the outside, have removed a wheelbarrow full of damp sand and building rubble - No amount of injected DPC and waterproof plaster would have fixed this. Cleaning out the cavity also gives me opportunity to fit a couple of air bricks to improve the underfloor ventilation. Cost so far - less than 50.

    Cleaning out the gutters was a zero cost job for me. You will find it worthwhile taking the bends off to check that they are not blocked with moss, leaves, or dead birds.

    Do the no cost & low cost tasks first, let things dry out, and then consider the more expensive works. Feel free to ask for advice, and we will steer you away from the snake oil & point you in the direction of long term fixes.

    Dozergirl has already commented on the damp & mold in the cellar - Once the ventilation is fixed, the mold should disappear. It will never be totally bone dry down there, but still good enough to store wine
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
    • Semper
    • By Semper 10th Aug 18, 11:53 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Semper
    It was a sad situation whereby the property was in such a state the previous owner would have lost tens of thousands of the equity and I took it on to try and repair it as best possible to preserve as much of the equity as possible. So far the value has gone up twice what i've spent but it's a house that's been in the family for a while so we've no intention to sell in our lifetimes at least.

    Update

    Had an independent surveyor come round. They tested the area, looked into the cavity wall and gave me a fairly comprehensive history lesson on the construction of my home (or at least houses of its era), the materials used and the various things that meant.

    His comments were:

    - Get the gutter cleared to the side, near the alley

    - Put the pipe bend in at the front of the house

    - Get the airing bricks sorted out

    - Tear down as much of the plaster ceiling in the cellar as possible to check for rot and to allow wood to breathe

    - Get my own moisture reader and keep a check on the wood
    - He said the stone slab was always going to have condensation on it and that unless i've very clear evidence of it leaking, I shouldn't take much action. He said it could be sealed on the base but that this would only be a weak stop-gap and probably wouldn't be worth the time/cost.

    - If possible, make sure joists are not on any stone etc and on metal instead. He found some were already laid in this manner.

    - He couldn't see anything he felt was dry rot at this stage and he gave me some ways to check anything I find (namely sending off samples to local labs). He did confirm the conditions were optimum for dry rot at present and that there was definitely wet rot in some of the wood but overall it was still in ok condition all things considered.

    - He recommended using Boron supplements to assist with preserving the worst effected wood
    - He gave some clear descriptions of the various rots

    - He found signs of weavil infestation

    - He recommended against having any of the walls injected
    - He recommended against having the kitchen floor injected
    - He recommended against injecting any of the walls in the cellar as they're below ground and it'd be largely useless, he said I could inject above the cellar walls as that may help but he said it wouldn't be the optimum use of the substance. He did say I could tank if I intended to use the cellar for anything substantial (I don't).





    He said cellars in the area are often very damp and in some cases have laying water he will have to wade through but even if there's that level of water, it doesn't mean there'll be rot if there's still good ventilation.



    In his opinion, due to the age of construction of the house, there's likely to be plenty of humidity and damp patches because it's semi-modernised but also retains it's original rear wall. He said if I wanted to fix it all properly, I needed to tear all the plaster off inside and put a membrane over the inner brick wall first before re-plastering and re-decorating. Then i'd need to render with lyme on the outside. He said that the leaks etc he's seen so far will be unsightly cosmetically but should not cause any major damage for several decades. He said if I have budget restraints, then airing the cellar, clearing it out and making sure the moisture in the wood drops should be my number 1 priority as everything else is fairly (if not cosmetically displeasing) and only a true threat to the decorating.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 10th Aug 18, 1:57 PM
    • 25,949 Posts
    • 70,166 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    Brilliant. You got the right person in!

    All common sense once you understand how buildings work.

    A bit of maintenance and a chance to breathe is what older houses need.

    Great news that there's no major damage to rectify as well.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • busbybuilders
    • By busbybuilders 13th Sep 18, 11:10 AM
    • 7 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    busbybuilders
    Well that survey was going great guns until he mentioned a plastic membrane under the plaster. No, no no. No plastic in old houses PLEASE.
    Doozergirl. I think I'm in 😍 😁
    • Robby1988
    • By Robby1988 17th Sep 18, 9:35 PM
    • 76 Posts
    • 35 Thanks
    Robby1988
    Enjoyed reading this thread.

    The OP has saved themselves thousands of pounds in predictably pointless damp proofiing treatments (and vandalism to their property in the form of drill holes) just by doing their own bit of research and getting the right person in.

    These damp proofing outfits could really do with some real high profile exposure, the extent of the fraud going on out there is a disgrace and our old housing stock is suffering for it.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

2,612Posts Today

7,825Users online

Martin's Twitter