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    First Time Buyer - Damp witnessed in new house
    • #1
    • 17th May 19, 7:34 AM
    First Time Buyer - Damp witnessed in new house 17th May 19 at 7:34 AM
    I'm currently in the process of buying my first house and found a lovely 1900 3 bedroom within my budget. As I walked around on the viewing I didn't see any major signs of damp (just some mold in the bathroom I suspected was from condensation as there isn't a lot of ventilation in there). My offer was accepted 1000 below the asking. I had my home buyers report which showed some low level damp on one of the downstairs living room walls (but the surveyor told me over the phone it wasn't a terribly high reading) and a potential problem with the roof which was causing penetrative damp upstairs. Initially I wasn't concerned about the damp downstairs as I know older houses will have some damp, but I did get a roofer in to check the roof for me. Good news! The roof was absolutely fine, but as I go back downstairs and go into the living room to see the estate agent I notice the wall the surveyor mentioned looks terrible. There were definite wet patches with paint and plaster crumbling off, starting at the bottom of the wall, worse behind the radiator but also up the wall to about my height. I don't know a lot about damp so the EA is going to ask the seller if they are aware of the problem because it definitely was not that bad when I visited, I would have noticed it. When I visited, it just looked like a normal, painted wall. I am also going to get an independent specialist to do a damp and timber survey (they don't do any damp proofing themselves and it's costing me 250 so hopefully they won't over exaggerate problems). But I have some concerns, that I would like some advice on. Firstly, if the damp damage is extensive, I would definitely need to renegotiate on price, however the surveyor still valued the property at what I'm offering. How likely is it that I would get a renegotiation, based on your own experiences? Secondly, the flooring is laminate flooring, how does a specialist check for damp in the floor under laminate? I would be concerned about buying if they tell me the damp in the wall is extensive, but they can't check the floor. I'm gutted because I love the house so much and everything else is perfect, but from what I've seen online, damp can be a biggy
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    • Browntoa
    • By Browntoa 17th May 19, 7:38 AM
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    • #2
    • 17th May 19, 7:38 AM
    • #2
    • 17th May 19, 7:38 AM
    Laminate flooring would warp if damp

    Could be something as simple as a leaking gutter or downpipe on the outside wall
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    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 17th May 19, 7:46 AM
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    • #3
    • 17th May 19, 7:46 AM
    • #3
    • 17th May 19, 7:46 AM
    You don't really need to look under the flooring. The evidence is there on the wall so you've looking for the source, rather than symptoms.

    What's on the other side of the wall? If it's an outside wall, it's where you'll find the source.

    I don't think renegotiation is much of an issue if the surveyor missed it entirely.

    Don't have an injected DPC, please. It can almost certainly be remedied without it. They don't actually work, they just disguise the problem and rarely even address the source. If you don't want to get wet, it's stupid to put a raincoat on and stand under a shower. You'd turn the shower off.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 17-05-2019 at 7:52 AM.
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    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 17th May 19, 7:50 AM
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    • #4
    • 17th May 19, 7:50 AM
    • #4
    • 17th May 19, 7:50 AM
    Check the outside gutters? Damproof course maybe ? You cant buy a 1900 house without expecting issues and to spend money on maintenance continually. I had one once. As a reaction bought a newbuild. Which had equal maintenance problems
    Please dont criticise my spelling. It's excellent. Its my typing that's bad.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 17th May 19, 8:04 AM
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    • #5
    • 17th May 19, 8:04 AM
    • #5
    • 17th May 19, 8:04 AM
    Water goes downwards. So start by looking at or above where you're seeing the evidence. I'll bet the cause is fairly obvious.

    If the surveyor says "This is a problem. The value is <agreed price>" then he's taking that problem into account in the value - if the problem wasn't there, it'd be worth more.

    BTW - your title is misleading. It's not a new house. It's an old one.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 17th May 19, 8:57 AM
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    • #6
    • 17th May 19, 8:57 AM
    • #6
    • 17th May 19, 8:57 AM
    Water goes downwards. So start by looking at or above where you're seeing the evidence. I'll bet the cause is fairly obvious.
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    Misleading. It can come from below too and most circumstances I've seen where people haven't fixed it, it's below.

    If this does go high up the wall in patches it probably
    Is penetrating from poor pointing/leaky gutters. Always good to check during rain - if the wall isn't obviously wet or growing with green moss etc.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 17th May 19, 8:59 AM
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    • #7
    • 17th May 19, 8:59 AM
    • #7
    • 17th May 19, 8:59 AM
    Anti-gravity water. Interesting concept.

    Is this the mythical "rising damp"?
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 17th May 19, 9:19 AM
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    Doozergirl
    • #8
    • 17th May 19, 9:19 AM
    • #8
    • 17th May 19, 9:19 AM
    Anti-gravity water. Interesting concept.

    Is this the mythical "rising damp"?
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    Sorry, does the ground suddenly not get wet in this country?

    How long have you been renovating and restoring period houses for? I've been doing it for 20 years and I've seen it all, first hand, had to deal with it and then had long enough to know what returns and why.

    The myth of rising damp is that it magically sucks up from seemingly dry ground and breaks through existing DPCs - surveyors/salespeople use the common phrase "the damp proof course has failed" and can apparently only be stopped by chemical injections. The "myth" isn't around the simple fact that water will find its way into a period house from the ground - it does - it's about making sure it isn't getting in where it shouldn't and that the house is allowed to deal with it in the way it was designed to - through breathing.

    If the DPC is physically breached, the dampness does spread through plaster, which is why we don't plaster down to the floor. It also draws through lime mortar - it's supposed to draw out of the house rather than in. It will also draw through original floors, because they're natural materials. Where cementous mortar is used in old houses, soft bricks end up acting in place of the mortar when they're subjected to a soaking - which may be from above, but equally can be at ground level.

    You're absolutely wrong to draw a link between the 'myth' of rising damp and the simple fact that houses do suffer from water ingress at ground level and it isn't always associated with maintenance problems above - from direct experience, it's more often maintenance problems below.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 17-05-2019 at 9:31 AM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 17th May 19, 10:37 AM
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    • #9
    • 17th May 19, 10:37 AM
    • #9
    • 17th May 19, 10:37 AM
    You're absolutely wrong to draw a link between the 'myth' of rising damp and the simple fact that houses do suffer from water ingress at ground level and it isn't always associated with maintenance problems above - from direct experience, it's more often maintenance problems below.
    Originally posted by Doozergirl

    Yup. I had a wall suffering from "rising damp". Not because the DPC had failed, simply the cavity was full of building debris. No amount of chemical injections and waterproof plaster would have fixed the problem. Removing a couple of bricks and clearing out the cavity did, and it only cost me a few hours work and a bag of lime. Rising damp does exist, but it is no where near as common as some would have you believe.


    If the OP is looking at damp around head height, then it certainly won't be rising damp - Much more likely to be an issue with a downpipe. If this is a solid brick wall (most likely on a 1900s property), please use lime mortar for repointing and a lime plaster internally.
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    • SG27
    • By SG27 17th May 19, 11:40 AM
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    SG27
    Sounds like the owners may have covered up the damp with a bit of paint but it has now re appeared. How long between the surveyor visiting and you subsequently visiting? If that wall didnt look like that the first time it would indicate a major problem. Leaking pipe possibly?
    • Albala
    • By Albala 17th May 19, 6:00 PM
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    Albala
    Sounds like the owners may have covered up the damp with a bit of paint but it has now re appeared. How long between the surveyor visiting and you subsequently visiting? If that wall didnt look like that the first time it would indicate a major problem. Leaking pipe possibly?
    Originally posted by SG27
    Or even a small leak becoming a larger one....but it dos sound more like a leak, if it can worsen so much in such a short time.
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