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Damp – FAQs

Questions commonly asked of our damp experts

Our damp experts have been working on damp problems in Yorkshire for 3 decades, listening to customer queries and concerns and offering advice and guidance along the way. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions they hear, and their expert answers – hopefully they’ll be of help to you too.

If you have a question you’d like to put to our damp experts, please feel free to send it over to us and we’ll get back to you with your answer, and add it to our FAQs section. Or, why not call and ask our helpful team? Leeds 265 2752 York 566577 or Sheffield 224 5121

Q: My Homebuyers report says the house I’m buying has ‘high damp meter readings’ is this important – I’ve been told that these meters are not accurate?

a range of electronic damp meters being compared

Some of our electronic moisture meters being benchmarked in our damp diagnosis lab

A: This is a common worry because the same ‘high’ readings in one material, may be considered ‘low’ in another. This is because electronic moisture meters are calibrated for timber and do not give specific moisture contents on plaster or masonry. Home buyer surveyors are generally well trained and experienced, so usually the comment will be well founded and further investigation is justified. Our three qualified specialist damp surveyors know their meters inside out and we use a variety of makes and models to suit every situation. It’s important that any specialist knows his kit and its limitations. This avoids misdiagnosis due to a meter over-reading, for example due to salt contamination or conductive wall surfaces. Our MD has writted a basic guide of electronic damp meters here.

Q: What is damp proofing?

A:  That’s a good question. Unfortunately the term has become firmly associated with installing chemical damp proof courses, when in fact it covers a much wider scope of work than that. ‘Damp proofing’ is very wide ranging term and can include very many treatment methods, all of which are suitable is some situations. It usually applies to installation of chemical damp courses, however, these only protect buildings effected by rising damp and of course there are many cases where damp is caused by other defects.

Anything which either cures or controls a damp problem can be termed ‘damp proofing’. For example; installation of a chemical damp proof course (for rising damp only), application of an external water repellent cream like StormDry (for penetrating damp), and even simple re-pointing or re-rendering, where the existing materials are defective. Our surveyors have had their knowledge of these methods validated by examination, through the Property Care Association, with each of them holding the national CSRT qualification.

Q: Do chemical damp courses work?

Dry Rod rods installed in Yorkshire

Safeguard’s revolutionary DryRod damp proofing system in use by Brick-Tie technicians in Yorkshire

A:  Yes, they have been proven over the last 35 years and recently refined with the advent of Dry Zone cream and DryRods, which take their effectiveness to another level. They’re independently tested by the British Board of Agremént too, for extra reassurance. Brick-Tie Preservation have installed thousands of these systems with very few problems over the years, so the evidance isn’t just theoretical – we’ve proven it.

However, like all methods, it’s vital to get the diagnosis right and the installation spot on too. Damp experts are made through hard work, study and experience. This is where surveyor’s qualifications and technician training come in. Our damp experts have been installing these advanced systems and guaranteeing them for 3 decades. Our installation technicians hold the relevant certifications, either via PCA, City and Guilds or, in many cases – both.

Q: How is rising damp diagnosed?

A: A range of methods can be used, including visual inspections and the use of calibrated electronic moisture meters. In skilled hands these are very reliable, and together with the surveyor’s knowledge and experience, they offer an accurate way of determining if rising damp is a likely cause. Advanced methods, which offer a more forensic approach, include gravimetric testing to BRE245, chemical ‘speedy’ meter tests and salt analysis are also available– all conducted by our experts and analysed in our own damp diagnosis lab. No matter what the situation, we have the in-house skills and equipment to research and correctly diagnose any damp related problem. How far we need to go depends on the situation and of course we don’t need to recommend such a deep forensic inspection every time. Most surveys do not involve lab work. If it is needed, we’ll tell you and provide a quote for that work – no obligation.

Q: Is the plastering really essential?

A: If rising damp is involved, unfortunately yes – it’s nearly always essential because of the presence of salts from the ground, which can keep the wall damp, even after a damp proof course has been installed. There are some exceptions, such as when there’s time to allow a wall to dry, so that any residual ‘hygroscopic moisture’ can be identified. We can check for salts type and distribution using plaster and masonry samples in our damp diagnosis lab before a decision is made – please enquire. Our expert damp surveyors will give you advice suited to site conditions and your specific needs. Sometimes, in cases where the rising damp is not too severe, an advanced DryRod system will reduce or eliminate the need for re-plastering, but this needs careful consideration and discussion beforehand.

Q: What causes penetrating damp?

A:  There’s no one single cause, but it’s often a problem with rainwater drainage, or a defect in the walls or pointing. Obvious gaps and holes will let rainwater in of course. However, a porous wall material can let rainwater straight in too, especially in solid walls which lack a cavity. Some cavity walls are prone to penetrating damp; particularly when the cavities are contaminated with debris or some forms of cavity wall insulation – a full damp survey will soon isolate the cause, so that it can be treated effectively. You can learn more about penetrating damp here.

Q: Will the damp course installation make a mess?

A:  As mentioned earlier damp proofing will often involve an element of plastering work. This means we need to remove the old material and this creates dust. We do our best to keep this to a minimum using dust sheeting and when possible, damping down and using dust suppression systems. We do all we can to minimise disruption to normal home life. Stairs are covered, we sweep up as we work and nothing is too much trouble for our team -please ask.

Q: I’ve got black mould on my wall – do I have a damp problem?

Mould stains which look like damp in South Yorkshire

If you have ‘damp’ which looks like this, it is unlikly to be caused by rising damp

A:  It’s unlikely that black mould is a result of rising or penetrating damp – you’re issue probably lies with condensation, and unless you identify and remove the source(s) of the problem, it will keep coming back! Our damp experts will easily be able to suggest the most cost-effective solution – just call us for a condensation, mould and humidity survey

Q: What are the common signs of damp?

A:  This varies depending on the type and severity, but you can get a good insight into spotting damp and what causes damp via the links below. These are a combination of blog posts by our boss Bryan Hindle CSRT CSSW and various Youtube videos on damp related subjects.

Of course we can’t list all the things you may want to know here – our team are skilled knowledgeble and friendly – why not call you local number to speak to us?

Leeds 265 2752 York 566577 or Sheffield 224 5121

Why condensation is the most common form of damp in houses now

Rising Damp for beginners – how serious is a rising damp diagnosis

Thermal imaging for damp diagnosis

There is a wide selection of video on all aspects of damp, timber defects and wall tis on our video page

To speak to a friendly and helpful team member call us now on  Leeds 265 2752 York 566577 or Sheffield 224 5121 or email us about damp via our contact page

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