Can someone help please re damp!!

Postby rubyloobs08 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:46 am

We bought our house 2 years ago last month, every winter (or around this time of year) we get really, REALLY bad damp in our "walk in wardrobe" the owner of the house before us had simply just put some shelves up on a wall and put doors there to make it a "walk in wardrobe" anyway, this is our only means of storage and so all of our clothes and bits and bobs are left in here.

Our house is on a corner and only attached to one other house (not sure what its called haha) anyway, the walk in wardrobe is up against the wall where we do not have the other house attached, and with it being on the corner, is very open!

Last year my partner cleaned all the damp off and painted it with some kind of paint which is specifically for keeping damp out?! anyway, this year, its returned again and all our clothes are starting to get wet and mouldy!

I am sick of this now, and its really getting to me, especially as its coming into our batroom ceiling too (thats on the same side wall too)

Is there ANYTHING you can recommend we do to get rid of this damp?

Is loft insulation and cavity wall insulaton any good for this type of thing? what else can you suggest? i know nothing about this kind of thing so would be very grateful for any reply!

thank you.
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Simply Build It

Postby j.orsi » Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:51 pm

One question: how old is your house; historic or new build? If it is new build then I suggest you need to ventilate the space. If it is historic, that is to say solid wall then don't try to seal it up as this will make the problem worse. Let it ventilate and breathe. Get back to me with more info on the constuction and by the way dont let any one sell you injected DPC, it does nothing.
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Postby stagbeetle » Mon Nov 29, 2010 3:03 pm

I have exactly the same problem with moisture on the wall in a 'built in' wardrobe which was constructed before we bought the house, but fairly recently considering the age of the house (120 years). The wardrobe is built to one side of a chimney breast (upstairs on an external wall) and goes floor to ceiling.
I was interested to know whether rubyloobs08 has managed to sort the problem and whether j.orsi has any further advice for me considering the information I have given?
I am considering making some holes in the top and bottom of the wardrobe and put a thermotube heater inside, which I'm hoping will move the air in the wardrobe.
I also have mould appearing in other parts of the house near the floor which I am hoping to get advice on and correct the problem asap. It is particularly bad in an understairs cupboard where the wall has been re-plastered with modern plaster.

Many thanks in advance for any further advice which can be given.
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Postby j.orsi » Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:08 pm

Dear Stagbeetle, I would suggest you have two problems; the ventilation issue which you are dealing with and moisture from the chimney stack. If a chimney is not heated through use then it becomes saturated with rain water or condensation. I have seen many attempts to seal it up all of which fail. If the fire places are not in use are they bloked up? if so they also need a vent for a through draft up the chimney. To understand damp better go on to the SPAB web site and watch the Damp video, it really is helpful in diagnosing the potential problems. I know I keep saying this, but if your builder or surveyour reccommends a damp proofing system or sealing up system don't do it as it will make the problem worse in the long term. Let me know how you get on.
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Postby stagbeetle » Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:41 pm

Dear j.orsi,
during the winter months (especially with the recent cold weather) we use the open fire most evenings which should dry it out. The dampness in question is on the back wall and not on the chimney breast.
Thank you for recommending the SPAB website; the video is both interesting and informative.
With regard to the damp in other areas, I have had a look around the base of the walls (outside) and the mortar in several places does not exist.
Am I correct in thinking that a house of this age would not have proper foundations and no damp course?
I havent carried out an exploratary dig to establish how far into the ground the bricks go but I suspect that much of the mortar in contact with soil will have disappeared.
I worry that if there are no foundations, exposing the brick work below ground level may cause structural problems.
Are the bricks placed directly onto soil if there are no foundations?

Many thanks.
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Postby j.orsi » Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:10 pm

Hi Stagbeatle,

Taking your points one at a time
If the damp is on the back wall of the chimney breast then this could be due to the salts being drawn up into the wall, or some form of impermeable material such as cement or paint, or another mechanism which I can not determin with out a lot of information. But, if the back wall is damp does it matter, especially if there is no wood near it to decay? Try taking a view.
If the brick mortar has totally erroded then I would think about repointing with a lime putty mortar (2.5 sharp sand 1 lime putty) Not during winter, see SPAB site, or pick up a pamphlet on the subject. this mortar will breathe and keep your building at equilibrium.
You are correct in thinking that many old houses have no foundations or damp course; this is quite normal and rarely ever a problem. Personally, I have never seen a case for remedial DPC and only once for underpinning, although I must point out (to protect my PI)that I am not a structural Engineer. Bricks on soil is very common in pre 1850 buildings. Never dig down below the last brick as that was the problem with the one house I conceeded to underpin! Do remember that rising damp is very rare, the damp you see at the base is there because it is a cold spot and moisture is more likely to sink than rise, so if you try and treat for rising damp then you could make the problem worse.
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