Can anyone help? I am going to buy a house that has a few problems. It is a Victorian terraced house, the front and back walls are very, very damp, plaster breaking down from top to ground floor. On the upper floor there is a small tree growing out of the wall! It appears that the guttering has been very clogged and overflowing for years. Also there has been a new roof which seems badly fitted (if that is the right expression) On the ground floor they have built a lean-to against the already damp walls. After all that my question is - how can I tell how bad it is? could it have effected the brickwork and can it be repaired without major expense????
Your Victorian brick terrace is likely to be of traditional non cavity construction. When this type of structure becomes damp it will stay inherently damp unless all contributing factors are addressed.
If you are unsure about the roof you need to instruct a suitably qualified professional to inspect it. All rainwater goods should be inspected and repaired where necessary, windows and doors should be checked for condition and security.
A "lean to" erected against on of the walls will significantly reduce this walls ability to fully dry out as it is the effects of wind and sun which carry away the moisture from the external face.
Once all external contributing factors have been addressed the building should be heated and ventilated thoroughly, all damp affected timber and plaster should be removed to aid in the drying process.
Any interstitial moisture trapped within the building fabric will hasten the buildings decline and present a poor quality living environment if left unaddressed.
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