Damp course failed yet again


Postby Anxiety » Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:01 pm

Three years ago the company who originally treated my home with a damp proof course came back after an inspection confirmed rising damp. They removed all skirting boards (despite me just having redecorated) and I had to cover the cost of redecoration (they told me that was my responsibility.

Now once again, rising damp has returned but it is now throughout the gound floor of my home. All skirting boards and wooden frames in the kitchen and living room have gone rotten. The firm are coming to investigate once agin and I would like to find out before they arrive who is responsible for the cost of redecoration if the damp proof course has failed yet again. It seems unfair that I have to pay for redecorating when the couse the company originally injected has failed...redecorating is prooving very expensive and I am disabled and unable to carry out redecorating myself :(
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Postby stoneyboy » Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:31 pm

Anxiety,
You need to look carefully at the guarantee the firm gave you in the first place, this will spell out what is or is not covered.
end
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Postby Perry525 » Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:02 pm

Unfortunately the integrity of a chemical damp proof course is down to the person who installs it and their understanding of whats required.
After two tries at getting it right, I wonder if they are capable of doing the job.
Have a word with your Citizens Advice Bureau to see what your position is in Law.
You may be able to reclaim the money you have spent as the work is obviously not satisfactory.
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Postby Anxiety » Sun Dec 21, 2008 6:36 pm

Thanks Stoneyboy and Perry.

The original damp proof course was put in in 1992 and was paid for by the original owner...it is guaranteed for 30 years. The guarantee doesn't mention anything other than they will redo the damp proof if necessary...no mention of redecoration.

I will contact the CAB tomorrow if I can. I know they are only open on certain days and there isn't one in my area. With it being near xmas i'm not sure when I will get an appointment :(
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Postby Perry525 » Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:36 pm

Would you say that the original dpc worked?
Or did it never work?
At the time the original dpc was inserted, there seemed to be little understanding of what exactly rising damp was.
Installers tended to think that it wouldn't really work and knocked the plaster off the walls to a height of at least four feet and used a water proof cement based render and skim coat.
Now we understand that the damp rises via the air bubbles that are mixed into the mortar and chemical creams are the favorite choice.
The cream being inserted in the mortar between the bricks.
Is it possible that the dpc was inserted too high in the wall, leaving a row or two of bricks below the chemical dpc, thereby leaving the skirting board area damp?
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Postby the specialist » Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:36 am

Hi, one of the main reasons that damproof course failure seems to be the cause of ongoing problems is that it was not required in the first place - in other words wrong diagnosis!
I have several questions for you
1. Has the property got cavity walls.
2. Are the external ground levels lower than the internal floor levels.
3. Has the property got solid floors or timber suspended floors.

I could go on but these first questions often solve the problem.

If there is a cavity wall which is full of debris at the bottom this will bridge the two leaves of the wall and compromise the dpc.

Again if the external ground levels are above the internal floor levels then again the dpc is compromised.

The latter question re: solid floors is actually the most common reason for continuing damp problems at the base of the walls.

Where the bottom of the wall meets the floor is called the wall to floor junction/joint.

Quite often where the two meet is a gap. You may be able to push a screwdriver down between the base of the wall and the floor. This especially common in properties which have had a new screed or asphalt layer applied. This is often done whilst leaving the existing timber skirting boards in tact - which causes them to rot. Simply replacing the skirting boards can not solve the problem. It is essential to seal the wall to floor joint with a polymer modified cement based product which is water repellant and also has some flexibility to avoid cracking due to the differential movement experienced in all buildings due to climate and temperature changes.

Hope this helps - if not please advise.

A
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Postby TheDoctor5 » Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:56 am

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Postby consumer246 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:31 pm

Guarantees around damp work usually exclude redecoration, but you still have legal rights in contract law. Everyone is taken in by guarantees and think that they are stuck - not so!
I am in a similar position as you but have a bit of legal knowledge and so approached a lawyer who confirmed that I was correct. We are now running a case to claim all foreseeable consequential losses and there are no obvious barriers to success at the moment..although individual circumstances may differ. Whatever the contractor says about the guarantee, they cannot exclude you rights under common law or Statute. Your legal rights provide an avenue to recover appropriate losses, providing the case can be proven, of course. Post a message if you are interested in pursuing this ... maybe my lawyer would assess whether the case could be done on "no win, no fee" and assess the chances of success without further cost to you...you would need to contact them. Don't worry about the guarantee - it's not the be all and end all. But time is of the essence.
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