Sorry, this is a really long post, as there are a number of issues! We've lived in our house for just over a year. We knew there was a damp problem when we bought it, which we looked into and received reassurances that it would be fairly straight forward to resolve. However, since moving in and especially since the weather turned damp this autumn the problems seem to be much worse than we were aware. Unfortunately money is tight at the moment (I am about to go on maternity leave) so we can't afford to get the full work done at the moment. We fully intend to do this once I return to work and our income returns to normal, but until then, are there any inexpensive steps we can be taking to control the issues? I'll go through the initial advice we received on buying the property and then I'll explain what issues we are now having:
The surveyor said higher than normal damp readings were detected to the lower part of the wall in the hall.
A more detailed damp survey revealed:
“Evidence of an existing damp proof course was noted within some ground floor walls. On testing ground floor walls with a protimeter moisture meter testing device higher than normal moisture readings were obtained within all accessible ground floor walls within the front entrance, all ground floor walls within the living room, the rear dining room outer wall to the left and right hand sides of the patio doors.
The damp within the property has been caused by a bridged floor wall junction. This is where the existing wall plaster is coming in to contact with the solid floor.
An inspection was carried out to the guttering. Blocked guttering and defective leaking joints were noted causing water to cascade over the guttering. This will be contributing to the damp on the rear dining room outer wall.
I recommend for the following work to be carried out.
Remove the skirting boards to the entrance hallway and front living room. Remove 75mm of wall plaster to prevent bridging and inject a triton tri gell to the exposed brick work. Install new 5 inch MDF skirting boards to all walls within the front entrance and living room. The rear dining room plaster work to the left and right hand side of the patio doors will dry out when the gutters are gleaned out and re sealed.
Clean out and re seal the cast guttering to all elevations.”
Last winter we had some work done on the roof and also had the guttering cleaned out, re-sealed and re-painted, so hopefully that will solve the issue in the dining room. The reason we decided on this work first was because last autumn we started to get water streaming down the wall underneath the bay window in our bedroom (front of the house) and black mould growing on it. However, we've since discovered that this is a condensation problem. We're dealing with this at the moment by having a dehumidifier on at night during the colder months of the year. This helps keep the wall dry and I have cleaned the mould off with bleach, sealed the wall and re-painted it, which seems to be working at keeping the mould at bay.
However, the dehumidifier is not ideal as it really dehydrates us at night and we won't be able to have it on once our baby is born and sleeping in our room.
Downstairs – the corner of the hall where the two external walls meet is extremely damp and has black mould coming through the very thick wallpaper and also through the skirting board. We have also had mould growing on the back of the shoe cupboard we have in there. I am simply controlling this by cleaning with bleach every so often.
Living room – we have tide marks on the two internal walls and also on the wall underneath the bay window. Underneath the bay window is incredibly damp and this evening when cleaning out our son's toybox we discovered a large amount of mould growing in it because it has been in that area of the room. This is the first time it has been this bad since we moved in. We've just had to chuck the box out.
In addition to this, there is also a problem above the bay window. We re-painted this room last spring only to see that the paint above the bay window did not dry properly. So we sealed it and then repainted it. This seemed to do the trick until about 6-8 weeks ago (when the weather turned damp) and loads of very dirty damp marks have appeared right along the wall above the bay window. I'm not sure how this could be explained by what the damp survey said was the problem?
Upstairs – small bedroom above the hall, we've recently redecorated as this will be the baby's room. We discovered that the plaster on the wall above where the damp is in the hall, was hanging off the wall and very fragile – could this be caused by damp as well?
So my questions are:
What else can we do to prevent condensation in the main bedroom without having to use a dehumidifier? Is this at all linked to the other damp problems we are having? Why might we be having such bad problems with condensation in the front bedroom?
Is there anything we can do to control the damp levels in the hall and living room to prevent mould from developing and to stop the tide marks getting worse? Interestingly we have tried having the dehumidifier in both these rooms only for it to remove hardly any moisture.
Is the cause of the problem stated in the damp survey plausible? If so, what could be causing the issue with damp above the bay window? Again, is there anything we can be doing in the short-term about the damp above the bay window?
Longer term what recommendations can anyone make for resolving these issues once and for all. I thought about having a more detailed independent damp survey carried out before deciding on what to do – is this the best thing? How easy is it to actually identify what is causing the problems? Or is it a trial and error thing of getting work done, seeing if it works and then getting more work done?
the report stated that skirting boards need to be removed and replaced with mdf!, this is a no no MDF will absorb any moisture. If you can, remove the skirting under the bay window and chip off the plaster, 75mm like the report stated. Drill the wall and see how damp the drill bit is, check in different areas if its the same. If the damp is excessive, the plaster needs removing and a damp proof product needs installing to solve the problem, you can do this yourself and hire the equipment if you don't have it
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