Rule 2: treat cause

Damp proofing fails to treat cause, why?

treat cause not symptomsTo treat a broken wrist, support the bone.
treat causes of dampIf you run out of fuel, refill the tank.
If water is a problem, stop the flow.
dont hide with chemicalsDon’t hide damp with chemicals. Decay continues.

FACT: damp contractors aren’t motivated to treat cause of damp.

WHY: because identifying the cause of damp requires expert skill, experience and takes longer than fixing it. Rising damp is virtually impossible in London, because water is pumped out of the ground, check if you are vulnerable.

95{f898b7ccba74aedaf6f9f165b1651d39d829939f1b62e7036dcda8fdc0245a9d} of damp causes can be fixed within 1 hour;
95{f898b7ccba74aedaf6f9f165b1651d39d829939f1b62e7036dcda8fdc0245a9d} of all damp is caused by the following 4 items,

  1. leaking pipe or roof,
  2. blocked or damaged gutter, hopper, down-pipe, gulley
  3. rain bouncing off objects onto walls,
  4. inadequate ventilation,
Damp Survey Cost
Cost of unskilled survey is not finding dry rot!

Rule 1; treat the cause, not the symptoms

At least half the damp surveys we perform follow damp proofer failures or otherwise misdiagnosed cause of damp. Here are a few example case studies.

Case study 1: Lower ground floor flat rented; Blackheath London

Cost of damaging chemicals to date £30,000 further £37,000 recommended

damp from humidifier
Solution – stop humidifier releasing humid air

Two bad treatments for rising damp from large London “damp proofing” company (heavy Google Adword spender) did not solve the problem. A further £37,000 was recommended. We surveyed when the tenants were on holiday. The flat was bone dry.

The correct diagnosis was in fact excess humidity (drying clothes indoors, use of a humidifier) and inadequate ventilation (no open windows, bathroom vent was broken). See report.

Cost to fix problem – no cost.

Case study 2: Lower ground floor flat owned; Maide Vale London

Cost of damaging chemicals to date £20,000 further £15,000 recommended

neighbour's side of wall was dry
solution – ventilate, neighbour’s side is dry

Two bad treatments for rising damp by the same large London “damp proofing” Plc (heavy Google Adword spender) to 1 meter high, half the length of the wall. Damp became tramped between new impermeable (non-absorbent) and old permeable (absorbent) plaster causing damp patches, not addressing actual cause of damp resulted in serious rot. The damp proofer recommended replacing all the plaster with impermeable plaster, pushing the issue to a new boundary. They failed to look at the neighbour’s side of the wall, or take any damp readings within the wall. If they had, they would have found that the wall is dry.

The correct diagnosis was in fact ventilation. An internal shower had short time delay on the extractor fan. We delay the timer to 20 minutes during the survey for no additional cost.

Cost to fix problem – no cost.

Case study 3: Second floor flat rented; Victoria
Cost insurance £16,000

flood Victoria
Walls were dry – but water marked by flood

Two third of the walls of this two bedroom prestigious apartment were water stained. All walls were dry during the survey. Through enquiry and reviewing the property above, we are able to diagnose a massive, rapid and short term flood from the above property’s ensuite bathroom.

The correct diagnosis was a massive, rapid and short term flood.

Cost to fix damp problem – no cost.

Case study 4: Lower ground floor flat rented; Marylebone
Cost of previous misdiagnosis £20,000

marylebone damp
4 living in two main rooms, no extractor fans.

This one is unusual in that the misdiagnosis was from a non-contractor, purporting to be independent (heavy Google Adword spender). Ignoring four occupants living in just two main rooms (bedroom and reception) in a lower ground floor flat of a five story building, no extractor fan in November, the “surveyor” diagnosed damp from chimney (5 stories up). We left a data logger to record humidity and temperature over an extended period.

The main issue was in fact inadequate ventilation (no windows open at night, no kitchen extractor fan, bathroom extractor was broken, crowded).

Cost to fix main issue – no cost. Open windows, close bathroom door, dry clothes outside

Case study 5: House purchase; Putney
Cost of misdiagnosis two contractors, damp £10,000, roof £5,000

damp putney
Roofers misdiagnosed bitumen felt as cause.

The purchaser was told there was rising damp and that the new roof had failed.

Two issue were in fact 1) the wooden threshold under the door was missing and letting water in the tenants had done nothing to stop water ingress. 2) there was condensation around the cold metal rim of the skylights. There were no damp stains on the carpet, which there would have to have been if the large stain was caused by a roof leak.

Cost to fix main issue – no cost. Ventilate.

Rule 2; treat the cause, not the symptoms

Treating the cause of damp means it will not reappear. It’s reliable, cheaper and eco-friendly to fix the problem rather than the symptoms. You wouldn’t just give pain relief to fix a broken bone.

Identifying and resolving the actual cause of damp saves between an average of £7,500 from £3,700 and £37,000 (london damp proofing prices). Ask for an example report to back up this claim.

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