There are very important and basic principles to getting the correct advice. Nothing is truly free.
Ask and you will receive
Ask any salesman if you need their product and, of course, they will say you do, whether it is new plastic windows, life insurance, mobile phone data or damp proofing.
Be careful what you ask for.
Understanding more about your home will allow you to be circumspect when seeking advice.
It will give you higher expectations and more certain outcomes.
Be prepared to pay
The reason most damp proofing companies offer a FREE SURVEY is because they know that 90% of the time they will get the work to 'cure' whatever THEY diagnose.
Qualified and appropriately experienced Building Surveyors won't push you towards one particular treatment based on their own commercial ends.
What is Rising Damp?
Rising damp is a manufactured defect which supports a multi-million pound industry, pure and simply. Not Euro or dollar or yen, only pound sterling because it is unique to the UK.
One treatment to fix a supposed phenomenon like 'rising damp' cannot replace good maintenance of numerous elements in an old building. Your building is damp because of an accumulation of defects and poor advice - not some mythical phenomenon and won't be fixed by replastering the inside of the wall!
Find the source of the dampness and stop it!
It always surprises me how little home owners really know about their property. Unscrupulous so-called 'independent' damp specialists rely on this and their scaremongering tactics to pressure you into getting unnecessary and damaging work done. One thing that has always irked me is that, even if chemical injection did work in a stone wall (it doesn't!), what happens to the damp timbers which are built into the wall BELOW the injection holes? Do they miraculously become drier? Hmmmm - I don't think so. I know that they cause an acceleration of the decay and catastrophic failure of floors.
Why do walls need 'tanked' or lined with a 'waterproofing' material and then re-plastered with a special water-resistant plaster when the injected damp proof course is supposed to stop rising damp???? Think about it, it beats me.
Have a look at the sketch (above right) from a very old reference book and see if you can determine if replastering would make the timber joists dry if ground levels were high or ventilation was blocked.
Most frequently chemical injection is done 'above' the joist level because of high ground levels so makes the underfloor even more damp and liable to rot.
Nearly 120 years ago the principles of solid construction were exactly the same as they are now and the same as they were 120 years before that and the same as they will be 120 years from now.
Before using damp treatments - employ some common sense first and make sure everything is working the way it should or employ someone who really understands your building.
Viscous fingering is the likely diffusion pattern that any chemical injection will take, leaving a route for moisture in a brick, for instance. Think how ineffective it will be in hard stone or a loose wall core with voids and spaces or vegetation growth...
The term rising damp is used mainly by damp proofing companies who want to 'fix' the 'rising damp problem' without differentiating between the numerous types of construction and materials still in existence today after hundreds of years of building in the UK. One treatment does not fix all! There is no actual understanding of construction or different materials. Brick: engineering, common, clay, silicate ------ Stone: limestone, sandstone, granite, whinstone ------- Construction: timber, brick-cavity, block-cavity, solid brick, stone ------- Then there is the total lack of knowledge and ability to identify defects other than 'rising damp'.
The principle that damp proofing companies focus on is that water 'rises' through the structure but without providing any other reason other than the wall is porous and has somehow failed. Some of their websites now suggest that there are other reasons for your dampness, not just rising damp - (hooray), but don't offer an inspection or advice about these defects by their 'fully qualified rising damp specialists' which tells me that they know nothing else about construction unless it fits into the Property Care Association 'rising damp' handbook or, as I like to call it 'how to fool people into getting an injected damp proof course when they don't actually need it' handbook.
The following is directly from the PCA website:
Rising damp is a commonly encountered problem in some types of building, however it is often misdiagnosed. It is important that the investigations into dampness are undertaken by a trained and competent surveyor who can recognise and understand the problem. We would always recommend that the surveyor who undertakes investigations has been awarded the CSRT qualification.
Members of the PCA have the skills and experience needed to diagnose report on and repair buildings affected by rising damp
Taken from the PCA website.
Lets look at what the PCA says: Rising damp is a commonly encountered problem -
No, it is not!
It might be for PCA companies because they are paid to diagnose such and are not interested in diagnosing any other problem.
It is often misdiagnosed:
Yes, it is, mainly by Property Care Association affiliated companies.
This comment has recently been added to their website because of positive action by properly experienced and qualified building surveyors, architects, stonemasons and other conservation professionals who have battled against the untold damage that damp-proofing companies continue to do to our old buildings, never mind the countless thousands of pounds spent by people for works that are generally unnecessary.
Undertaken by a trained and competent surveyor: NO. Only trained by the PCA,
A 3 day course does not make you competent, maybe only competent in persuading householders to accept their diagnosis - preying on people who trust them.
We would always recommend that the surveyor who undertakes investigations has been awarded CSRT qualification:
Of course they would - they created and provide that qualification
And only them. Their courses are booked until next year simply because they have great media and internet coverage and, therefore, appear to be the market leaders - may be, but their market is based on FRAUD!
Back to my own comments:
Moisture moves from wet to dry. Place a sponge in the bath and the sponge absorbs water. Empty the bath and the water eventually leaks out of the sponge and it dries. Wrapping a wet sponge with a plastic bag and leaving it in the bath won't make it dry, the same way that coating a damp wall with 'renovating' gypsum plaster will not dry out a wall. Deal with the causes, don't just treat the symptoms.
Typical symptoms are low level moisture, wet rot to skirting boards, loose wallpaper, blistered paint, failed plaster (to gypsum repairs) tide marks on the wall or wallpaper. The causes are external and often reasonably easy and cheap to remedy. Once repairs have been made then the wall needs to be allowed to dry out but imagine how long it might take a 2 foot thick stone and lime wall to dry out. That's where the damp-proofers have the advantage - they appear to 'fix' it quickly and guarantee it. I guarantee this - it WILL fail and cause greater damage.
There are often numerous and complicated defects that may have been covered by generations of poor work and problems compounded or hidden issues now causing or contributing to the symptoms.....
Are CSRT 'surveyors' really qualified and trained to carry out this type of inspection? If you think they are, then please get in touch with one of them to get a free survey, if not, please ask me for a proper survey where I will not then suggest that I also carry out the work!
This is from a DAMP PROOFER's website:
Rising damp rises up from the ground and can be found in buildings where there is either no damp course present, or the damp course has become ineffective for any number of reasons. The damp course may have simply deteriorated, or it may have been bridged by the external ground level being built up, for example if a new patio has been laid or through debris collecting in the wall cavity.
Rising damp can be seen as tide marks appearing on a wall normally to a height of 1m. The tide mark or stain is generally caused by the chloride and nitrate deposits, known as hygroscopic salts, which are left in the wall and plaster when the dampness in the wall evaporates. The hygroscopic salts have the ability to attract ambient moisture and will therefore remain damp until removed and the wall replastered with a specialist replastering formula.
So lets review it.
The website goes on to talk of the DANGERS of Rising Damp and how the electro osmosis system will protect you!
They even talk of their "experienced and professional surveyors are specialists in their field and will always give accurate, impartial advice and will only ever specify a particular course of action if they believe it is necessary to remedy the problem".
The information on this website is the same rubbish all these damp fraudsters talk about - "the dangers", "experienced surveyors", "specialists", "special plasters", but they don't tell you about the real reasons that your house is damp or offer to repair it.
Ask a double glazing 'specialist impartial surveyor' what's causing the dampness in your house and he'll try to sell you windows. It's the very same principle.
The symptoms blamed on Rising Damp are:
The CAUSES of moisture at low level are:
NONE of these are looked at by a CSRT 'surveyor' because they don't make money from it.......
Heritage and Design Limited is a registered company no.SC280108 with its registered office a 24 York Street, Ayr, KA8 8AZ
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