Having surveyed a few houses in and around Swansea, Cardiff, Barry and Chepstow now, the instances of rising damp appear to be rife. However I find that most ground floors have been replaced with concrete, external walls have been 'water-proofed' inside and outside and absolutely no thought given by the damp-proofing company to how the property is supposed to function after it has been sealed.
Moisture is absorbed from various sources and the most important feature of a traditional structure, apart from supporting the upper floors and roof obviously, is to allow moisture to evaporate. Where it doesn't, it saturates and appears internally as dampness so, if you are thinking about inviting a damp-proofing specialist to your home because he's free or cheap, think again, because no matter what guarantees he provides, he has no interest in solving the various different issues which may be responsible.
Damp proofing, so-called independent, experts seldom even look outside, where 99% of the defects which contribute to dampness are. A professional survey from a reputable building surveying practice like Heritage & Design Ltd will examine your property, inside and outside, and identify all contributing factors, present them in an easy to read format in plain English and set out recommendations for repairs in order of priority in accordance with BS 7913:2013 - Guide to the conservation of historic buildings, which should really have been called a guide to the 'repair of traditional buildings' instead.
This British standard sets out the principles and guidelines that building surveyors should employ when inspecting solid-walled structures and describes "best practice in the management and treatment of 'historic' buildings. It applies to 'historic' buildings with and without statutory protection."
It is always interesting to find snippets of past lives however a recent survey of a terraced house in Glasgow revealed large-scale posters from 1930's being used as underlay below carpets. These depicted the British Empire Exhibition 1924 amongst other adverts and timetable posters.
I have somehow found myself in a dance competition to be held at the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea this Saturday, 19th May, where my wife and I will be dancing a waltz. So far we have managed to raise almost £600 for Cancer Research but more would be greatly received for this worth-while cause. After only 8 weeks tuition (less a few missed through work) by the very patient Mario DeMarco at DeMarco Dance Studio in Swansea, we are taking part in the Ultra Ballroom competition.
Tickets are available but we have some which we will give away free to anyone interested in attending to see us suffer at this black-tie event.
Donations can be made via Alisons Justgiving page where any contribution is welcome.
Heritage & Design Ltd has been asked to contribute to this years Parliamentary Review to showcase our best practice as a learning tool to the public and private sector. The main aims of the Review are "to demonstrate how organisations/individuals have become oustanding leaders in their fields and how they have responded to challenges within the industry, sharing best practice as a template for reform".
We work hard to offer the best service possible to clients and provide clarity and honesty at all times so it is reassuring that this has been recognised.
We all have to have a roof over our heads don't we? Most of us are lucky that we have, but is it a house or a home?
A house provides shelter for us and our family but a home provides much more. Walking towards your house/home after working all day, is it an attractive prospect or is it just somewhere to get out of the rain and sit down? The reason I ask is that so often you get the wrong advice usually from people who benefit out of it.
I have recently moved to Swansea where there are some lovely little terraced cottages - my wife and I have bought one - with stone walls, a slated roof (someone was given bad advice and put tiles on ours!), chimneys, timber sash and casement windows, flagstone path, good quality timber door, etc., etc. But I see whole rows which have been covered in beige cement roughcast, whole streets of them, all the same.
Hardly any chimneys remain in some streets with uPVC windows and doors, concrete paths, totally devoid of their original character. A terrace near to us was stripped of its old cement render and the stonework exposed. I had high hopes of it being repointed in lime mortar and shining but, no, beige cement roughcast accompanied the uPVC windows and removal of the chimney stack so we now have a faceless roughcast box in its place.
Why does this happen?
The local authority has some responsibility for this by allowing or not preventing these changes. And it's not just the aesthetic and historic value, these features have an intrinsic value and usefulness. Chimneys, even if there isn't a useable fireplace, can provide ventilation. This is vital for human health, reduces condensation and the risk of some chest complaints, improves air quality and the movement of air in the chimney will help keep it dry.
Sash and casement windows are known as being draughty but this again is good for you and your home, maybe no so good for your heating bills though. Maybe you should expect to be wearing a jumper indoors in the winter and not flip-flops and shorts like my son used to. Old windows can be draught-proofed and double glazed units can be fitted to the same frames however double-glazing salesmen are NEVER going to offer you that option.
If you have a limited budget, as most of us have, it is cheaper to refurbish, repair, mend, decorate, fix, etc., than it is to replace, short and long-term. There is as much value and a great deal more social history in your terraced cottage than there is in the Colosseum or Buckingham Palace so, how about taking some free advice and please consider the consequences of removing something that helps make your house into a home. Or even calling for some advice or to discuss a survey.
Welcome note from me.
I am new to bloging, I talk a lot and write a lot but sharing daily exploits I usually avoid. Let's see how this develops. Your help is much appreciated.