There are very important and basic principles to getting the correct advice. Nothing is truly free.
Ask and you will receive
If you are looking for a building survey, search on these terms. If you are looking to solve dampness issues, again search for a 'building surveyor'! If you search for a damp specialist company, you will be sold something you don't need.
Understanding more about your home will allow you to be circumspect when seeking advice.
It will give you higher expectations and more certain outcomes.
Do some research first, examine credentials. If they are CSRT or CSSW, you can become qualified in both yourself in just 6 days!
Be prepared to pay
Qualified and appropriately experienced Building Surveyors won't push you towards one particular treatment based on their own commercial ends.
What is 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 instead of covering it up!
Unscrupulous so-called 'independent' damp specialists rely on your lack of knowledge and their own scaremongering tactics to pressure you into getting unnecessary and damaging work done.
One thing that is never answered adequately is what happens to the damp timbers which are built into the wall BELOW the chemical injection? Do they miraculously become drier? Without repairing the external defects that caused teh increased moisture, they cause an acceleration of the decay and catastrophic failure of floors.
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, but don't offer an inspection or advice about these defects by their 'fully qualified rising damp specialists' which should show that they know nothing else about construction unless it fits into the Property Care Association 'rising damp' ethos 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' .
The PCA says that 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 surveyor2 who can recognise and understand the problem. "We would always recommend that the surveyor who undertakes investigations has been awarded the CSRT qualification".
Rising damp is not a "commonly encountered problem" - I've never seen it, neither have any of my colleagues and any government or charity organisation which deals with old buildings don't even mention the ophrase. That must say something.
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.
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.....
The symptoms blamed on Rising Damp are:
The CAUSES of moisture at low level are:
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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