Since purchase in 2016, various damp problems have manifested in numerous locations, several of which focus upon the centrally located chimney stack. Despite multiple attempts to resolve the problem; chimney and roof repairs, clearing and repairs to gutters, the symptoms have persisted.
The evidence-led approach provides a clear understanding of why, how, what and where the house is reacting in this way. Looking at things in context, short medium and long term also, makes you think about future ownership of this house and how I could make a more positive contribution as part of its history.
One of the main reasons for this were some cold air draughts coming in through holes in the kitchen wall. How can there be holes in the kitchen wall? They were hidden behind the fridge and washing machine. The first was a large one, left in place from a previous tumble drier and half-heartedly filled with rags by a previous owner. The others were left over from the current and previous waste pipes of the kitchen sink.
An interesting thing that I was made aware of recently, is that the natural gas piped into our homes produces a surprising amount of water vapour when it combusts.
With modern boilers, this is not a problem since they are well sealed and vented via flues to the outside. However, where there are gas fires, gas hobs or gas ovens, these might contribute to the total amount of moisture in the house, thus raising the humidity & potential for condensation.
Traditional methods such as lime plastering are often the preserve of buildings deemed to be of historical importance, yet it seems to have been forgotten that more modest properties such as the ubiquitous Victorian terrace were also built with solid walls, lime plaster and a need to ‘breathe’. The designers and craftsmen who built them were creating a carefully balanced internal climate to ensure occupant comfort, avoidance of damp & protection of the fabric of the building and its structural integrity.
Previous surveys were undertaken by preservation and treatment companies, (April 2013 and June 2016), have diagnosed rising damp and have recommended a chemical damp proof course and cement render, and yet the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors describe ‘rising damp’ as a myth. Following an introduction from Building Managment Company, Simon James Lewis, Neighbourhood Construction CIC has been invited to ascertain the probable causes of a number of moisture-related symptoms being experienced at the property.
Following a previous site appraisal, The estate management company requested a further site visit and report be undertaken at an adjoining property, to ascertain the probable causes of a number of moisture-related symptoms being experienced at the property. A site visit was undertaken on the afternoon of Wednesday the 9th […]