Why is a damp survey important?
22nd November 2017
The reasons for dampness in buildings is wide and not always straightforward to diagnose, and tackling a damp problem through a standalone treatment such as a damp proof course injection is rarely the answer.
In this blog, we look at the role of the damp survey and how, if carried out correctly, it is the key to ensuring your property damp problem is treated in the right way, to save you time and money and giving your property long term protection.
External and internal property damp inspection
The objective of the damp survey is to build up a property profile to understand what could be causing the damp and where the moisture is coming from so that a decision can be made as to the right course of action and treatment. The essential first step is carrying out an external and internal property inspection. This will involve assessing factors such as property layout, construction details, the surrounding environment, vegetation, drainage and any recent changes to the property.
Importantly the damp proofing surveyor will also be looking for visual clues such as mould, and for property defects such as cracks in external render, internal leaks such as a poorly sealed bath. They will be looking to see how these may be impacting and contributing to the damp problem.
A condensation survey also needs a technical approach. With air conditions constantly changing inside a property, humidity levels and dew points need to be calculated to see if condensation is taking place. Natural occurring cold spots, insulation, shape and layout of rooms, ventilation and lifestyle all need to be considered as these can all impact on condensation problems.
Tools and analysis used to support diagnosis
Equipment can be used to provide further evidence to the source and level of dampness. A hand held digital moisture meter for example can be used to show moisture levels within masonry and timber, and a thermal imaging camera can be invaluable to pinpoint a leaking pipe and may negate the need to dig up a floor.
More scientific investigations can also be used. A ‘frass’ analysis may be necessary to determine the type of wood boring beetle infestation, and tests known as Carbide Tests and Salt Analysis can be carried out on plaster, brick and even wall paper samples to determine levels of chlorides, nitrates and the amount of capillary moisture which is present. The result of these can impact the treatment plan that needs to be taken.
Looking beyond the damp
The damp survey is not only looking at the damp problem in isolation. It must also involve looking at problems that may have been caused as a result of the damp conditions. This could involve a dry rot problem, woodworm or decay to timbers. Further investigation may be required such as a sub floor investigation where floorboards are lifted to assess this further.
Understanding what the damp survey involves
Whilst a property owner will want to know how much a damp survey costs, it is also important to know if your chosen damp proofing company is doing more than looking at a damp patch on a wall. If you are enquiring about a damp problem then remember to find out what the damp survey entails as this will give a clearer idea that they take their investigative work seriously and confidence they are company that will do things properly.
Providing the damp proofing solution that is right for your property
Sometimes it will be enough to simply fix a property defect such as a leaking gutter or clearing vegetation from around airbricks and letting the wall dry out. But sometimes it’s not enough and a more involved treatment approach will be required. Only through thorough investigation and a technical approach from an experienced damp proofing specialist can the right plan of action and treatment be decided. A detailed Inspection Report should be available which will provide a summary of observations, recommendations and a quotation for works, if works are indeed necessary.
ProTen Services are property preservation experts, specialising in the treatment of damp and timber decay. If you are concerned about a damp problem in your property, please contact us where we will be happy to answer your questions and book a damp survey should this be necessary.
For more information about the range of surveys ProTen provides click here.