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Innocent Damp Survey Exposes Something Much More Sinister!

Project Summary

ProTen’s local surveyor Jeremy Johnson was called to inspect some areas of reported damp at a 1846 Grade II listed building in Warminster which was being used as a classroom.

Timber Resin repairs and other treatments were required and carried out by ProTen’s technicians.

Initial Survey

Our CSRT & CSSW qualified surveyor was able to ascertain issues with the building with a methodical approach to all sources of moisture advising our client to check for issues at roof level to rule out water ingress from the parapet gutter as well as measuring internal humidity levels. During this inspection we noted the faintest sign of fungal decay to the roof structure (some 6m from ground level!). We advised further investigation not only prudent but necessary.

Exposure survey to assess the extent of the damage

The main contractor arranged for access equipment to be erected so that further inspection could be made. Repairs were already underway at this stage to the external gutter as well as being cleared of debris.

Internally investigation of the roof timbers showed signs of fungal decay and woodworm infestation with severe breakdown of structural bearings. ProTen working alongside a structural engineer and a conservation architect were tasked with finding a solution whereby the existing structure could be salvaged whilst at the same time ensuring the structural integrity.

The classroom roof is supported on two hammer beam trusses with purlins to each side. Usually this design of roof is seen in historical churches and cathedrals.  

After some deliberation it was agreed that a resin repair maybe the best course of action. Given the level of rot to the truss ends some areas would require full replacement. These replacements would require faithful reproduction and a set of specialist plans were drawn for an artisan timber supplier to mill to our exact requirements.

Repairs were noted as being required to the internal archway above the window so an agreed specification including applying a mesh fixed in place by mechanical fixings was put into action.

Damp, Timber and Dry Rot Treatment Programme

Existing timbers were removed by carefully cutting into the existing joists so that holes could be drilled to allow the insertion of steel rods to act as the new mortice connecting the new hammer beams by means of a thixotropic resin thus ensuring maximum strength between the new and existing timbers.

Mouldings were retained and placed back to ensure the finished works matched as closely to the original timbers as possible.

Other areas that had timber ‘shakes’ that had been caused by movement were filled with resin ready for redecoration.

The following photos show an example of the before and after of the new hammer beam and curved section.

Before  After

Masonry has been coated with a biocide treatment whilst all accessible timbers treated with a pesticide solution to interrupt the life cycle of woodboring beetles. (Common Furniture Beetle ‘anobium punctatum’)

Dampness had now been controlled by the maintenance and repair of the external defects and internal humidity levels are being controlled with the installation of a humidistat controlled fan.

Results
This Case Study highlights the damage that ongoing leaks and penetrating damp can cause to a property and showcases ProTen’s ability as experts in our field to deal with historical repairs, woodworm treatments, fungal decay treatments, and solutions for humidity control reducing condensation.

ProTen Services are damp and dry rot treatment specialists and are here to help our customers look after their properties. If you see or smell signs of damp or dry rot in your property, then the best course of action is to call us and get in touch to discuss the possible damp or dry rot problem. If necessary we will arrange a damp and timber survey.

Contact us today and speak to a member of our surveying team. We are here to help.

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