Damp Surveys in Faversham

Do I need a Damp Survey? What Happens During the Damp Survey?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Importance of Damp Survey: When faced with signs of rising or penetrating damp in your home, such as peeling wallpaper or musty smells, the first crucial step is to conduct a damp survey. This detailed inspection, carried out by a qualified surveyor, provides a comprehensive report on any damp issues found and recommends effective solutions.
  • Damp Survey Process and Types: A damp survey is a meticulous examination of a property, encompassing areas like the roof space, cellars, and outbuildings. The surveyor uses tools such as digital moisture meters to assess moisture levels and identify the causes of damp issues.
  • High-Tech Tools for Damp Detection: Digital moisture meters and hygrometers are essential high-tech tools used during a damp survey. Moisture meters employ electronic sensors to measure moisture content in various building materials, aiding in detecting dampness below the surface.

You’ve noticed some worrying signs in your home like peeling wallpaper, musty smells that won’t go away, or spots of black mould growing in the corners. This could mean you have rising damp or penetrating damp issues that need to be addressed. 

Before you panic and call in an expensive contractor, take a breath. The first step is to have a damp survey done to properly assess the situation.

Once the survey is complete, you’ll receive a full report detailing any issues found and recommended solutions to fix the damp problems. 

>> Related reading; How To Fix A Damp Chimney Breast?

Then you can make an informed decision on next steps to take in order to get your home back to a healthy state. A damp survey could save you a lot of time, money and hassle in the long run.

What Is a Damp Survey and Why Do You Need One?

A damp survey is a detailed inspection of a property to check for any signs of damp or water damage. It’s a good idea to get one done if you’re buying an older property or notice musty smells or water stains on walls. 

During a damp survey, a surveyor will check the entire house for indicators of damp issues so you know exactly what you’re getting into before purchasing the property.

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The Damp Survey Process: What to Expect

A damp survey is a thorough inspection of a property to check for any signs of dampness or water damage. It should be done by a qualified damp surveyor. 

During the survey, the surveyor will check all areas of the property including the roof space, cellars, and outbuildings. They will identify the causes of any damp issues and recommend solutions to fix the problems.

The surveyor will start by taking moisture readings of walls and floors using a damp meter. They will probe areas that show high readings or visual signs of damp to determine the cause. The three main types of damp are:

Penetrating damp – where water is entering from outside due to damage or faults. The surveyor will check the condition of the roof, gutters, exterior walls, and ground levels around the building.

Condensation – where excess moisture accumulates inside the home due to poor ventilation, insulation, or heating. The surveyor will check for mold growth, especially in areas like the kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms.

Rising damp – where water rises from the ground into the walls due to a lack of or damage to a damp-proof course. The surveyor will use a damp meter to check if damp is affecting the lower sections of walls.

Plumbing leaks – where water is entering from leaking pipes, water tanks, or water-using appliances like washing machines or dishwashers. The surveyor will thoroughly check all plumbing installations and the areas around them.

Digital Moisture Meters and Hygrometers: High-Tech Tools for Detecting Damp

Digital moisture meters and hygrometers are high-tech tools that can help accurately detect excess damp or moisture issues in a property. These handy devices are a must-have for any homeowner or property manager.

Moisture Meters

Moisture meters, also known as damp meters, use electronic sensors to measure the moisture content in walls, floors, insulation, and other building materials. They can detect dampness below the surface that you may not be able to see or feel. 

Many models feature a probe that is inserted into the wall to take a reading at different depths. More advanced meters may also measure relative humidity, temperature, and dew point.

Moisture meters allow you to identify problem areas, pinpoint the source of damp, and monitor if damp issues are drying out or getting worse over time. They are an indispensable tool for diagnosing and solving damp problems in any home.

Hygrometers

A hygrometer is a device that measures relative humidity—the amount of moisture in the air compared to the maximum amount of moisture the air can hold. High humidity levels, especially over 70%, create ideal conditions for damp, mold growth, and structural damage. Hygrometers can help monitor humidity levels in your home and alert you if the relative humidity rises too high.

Digital hygrometers provide an instant reading of the temperature and relative humidity. Many models also log humidity levels over time so you can track trends and patterns. 

Place hygrometers in areas where excess damp or humidity may be an issue, such as the basement, attic, garage or any room with plumbing. Monitoring the humidity in these spaces can help detect damp problems early before major damage occurs.

Remedial Treatment Options: How to Fix Damp Problems

Once the survey has been completed, the damp proofing specialist will determine the best course of treatment based on the findings. There are several options for remedying damp problems, ranging from simple solutions you can do yourself to professional treatments.

Surface Sealants

For minor surface damp, a sealant or waterproofing product applied to walls and floors may do the trick. Products like silane or siloxane sealers penetrate into porous surfaces and form a breathable barrier. While DIY-friendly, surface sealants typically only provide a temporary solution.

Damp Proof Course Installation

If the survey found issues with your damp proof course (DPC) like tears or holes, a damp proofing specialist may need to install a new one. This involves digging out and replacing damaged sections of the DPC to prevent ground moisture from seeping in. For less severe damage, an epoxy resin or cementitious mortar patch repair may be sufficient.

Tanking

For persistent damp caused by severely damaged DPCs or structural issues, tanking may be recommended. This entails applying a waterproof cementitious coating to walls to seal moisture out. 

Internal tanking, with coatings applied to the inside of walls, is less invasive but may still require some plaster removal. External tanking, with coatings applied to the outside of walls, provides a more comprehensive solution but requires extensive excavation work.

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Condensation Control

For condensation-related damp, the solution may be improving ventilation and insulation. This could mean installing new air vents, extractor fans, dehumidifiers, or applying a breathable insulation to cold surfaces.

Do I need a Damp Survey – Conclusion

So there you have it, the ins and outs of what happens during a damp survey. While it may seem like an unnecessary hassle and cost to have a survey done, especially if you’re in a rush to buy or sell a property, a damp survey should not be skipped. Moisture damage can be an expensive problem to fix down the road, not to mention a health hazard. For your peace of mind and wallet, invest in a survey by a certified professional.

Their trained eye and high-tech tools can detect issues you might miss. And if problems are found, you’ll have the information needed to negotiate a fair price or get necessary repairs done. Though damp may not seem like an exciting topic, your home’s wellbeing and your family’s health are worth the investment in an expert damp survey.

Picture of Jake Fitzgerald - Damp Surveyor

Jake Fitzgerald - Damp Surveyor

Surveyor of Timber & Dampness in Buildings (CSTDB) & ( MRICS ) Chartered Quantity Surveyor

Jake is a qualified chartered quantity surveyor and experienced damp specialist with a unique skill set in thermal imaging. With a focus on effective solutions, Jake combines his expertise in quantity surveying and thermal imaging to accurately assess and address damp-related issues. He utilises advanced technology to identify hidden moisture sources and develop targeted strategies, ensuring comprehensive and cost-effective solutions for his clients. With a commitment to open communication and client satisfaction, Jake delivers cutting-edge solutions that tackle damp challenges head-on.

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