Damp

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  • SimonRW
    replied
    Hi, I have just joined this thread but from reading it a couple of points: signs of damp, with or without, mould like this around a chimney breast is typical and I am not sure that it should be assumed that it is a lack of ventilation or poor behaviour by the tenant as probably it is both.

    There could be water 'ingressing' the chimney stack via it's cap or the side walls and causing areas of mould where cold wet brick and warm air meet. Chimney stacks are porous especially after having been used for along time due to the sulphur and water attacking the clay bricks and the mortar. Thus when it rains water will enter the stack and dribble downwards making colder the walling which then can cause condensation where warm internal air meets the cold wall/air.

    The best thing for chimneys is to be used. Warm air moving through them will dry them out. They will therefore be warmer and thus condensation should not take place.

    Putting simple vents in the bottom of chimney breast in the room can work as heat leaves the room and dries out the flue (the stack must be vented at the top of course), and some are used for the gas boilers etc (better still take them down and roof over them, although this is expensive of course and may not be allowed in conservation areas).

    I would try putting simple 150mm square vents in first then look to more expensive options if it continues but note that the damp will take a very long time to leave the wall unless heat is applied to the area. I suggest an infrared heater pointing at the wall as they cost very little to run and do not need emptying by the tenant like a dehumidifier and they are quiet which means that they are not turned off by the tenant..

    The next thing is that the tenant must heat the rooms even if they are not used. My older tenants are classics for only heating the rooms they live in so the rest of the house is freezing and musty smelling - meaning damp!

    I have also seen quite a few bodged builder's jobs in my properties which have had to be put right at a lot of cost. The first is 'damp specialists' injecting expensive chemicals into walls or rendering them. This tends to keep the damp in just as painting the walls with waterproof 'plastic' paints does which means that the damp in the wall does not leave the wall by the exterior but instead by the interior wall. This can lead to rotting of woodwork (floor joists etc). The second is poor capping of the chimney stack with inappropriate materials or the wrong type of mortar being used (modern gypsum which does not breathe instead of lime mortar). Also the boarding of the fireplace with some kind of asbestos or plaster boarding can cause issues.

    For old buildings and their problems you may want to watch Peter Ward on U Tube. I am pretty sure that you will find some on chimneys very useful.

    Hope this helps, S

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  • Interlaken
    replied
    An end terrace house built 18?? will have no cavity wall insulation hence cold external walls.
    I would:-

    1. check roof, pointing and chimney flashings
    2. check gutters and downpipes on a really wet day
    3. insulate all external walls with 100 mm cellatex or use
    Thinsulex battened to walls then re- plasterboard/add new skirtings etc.
    4. get rid of tiles in bathroom in favour of insulated, shower board.

    If there are still wet walls after all this then it is lifestyle choice of tenant in not ventilating properly.

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  • scot22
    replied
    Don't feel that sort of response appropriate and I like hariba s attitude. Are you completely confident there is no penetrating damp ?

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  • JK0
    replied
    Originally posted by hariba View Post
    JK0 why issue a s21? It wasn’t a complaint, they just asked if anything could be done/looked at. It was a text message so I guess that would class as in writing in today’s society.
    Because tenant is obviously too half-witted to take care of your property.

    Leave a comment:


  • OneSmallStep
    replied
    hariba,

    Constant running fans operate at a very low flow rate 'constantly'. Then, when it is required, it goes into a second speed and increases the extract rate. The perfect trigger for this is a Humidistat detector built into the unit. This keeps air moving within the room.

    I would go back to my previous suggestion. Look at Bathroom fan and installing a Kitchen extractor. However, a PIV is perfect for this, all of my properties have PIV installed as standard, as does my own home. The difference is remarkable.

    Mild bleach solution is all that is needed. Rather than paint over the issue you need to cure it.

    Leave a comment:


  • hariba
    replied
    JK0 why issue a s21? It wasn’t a complaint, they just asked if anything could be done/looked at. It was a text message so I guess that would class as in writing in today’s society.

    Leave a comment:


  • JK0
    replied
    I'd use a s21 notice IIWY, as long as tenant has not complained in writing.

    Leave a comment:


  • AlexR
    replied
    Originally posted by hariba View Post
    so just after a few suggestions now. Firstly has anyone used the mould eradication kit and if so was it any good? I’m assuming I’d get a decorator to do this job. What are your thoughts about the extractor on the external kitchen wall? I’ve only ever seen them in bathrooms so my first thought is that it will look strange in a kitchen. Would an electrician be able to fit the fans in the bathroom and kitchen? And finally, would you purchase the dehumidifier or tell the tenants to! I used to have a very good heavy duty one that typically has just broken.
    To deal with condensation you need to think about heat and ventilation. Both the bathroom and kitchen are major generators of moisture and in the bathroom you should fit a high quality extractor fan that operates automatically when the moisture level is high, and make sure the radiator is working. In the kitchen you should also have a good quality fan that extracts moisture outside. All can be fitted by electricians

    It is worth checking central heating is working efficiently - no air locks in radiators etc. If you radiators are hot at the top but colder at the bottom then you have sludge build up and the radiators will be inefficient. This can be solved by a power flush which is done by a plumber and costs from £500, or taking radiators off wall and flushing each one through, or replacing radiators for 'fin' radiators which are more efficient.

    In the past I have put in trickle vents in windows, ensure you have gap under self closing doors to maintain airflow.

    The ' mould eradication kit' I would use is dilute bleach which would kill the mould.

    I only used a dehumidifier to bring the humidity level down quickly
    on a temporary basis because they are bulky, noisy and need emptying often which tenants are reluctant to do. Its not a long term solution.

    Leave a comment:


  • Moderator2
    replied
    Originally posted by hariba
    Hi all,
    sorry this is a continuation from my last post that’s been moved to epc’s/repairs and I don’t think many will read so have done a new thread.
    You're wrong, I can see who has viewed a thread and on a per-thread basis the number of views varies very little between forums. Always post in the appropriate forum otherwise you might not get the best answers, and you waste my time.

    Leave a comment:


  • hariba
    replied
    One small step - thank you for the advice. Just an update, I’ve been round in heavy rain to observe the outside and can’t see any issues with rendering etc. The roof has been check and is ok. This morning I’ve had a damp specialist out. It was a feee visit to diagnose the problem. They have said it is condensation and haven’t suggested doing any major work. Their advice (none of which are work that they do) is to improve the extractor in the bathroom - so I will definitely be looking into an upgraded fan. When you say constantly running, do you mean all the time or while the bathroom is in use? They also suggested an extractor on the external kitchen wall as the cooker extractor is on the internal wall. And finally to get a mould eradication kit which is some kind of paint I think that stops the mould from attaching to it on the walls. And of course dehumidifier.

    so just after a few suggestions now. Firstly has anyone used the mould eradication kit and if so was it any good? I’m assuming I’d get a decorator to do this job. What are your thoughts about the extractor on the external kitchen wall? I’ve only ever seen them in bathrooms so my first thought is that it will look strange in a kitchen. Would an electrician be able to fit the fans in the bathroom and kitchen? And finally, would you purchase the dehumidifier or tell the tenants to! I used to have a very good heavy duty one that typically has just broken.

    Leave a comment:


  • OneSmallStep
    replied
    Unfortunately, some tenants do not understand how condensation is formed and how they are creating it. They see wet walls and automatically assume it is water coming in from outside. Obviously, in some cases it is a failing in the building structure or a simple fix like a blocked or faulty gutter.

    However, this time of year and the location of the mould would indicate a condensation issue. (bottom corners of external walls are prime locations)

    I understand you have a fan in the bathroom, don't take this the wrong way, but is it a good fan? a £10 Timer model just doesn't cut it to adequately ventilate a bathroom. To improve the condensation issue you should install a constant running fan in the bathroom with humidistat override. Circa £100-£150 plus install.
    Also, if possible install a constant running fan in the kitchen, again with humidistat override.

    Finally, a PIV on the landing. This will force air changes throughout the property and dilute the moisture laden air.

    All the above have very low running costs. You can also programme them to let you know if the Tenant turns them off. (they think they cost a fortune to run, but actually the running cost is very low.)

    In addition, some people assume that as the air changes it costs more to heat the building. It is actually cheaper to heat dry air that does not contain moisture,

    Almost immediately you will notice a difference in the air quality. 2-3 weeks the walls will dry out. They will have to wash the walls with a mild bleach solution.

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  • nukecad
    replied
    Those photos don't look like a condensation problem.
    I'd expect condensation on large flat surfaces rather than in the corners.

    Leave a comment:


  • AlexR
    replied
    Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
    If there is no such thing as rising damp, damp proof courses are a con, and the long multithread on the building without one is based on a false premise..
    There is a book called 'The Rising Damp Myth' by Jeff Howell in which he argues the case very convincingly

    Leave a comment:


  • AlexR
    replied
    Originally posted by hariba View Post
    My my main concern is that the tenant won’t accept it’s condensation
    Because you tried that last year and its back again! Unfortunately there is no one 'expert' who can help - they only deal with their own area of specialisation. You need to look at the whole picture yourself and take a view.

    I had damp issues in many Victorian terraced houses and each case was solved by dealing with faulty chimney flashings,blocked or broken drainpipes and gutters and in one case faulty rendering.

    Leave a comment:


  • mariner
    replied
    Injectable DPC may last only 10 years or may have been 'bridged?
    My builder prefers to 'chase out. the morter and insert a roof tile barrier.
    Try fitting a pot chimney cowl to lessen amount of rain entering the chimney.
    Many Victorian propeties may only be 'single skin', prone to conensation, so internal thermal insulation may be required.
    I suggest a full external examination, as external mortar can crack over time.

    Leave a comment:

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