Damp question

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    Damp question

    Hi Guys,
    We have a couple of flats and one tenant contacted us just after New Year because a black damp(?) patch had appeared in one bedroom. She sent photos and it looked nasty. We sent a roofer round as we assumed it was a gutter/roof problem. The roofer went round and said he would send a quote for the work needed.............usual tradesmen.........we are still waiting LOL!
    Now the tenant says she has cleaned the area with mould/mildew cleaner and the area is dry and stainfree. There has been some heavy rain and snow since.
    I am a girlie but I would have though it the damp was coming from outside there would be some residual staining or damage?
    I am wondering if it is condensation from inside, drying clothes etc (although tenant denies this)

    It's still possible to get black mould indoors if tenant won't open a window to ventilate. My tenants from hot countries are usually the worst culprits as they find the UK too cold to open a window.
    To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.


      Where is the damp located in the bedroom? is it the external wall? near to a window? as you say could be gutter/roof problem, could also be windows not sealed correctly, could be tenant drying clothes as you say.


        Don't 'wonder'. Go and inspect. If you don't know what to look for, send a suitably qualified surveyor. Don't 'assume' it's a gutter/roof problem, then rely on the verdict of the contractor (who has a vested interest in job creation).

        See also http://blog.painsmith.co.uk/2010/11/...egal-position/


          The damp is in a corner with an external wall, down low above the skirting.

          I have a pic but cant upload it I just get a warning triangle! LOL! Any ideas what I am doing wrong?

          We initially assumed it was from gutter/roof problem but it looked so bad I thought if it was coming from the outside it wouldn't just disappear with mould/mildew spray (its a plasterboard wall with matt emulsion paint)
          I think we will leave it alone for now and see if it comes back and have had a chat to tenant re damp clothes etc


            if its a plasterboard wall where the plasterboard is fixed to stud work, then its HIGHLY unlikely to be an external problem. as its low down just above the skirting, sounds like condensation to me.

            have you checked outside to see if there are any leaking gutters/downpipes - or staining on the external walls? solid or cavity walls? ground floor or is the floor to the room above ground floor? is there any pipework or adjacent bathroom/shower? all those indicators will lead you to a reasoned conclusion as to whether it is an issue with the property of the tenant.

            i would take photos of the areas i have highlighted and document the info re construction as evidence as to the likely cause - a good digi camera can zoom in on problem areas even if you cant get to the actual area phsyically


              A roof or gutter problem sounds unlikely if its just above the skirting; that sort of issue usually manifests itself along the top of the walls nearest to the point of entry.

              If it has cleaned up and dry then its almost certainly a condensation issue. Very common this time of year when people won't ventilate their homes for fear of getting cold - especially in bathrooms - and don't heat the property properly in order to try and save money. I've given up counting the number of times I've had to explain to tenants that leaving the heating on constant at a low temp is cheaper than trying to heat a cold home from scratch every night when they get in.

              A leak is a leak, and it will stay a leak until some action is taken to plug it so they rarely dry up unless we have a long dry spell if its coming from outside. It it was an internal leak then it wouldn't dry up until the leak causing it was sorted out.
              My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.


                As a Surveyor, I think it's likely that it could well be a gutter issue assuming the issue is on the ground floor. Particularly if you have concrete outside the property. The downpipes being blocked and water flowing over the outside lip on the gutter and splashing back against the wall - it's a very common issue. Have a look outside the property for moss growth on the corresponding wall.

                It could also be rising damp caused by a defect in the DPM, or overgrowing plants breaching the DPM.

                Generally speaking Condensation is most prevalent in upper sections of a room (Because hot air rises), also in areas of poor air circulation such as behind sofas and beds etc. Condensation is often compounded by structural defects.
                [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]


                  This does not sound too serious to me but you do need to check outside for any concerns as already mentioned.

                  I assume that your property has solid walls and not cavities ie it is a Victorian, Edwardian or at least pre 30's property. We had a similar problem and solved it by using one of the wall insulation wallpapers - these products came in about 5 years ago to solve just this sort of problem and were recommended to me by a damp expert I have known for nearly 20 years. They are about 1cm thick and they have a thin layer of polysyrene type material bonded to their underside. The product we utilised was called Noma therm which I think I bought at Homebase although B and Q sell a similar material under a different brand name.

                  The product lays best on a clear wall (ie no pipes or other complex areas to cut round and where there are no or few exposed edges).

                  They can be applied by a normal decorator and perhaps surprisingly leave the wall feeling a little warmer. Because the lines between strips are a little deeper they do need filling. For best results a good lining paper should be laid over the top in case of shrinkage of the joints (we didn't and this has happened in a couple of places). Painting can then be optional.

                  The cost of this for one moderate size wall is likely to be not much more than £150 including materials. You could do this next time you decorate.
                  However I would only do this if the issue returns

                  There are some reviews on the internet and many people report a greater feeling of warmth in the room following application. Anyway worth considering.

                  Please thank your tenant for taking the trouble to wipe down the wall and not make a fuss. They sound responsible people. Whilst it is true that many tenants don't ventilate a property very well in their defence you must consider that many properties have insufficient airing cupboards or drying facilities for the winter. With tenants out working they are unable to leave windows open. They should be encouraged to do this or at least not to shut room doors during the day to improve airflow. Another possibility is to buy them a condensing dryer (no need for hole in wall). These are quite cheap.

                  I should point out that I am neither a builder or a damproofer so you should take other advice.


                    Thanks for the replys.
                    The flat is on the middle floor and is 12 years old so modern construction.
                    There are no signs of render damage on the outside and the down pipe is a couple of feet away.
                    We are going to monitor it to see if it returns.
                    The tenant is happy with this and has been great through all of this.
                    Thinking about it, the corner affected would be the coldest part of the flat as it is external and North facing with very little sun. Also the tenants daughter has been away so her room may not have been getting heated as our tenant is on a budget.

                    In our other flat, we had a similar problem but it is a top flat and there was vegetation in the gutters, once that was removed the walls dried but the stains remained and required a little plastering,repapering and special paint.

                    I agree with the problems drying clothes in the winter. There is no airing cupboard, we have supplied a condensing dryer (probably not used due to cost) and the doors are fire doors so close automatically.

                    Thanks so much for the replies. Can anyone explain why I am unable to post pictures? It looks like its uploading it then I get a wee warning triangle.


                      Originally posted by dotchas View Post
                      Can anyone explain why I am unable to post pictures? It looks like its uploading it then I get a wee warning triangle.
                      I think it is to save Landlordzone's servers from having to retain the data. You can post a link to photobucket or somewhere though. This requires only a miniscule fraction of the data that a photo would tie up.
                      To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.


                        Before and after mould and mildew cleaner




                          Nice, seems to work good.


                            Originally posted by dotchas View Post
                            Before and after mould and mildew cleaner
                            Looks like it's caused by condensation to me.


                              Thanks, that's what we are thinking so will keep a eye on it for a while.


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