Another boring Q - can an old boiler flue be the cause of water ingress into wall?

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    Another boring Q - can an old boiler flue be the cause of water ingress into wall?

    Sorry for really dull question.

    I'm arguing with my freeholder's surveyor about this. They're doing external works right now and refusing to remove a redundant boiler flue which I *KNOW* is causing damp in the wall of my 2nd floor flat. (There is no boiler on the other side of the flue).

    The reason I know it is because there is a rectangular boiler-flue-shaped mark smack in the middle of the damp patch on my wall, and the rectangular boiler flue is directly on the other side of the wall in exactly the same place as the mark inside, exactly the same size and shape. It's serious damp with bubbling paintwork. The bubbling forms part of the rectangular mark.

    But the freeholder's surveyor refuses to accept that the flue is causing the damp. He says he has carried out a close inspection and the flue is not the cause, so he's just instructed the builders to slap on a bit of sealant to remove the 'potential' for water ingress.

    So I am slightly doubting (but only very slightly) my own sanity, and need to ask a probably really stupid question. Is it technically possible for an old boiler flue to serve to conduct rainwater into a wall? It's a rectangular thing about a foot wide, no rain hood/protector, just a blocky shaped metal thing with sort of grilles/layers on all four sides.

    Surveyor also claims that removing it would create 'potential' for water ingress?!

    It's rather urgent as we've got scaffold up and once it's gone the window of opportunity to remove the flue will be lost.

    #2
    I would think that there is a potential for water seeping between the flue and the brick/stonework (which sealing would fix - for now) and the potential for damp air in the flue.

    However, a forum like this http://www.ultimatehandyman.co.uk/fo...-forum-f4.html may be a useful source of info from people who deal with this kind of thing frequently.

    Depending on finances, you may want to get a chartered surveyor to look at the damp and identify the cause. I'd expect to pay £250 up north, so I guess you are looking at £400 - £500.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks, I'll try posting on that forum.

      Have already drafted an email saying I want to get my own surveyor to look.

      Comment


        #4
        Hm, it won't let me register for some reason....

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
          I would think that there is a potential for water seeping between the flue and the brick/stonework (which sealing would fix - for now) and the potential for damp air in the flue.
          Do you mean that flues are constructed so that's impossible for rain to flow into the unit?

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by westminster View Post
            Do you mean that flues are constructed so that's impossible for rain to flow into the unit?
            Oooh, don't go thinking I know anything about flues!

            From your description, I got the impression that other than holes for venting the fumes 'out', the top of the flue was covered to prevent water ingress. Therefore I wondered if the flashing (where the flue comes out of the chimney/brickwork/stonework) had perished, allowing the water to get between the flue and the building.

            Comment


              #7
              So it's Snorkerz's hat* talking.

              No, the top isn't covered at all. And it's nothing like that photo! It's rectangular, like a thick book plonked on the wall.


              ===
              * Saw a bloke last night in Holborn wearing a bowler hat. Young 30s, and didn't appear to be 'ironic'. Just a young man in a suit wearing a bowler.

              Comment


                #8
                The surveyor may be right in that the flue is not the cause of the damp, but that because it travels through the wall, any moisture in the brick(?) will travel along it, simply because it is impervious to water. It is also likely that there are gaps between the wall and along the length of the flue which makes it the easiest path for water to travel.

                If it is a cavity wall it almost certainly the conduit for the water.

                A sealant may stop penetrating water at the external joint of the flue to the external wall, but unless the outside surface is water retardant ( painted rendered or sealed) water will have soaked in further up, seep down, behind the ring of sealant, and follow the flue, as above.

                It may also be condensation in a cavity or moisture from an other source.

                If the flue is open there is always the chance that water will be driven or sucked in around the guards. Flues should be installed at a slight slope.

                It then depends on who owns the flue and is reasonable for it under the lease.. it may be the flat owners to remove and reinstate.
                Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

                Comment


                  #9
                  See, you get sensible answers from LHA

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by westminster View Post
                    Saw a bloke last night in Holborn wearing a bowler hat. Young 30s, and didn't appear to be 'ironic'. Just a young man in a suit wearing a bowler.
                    I hate to admit it, but if I were young 30's it's a look I'd quite like to have.

                    Sort of junior-bank-clerk c1940

                    Sadly, my suits are probably 30 years old, and with my dodgy shoulder, I won't be a bowler (on the cricket field) any time soon.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by westminster View Post
                      So it's Snorkerz's hat* talking.
                      ...
                      * Saw a bloke last night in Holborn wearing a bowler hat. Young 30s, and didn't appear to be 'ironic'. Just a young man in a suit wearing a bowler.
                      Auditioning for the remake of 'Mary Poppins'?

                      I have a feeling that if anyone walked about in Leeds dressed like that, the hat at least would come to a nasty end.
                      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by leaseholdanswers View Post
                        The surveyor may be right in that the flue is not the cause of the damp, but that because it travels through the wall, any moisture in the brick(?) will travel along it, simply because it is impervious to water. It is also likely that there are gaps between the wall and along the length of the flue which makes it the easiest path for water to travel.

                        If it is a cavity wall it almost certainly the conduit for the water.

                        A sealant may stop penetrating water at the external joint of the flue to the external wall, but unless the outside surface is water retardant ( painted rendered or sealed) water will have soaked in further up, seep down, behind the ring of sealant, and follow the flue, as above.

                        It may also be condensation in a cavity or moisture from an other source.

                        If the flue is open there is always the chance that water will be driven or sucked in around the guards. Flues should be installed at a slight slope.
                        Thanks LHA.

                        It's not a cavity wall; it's solid masonry. The exterior wall is painted/rendered, however, external works are long overdue so the surfaces outside were in a poor condition. All freshly done up now. Except for the flue remaining in situ.

                        The damp patch spreads horizontally and down from the flue-shaped bubbled patch. There is no damp much above flue height anywhere on the wall, and the bottom half of the wall is not affected. So it seems to me that the flue is the primary conduit for the water, whether that's along its sides or whatever. I'm not in the least convinced that a bit of sealant will solve the problem. The sealant will disintegrate over time, surely, like it does around a bath?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Sealing round the edges of the flue is highly unlikely to make much difference if rain is being blown in through the fins. Much better to remove it and brick up the hole - a simple task if you have scaffolding up already.
                          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                          Comment

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