Male surveyor greeting a homeowner at the door

Why should I have a damp survey?

23 May 2019

Damp can potentially be a problem for any homeowner or potential new homeowner, and with rainfall being a constant occurrence across the UK damp problems are common amongst UK properties.

What is damp?

There are three types of damp that might be occurring in your property. These are rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation:

Rising damp is a form of dampness that is present in walls as a result of the water underground rising through the fabric of the wall. Rising damp is most likely to occur in older buildings due to the damp proof course becoming damaged over time or the ground level around the house having been risen from the addition of a new path or driveway.

Penetrating damp is where the moisture is built up horizontally through walls of the building. Penetrating damp occurs due to external defects such as damaged rainwater goods. When it rains, rainwater is usually evaporated out of the brickwork but when there are heavy periods of rainfall the property can suffer from an external defect where the water fails to evaporate.

It can lead to more serious issues such as wood rot, increased heat loss, frost damage to masonry and water damage to both the outside and inside of the property.

Condensation occurs when warm moist air comes into contact with a surface that is cooler, the warm air is unable to retain the same amount of moisture and water is released onto the cold surface such as on internal walls or windows. The main cause of condensation is the day to day activities such as cooking, washing and dry clothes inside and with poor ventilation the warm air is trapped inside of the building.

Why should I have a damp survey?

In some cases a damp survey is required as part of the home buying process others a homeowner is concerned about their property. Whatever the reason, a damp survey will provide a deeper look into the property to determine if the property is suffering from damp and offer remedial recommendations.

How do I know if I have damp in my home?

Damp problems can easily occur in your property and without any warning and could cause serious damage to the building infrastructure. When trying to identify damp in your property there are a number of signs that you should look out for. The signs that dampness might be present are:

  • Black spot mould growth
  • Damp musty smell
  • Wallpaper appearing detached and discoloured
  • Skirting boards broke and brittle

What happens in a damp survey?

It takes a qualified expert to spot potential problems concerned with damp issues and timber infestation in the building. The surveyor would first check the exterior of the property then check or identify any potential defects that could lead to damp and timber decay. Issues with defects could be damaged gutters and downpipes which are signals that penetrating damp could occur.

The next step in the surveyor’s process is to check to see that the property already has an existing Damp Proof Course (DPC) and that it is fully functional.

Inside the property, the ground floor walls are profiled for signs of dampness. If the carpets can easily be pulled back the timbers beneath will be inspected. With permission granted by the property owner then the floorboards may also be lifted where possible to examine the subfloor void and the condition of the timbers within that area.

On the first floor of the building, it will be examined for signs of fungal decay or wood-boring infestation. Again, the surveyor will look at the roof void for signs of dampness, fungal decay or beetle infestation.

Following the survey, the damp and timber surveyor will then compile a full written report including where necessary a sketch plan detailing work that needs to be carried out.

Contacting the Damp Specialists

At Timberwise we provide damp treatments for both domestic and commercial properties and ensure that all properties that are surveyed are done so the highest of standards. Our damp specialists are highly experienced, qualified professionals who will use their experience to resolve any damp problems that might be present in your property. Contact our experienced team by calling 0800 288 8660 or request a property survey online.

Originally published 27th September 2019, updated 20th May 2019.