A retail unit in Yeadon gets a new lease of life
Products Used: Sealed Boxes Brick Plugs, Membrane Slimline Mesh, 25mm ThermoPlus board
Located on the High Street in Yeadon, a prosperous suburb to the north west of Leeds lies a retail unit previously used as licensed premises. The established High Street includes a series of well-known prestigious retailers. Although the unit benefitted from class A4 (drinking establishment) planning consent, the unit had been poorly maintained and over the years had suffered from both rising and penetrating damp.
It goes without saying that any form of establishment that was looking to attract quality clients into a high-class drinking club, require it to be clean dry and not damp and musty.
Aside from the fact that damp can negatively affect the way that your property looks, it can also lead to a number of more serious issues, including heat loss and timber decay. The damp issues needed to be resolved in order for the unit to be let. The managing agents called upon Timberwise Leeds to carry out a damp and timber survey and provide a timely, effective and maintainable solution.
From a purely commercial angle, a damp musty unit is not going to attract good customer feedback and therefore a dry clean nice smelling environment is much more likely to let without any issues. A brief external inspection of the property was completed from the ground level only during our visit, and no obvious defects were noted at the time of the inspection.
The internal walls were suffering from a high moisture content caused by penetrating and rising damp, this, in turn, was drawing the natural salts to the surface of the walls causing unsightly plaster problems. When this property was constructed there was very little thought given to the underlying ground conditions, or indeed putting any form of damp proof course into the main or party walls, and therefore a combination of poor ground and poor/older construction techniques had led to the problems described.
Due to the nature of the construction and the extent of rising/penetrating damp it was decided that any form of hard cementitious waterproof render/tanking to the walls would not be the most effective way forward, and because of the extreme nature of the damp ingress it was felt that the most minor settlement or small crack would lead to the system being breached thereby rendering the tanking ineffective.
In order to guarantee a dry/warm and damp free environment, Timberwise decided that the best course of action was to install an impervious membrane floor-to-ceiling on all internal walls. Not only would the application of a membrane system ensure no damp could penetrate through to the surface, but it would also improve the thermal efficiency.
To further create an additional insulation void following our works, the contractors installed (in line with our specification) a stud work framework in front of the membrane onto which they applied plasterboard which was ultimately skimmed and decorated.
Although the unit had a solid concrete floor, we could not be sure or establish if during construction a damp proofing membrane was installed under the floor slab. Therefore, around all of the perimeter walls and internal walls we created a waterproof fillet joint into which the membrane was inserted, and subsequently filled in with a waterproof cementitious system that insured that no damp could track up through the wall floor joint of the wall/slab area.
Another benefit of using internal stud work in front of the wall membrane is that it creates a natural void behind the stud, thus allowing under normal circumstances for the free fixing of any components or shop fittings to the stud work without there being a danger that this could penetrate and breach the membrane which sits behind.
This was not a full waterproof system and certainly was not compliant to BS8102: 2009, and therefore did not have any subfloor sump pumps as would normally be the case with the waterproofing installation. However, due to the severity of the damp ingress, it was felt that an impervious membrane was the only solution to guaranteeing completely dry and damp free walls.
In this actual refurbishment the architect specified a 25 mm thermally clad plasterboard to greatly improve the overall thermally efficiency of the unit, thus helping to create an environment conducive with people enjoying themselves, and without the risk of there being any complaints of a damp and musty odour.
With the advent of modern technology, and in particular membrane systems, Timberwise were able to offer solutions that were previously unavailable, that allow for a much more resilient solution to severe damp problems than was previously the case with old cementitious hard render systems.
It is also the case that with many buildings built before about 1970, there was very little if any thought was given to the real effects of rising and penetrating damp, and moreover what impact this could have on the internal finishes to the walls. Another factor that is worthy of consideration is that regulations dictate working conditions, under which people are subjected are much tighter now than ever before, therefore damp and poor property conditions are just not acceptable. Damp can lead to black spot mould, which in turn can cause respiratory problems.
Get In Touch With a Damp Proofing Specialist
Damp problems can affect any property across the UK and treatments used must be handled with care. This is why it is important to contact a damp specialist to provide an inspection at your property.
At Timberwise, we are a specialist damp and timber company with 50 years of experience, and if you are unsure if your property is affected by damp, woodworm or dry rot it is always to best to book a Damp and Timber report. Having a damp and timber report, from a qualified surveyor, will be able to provide you with the correct diagnosis for what the property care problem is and what treatments are needed to fix the issue.