Damp, wall stabilisation and woodworm in a commercial property in Kent

Overview 

Client: PMC Dover (Chartered Surveyors)

Products Used: DriWise Damp Proofing System

Timberwise South East was instructed by PMC Dover (Chartered Surveyors) to assist them in carrying out a timber and damp survey for a commercial property in Kent. The instructions from the client were to inspect the walls for rising damp, the timbers for wood rot or infestation by wood-boring insect and to inspect the masonry for stabilisation. Before conducting the survey, Timberwise advised the client that any structural timbers (i.e. suspended timber floors, wall plates etc) that bear directly or alongside any walls affected by rising damp could be suffering from fungal decay or insect attack.

Did you know?

Kent is home to one of only three ‘Royal’ towns in the UK. Royal Tunbridge Wells was granted its official regal title in 1909 after Edward VII granted the prefix in special recognition of the town’s connections with the royal family since the Stuart dynasty.

Methodology

An external inspection of the property showed no evidence of an original damp proof course due to the external render. Failure of implementing a damp proofing course often results in a property becoming extremely vulnerable to rising damp penetration in years to come. Inspection of the internal wall surfaces of the property was completed using an electronic moisture meter, where high readings were observed

Penetrating Damp

Penetrating damp is when water ingress occurs through the fabric of a building, usually because of an external defect. Based on visual inspections and the instrumental readings obtained at the time of our survey, Timberwise confirmed penetrating damp. This was due to the property’s damaged rainwater goods and cracked render.

installed their specialist DriWise damp proofing system. The damp proofing system is injected directly into the first horizontal mortar joint above the internal ground floor level and creates a barrier to prevent dampness. An exposed bressumer beam had a slight infection of wet rot fungus which required an application of deep kill paste to the ends to prevent the decay.

Rising Damp

Rising damp occurs as a result of groundwater finding its way into the property through brickwork or stonework. This groundwater contains soluble salts, which deposit on the interior and exterior walls of the property. Rising damp was noted to all external and boundary elevations.  Where the plaster had not yet been removed, we recommended a chemical injection and for the plaster to be removed and replaced with a damp proof render coat.

Stabilisation

The masonry to the rear elevation of the main house and rear extension appeared to have suffered movement. The extension required stabilising and the masonry re-tied to the main house rear elevation. Timberwise noted a severe crack between the 2 structures over both the ground and first floor.  Further cracking was also observed within the rear bedroom, it appeared that at some time this had been crudely filled.

This was opened up and stabilised with a helical bar and resin repair system. The system includes a stainless steel reinforcing bar and resin bonded into cut slots at pre-determined levels in the masonry. A combination of ties provides a robust solution for the customer’s replacement tie needs. The solution is extremely economical compared with alternative methods and can be fully concealed once installed. Preserving the aesthetic of the building and prevent it from becoming unsightly.

Woodworm Infestation

Woodworm is the common term used to refer to all wood boring beetles. It can take a while to tell if a woodworm infestation is present as it can take years to see any visible signs (thanks to the woodworm life cycle)

However, there are a number of tell-tale signs that can help you identify a potential woodworm infestation such as small round holes in your woodwork, fine, powdery dust around these holes (known as frass) and weak and damaged timbers.

The ground floor had a severe infestation by wood-boring beetles; a full chemical treatment was applied to the accessible timbers. By using woodworm treatment spray this kills the insects on contact. These are water based to reduce any risks to individuals, pets and the environment. From Timberwise’s inspection, it was also noted that some floorboards had perished due to the infestation. These were removed and replaced.

Results 

The front of the property was open to the elements, which was also allowing severe moisture ingress.  However, the front bay was rebuilt and rainwater goods reinstated, meaning the property should is watertight again.

Damp Treatment From The Experts

If you suspect you have a damp problem in need of treatment, please contact your local Timberwise team on 0800 288 8660 for advice or to arrange a survey. Alternatively, complete the on-line survey request form to arrange a surveyor to visit your property.

More Case Studies