Damp, wall stabilisation and woodworm for a property in Kent

Overview 

Client: Chartered Surveyors PMC

Products Used: Damp Proofing System

Our South East team was instructed by PMC Chartered Surveyors to assist them in carrying out a timber and damp survey for a property in Dover, Kent. The instructions from the client were to inspect the walls for rising damp, the timbers for wood rot or infestation by wood-boring insects and to inspect the masonry for signs of cracking through ground movement. 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 also suffer 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. Failing to install a damp proof 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 profiling of the walls showed high readings and confirmed that the property was indeed suffering from dampness.

Penetrating Damp

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

Timberwise installed their specialist damp proofing system in the form of a water-repellent cream. 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 treatment to the ends to prevent the decay spreading.

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, Timberwise used a chemical injection system. The plaster was also 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 once installed the client was able to fully conceal the system, 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. 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.

In this particular property, the ground floor had a severe infestation of wood-boring beetles; a full chemical treatment was applied to the accessible timbers. Woodworm treatment spray kills the insects on contact when they emerge from the timber. 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.

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.

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