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Damp Proofing Scottish Borders

First Time Buyers Guide To Damp

Buying a new home is an exciting time, especially if it’s your first property. However, it’s important to take the process seriously to ensure that the property you intend to purchase is in a safe state. When buying a property, you will always have a survey produced by either your mortgage provider or external body. These reports determine the value and quality of the property, which includes pointing out any causes for concern – including damp.

Most old properties show signs of damp simply due to their age, and a lot of properties have damp that are caused simply by not opening windows or adequately heating the property, whereas others have detrimental causes that are deep down and unseen. I often come across people who have moved into a new house and not realised the severity of the damp in the property.

Some people simply assume that damp is a minor issue, whereas others decide to investigate the problem post-purchase. However, in doing so, repairing the damage caused by the damp and prevent it from reoccurring can be extremely costly, so it’s always best to have a damp proof assessment prior to completing your purchase so you know exactly what’s causing the damp and more importantly, how it can be treated, repaired and prevented.

If you’re in the processing of buying your first home, I’d always recommend a damp proof survey, just so that you’re aware of the potential risks and damage, and of course, how to prevent this moving forward. If the quote for repair is more than pocket change, you always have the option to renegotiate the buying price of the property to account for the cost of repair.

As a first time buyer, it’s important that you do your homework so that you’re able to spot the tell-tale signs of damp in a property so that you can rest assured that the damp – if any – is able to be repaired and of course, affordable. I’ve put together a few pointers on how to spot signs of damp, but don’t forget, just because you can’t see damp, doesn’t mean it’s not there! If you’re unsure, seek the help of a professional damp treatment expert to advise you.

RISING DAMP

Rising damp is particularly common in older buildings, and on the whole, the MOST common problem I am requested to investigate when people are buying their first home. Rising damp is caused by moisture rising through the stone and brickwork and in most circumstances, it can be dealt with a chemical damp proof course and renewing any affected plaster to the walls. Rising damp can be spotted if wallpaper is peeling from the walls, tide marks on the walls, areas that are damp to the touch, crumbly or paste-link plaster, and even rusty nails in skirting boards. There are, of course, other solutions available, especially if the rising damp has managed to cause secondary issues, such as dry/wet rot or salt contamination to the plaster.

PENETRATING DAMP

Penetrating damp is generally the result of leaking down pipes, leaking gutters or roof related issues. These problems allow water to get into your property, causing the walls the become wet. This type of damp is usually seen on the outside of the house, with the damp patches increasing in size after a bout of heavy rain. There are a number of solutions available to repair penetrating damp, including using membrane systems. If left untreated, the structure of your home could become seriously unsafe as wet and dry rot become present in large joists and lintels in the area.

CONDENSATION

Condensation is potentially the most ‘ignored’ sign of damp in your home, simply because people think it’s ‘common’ and it ‘happens’. However, condensation can definitely be a sign of a more serious issue at play. Condensation itself is caused by a lack of heating, ventilation and/or insulation, and can often be misdiagnosed as rising damp. Signs of condensation in your home include but are not limited to: mould growth on carpets and wallpaper and water on cool surfaces such as worktops and windows. The main way of dealing with condensation is to seek out the cause and source ways of reducing the amount of moisture being created in the property, for instance, by increasing ventilation.

Do you think your new property may have damp? Does your home report or survey suggest that damp is a serious issue but you’re unable to figure out how to fix it? Get Keith Rennie to assess your property, he will thoroughly survey your home and make a full assessment on works required to repair any damage caused by, and further prevent, damp in your home. Contact Keith Rennie today!



Woodworm Treatment Scottish Borders

How To Identify Signs of Woodworm In Your Home

What is woodworm?

Woodworm essentially refers to the larvae of any wood-boreing beetle. In the UK, the most common are the Common Furniture Beetle, the Deathwatch Beetle, the House Longhorn Beetle & the Powderpost Beetle. All of these species of beetle invade and consume wood, and then leave. Woodworm can have a disastrous effect on the structure of your home and can also lead to further problems. This is why it is vital that you’re able identify signs of woodworm in your home to avoid any damage or issues to the timber within your residence.

How do I know if I have woodworm?

Unfortunately, in some cases, you may not even know if your property has woodworm. The woodwork in your home may be hosting woodworm without your knowledge and unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about this. However, you can certainly identify signs of woodworm in your home. Have a look out for:

  • Small round holes in woodwork
  • Dust around holes in woodwork
  • Boards and joists with crumbling edges
  • Beetles present around your home

These signs may mean you have woodworm but could also be the result of a previous infestation. The best thing to do if you spot any of these tell-tale signs is to have your property specially assessed by a professional woodworm treatment specialist.

Did you know? Woodworm does NOT only affect old properties, it can cause damage to newly constructed buildings too.

How do I prevent woodworm infestation?

There are a few different ways you can prevent a woodworm infestation. If you already believe or know that your property has a woodworm infestation, you must seek the help of a professional in order to eradicate the problem. However, if your home is clear of woodworm, you can take necessary precautions to prevent an infestation from occurring, including keeping humidity levels low and ensuring wood is well-ventilated.

What treatments are available for woodworm?

If you have determined that your property has sufficient evidence of woodworm, there are a few things you need to do before seeking the appropriate treatment. Firstly, you must identify the species of woodworm. Local pest control firms can provide this service. Secondly, you must find out whether or not the infestation is still active. As previously mentioned, the damage to your timber could have been caused by a previous infestation so may require a different form of treatment to repair the damage.

After you’ve ticked those boxes, it’s important to seek a timber specialist to determine the extent of the damage and the overall current state of the structural integrity of your property. There will be a variety of appropriate treatments available to fix any damage but this is all dependent on the extent of damage, the status of infestation and the species of beetle.

How do I repair woodworm damage?

If you have taken the appropriate steps to eradicate a woodworm infestation, the next step is repairing the damage caused. Of course, structural timber can be replaced at your discretion or even restored. There are a number of beeswax polishes that are readily available for you to use to provide ample protection against the problem reoccurring in the future.  However, structural timber will be treated and replaced by a professional timber specialist.

Do you think your property may have woodworm? Get Keith Rennie to assess your property, he will thoroughly survey your home and make a full assessment on works required to repair any damage caused by woodworm. Contact Keith Rennie today!