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 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 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 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!