Eight Causes of Damp on Internal Walls

Damp is a common problem in properties across the country. If left untreated, damp on internal walls can cause serious problems to your home.

There are three major types of damp that you could find inside your property: rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation. All three have varying causes and treatments, but knowing the underlying problems that can lead to them will help you keep damp out of your home in the long term.

So, what are the most common causes of damp on internal walls?

1. Your Damp Proof Course Is Broken

Modern homes have a damp proof course (or DPC), which is designed to keep water from rising up from the ground and getting into the walls of your home. A damp proof course can be made of plastic, but more modern (and effective) DPCs are chemical substances injected into the walls.

A damp proof course is there to stop rising damp from affecting your home. Rising damp occurs when water from outside gets into the walls and begins moving upwards. This occurs if your damp proof course is broken. Rising damp can cause serious structural problems if it begins to affect large areas of your property.

2. Your Home Has No Damp Proof Course

Modern houses are fitted with damp proof coursing as standard, as it’s the most effective barrier against rising damp. However, older houses (houses which are a hundred years old or more) were never fitted with damp proofing and may never have been upgraded to include it.

If you have an old home, it’s good practice to investigate whether there’s a damp proof course or not. If not, you should consider fitting one for long-term damp proofing.

3. Faulty Structures

For damp to occur, there needs to be a source of water or moisture. Often, this water accidentally seeps into your home and begins affecting internal walls when it leaks through faulty building structures (what we call penetrating damp).

If there are broken tiles on your roof, cracks in the walls, broken windows, doors, or any other number of faults with the structure of your home, then penetrating damp can occur when water begins to get through.

4. Leaking Pipes and Faulty Plumbing

One major cause of damp inside your home is leaking pipes, usually due to faulty plumbing. While you’ll notice a major leak quickly, the worst culprits are the small leaks that often go unnoticed for some time.

These small leaks build up over time and cause damp in walls and timbers. This weakens the walls, damages the plastering and, in severe cases, could even cause collapse.

5. Broken or Overloaded Gutters

Your outside guttering can also cause major damp problems if it’s not in working order. Gutters are there to channel rainwater away from the walls of your home, but if they’re blocked or broken, water builds up and can’t be dispersed.

Instead of being channelled away, rainwater seeps into the roof or walls, or pools on the floor and seeps in through the groundwork. Broken gutters need to be fixed, and kept clear of debris throughout the year.

6. Lack of Ventilation

One of the most basic causes of damp on internal walls is a lack of ventilation. If there’s a build-up of moisture in the air inside, this causes condensation (particularly in winter).

Condensation is a mild form of damp, but it still causes problems if left untreated. You can fix the lack of ventilation by leaving windows open after hot showers or by setting up a dehumidifier.

7. Cold Spots Lead to Condensation

Cold spots in your home can cause condensation and resulting damp problems. These cold spots cause condensation when hot air hits them.

While some cold spots can be removed through proper ventilation, serious cold spots are caused by cracks or gaps in the walls that let in cold air from outside.

8. Cement Rendering Causes Cracks

Cracks are a major source of moisture inside the home, which can lead to penetrating damp or condensation.

In modern homes, one of the biggest offenders is the cement rendering on your walls. This common building material tends to crack over time, leaving you with gaps and cavities that let water seep inside.

Danford Brewer & Ives has been providing damp proofing and prevention services to homeowners in Yorkshire, Teesside and North East England for decades. We’re happy to provide further information on the possible causes of damp in your home and explain how our team can fix it.

Please contact our friendly team on 01765 804050 or fill in our online contact form. Our technical team will be on hand with expert advice tailored to resolve your problem.


Cavity wall tie replacement

What Is Cavity Wall Tie Failure?

Cavity wall ties are the unseen ties that hold the walls of your home together. These metal rods, or strips, are an essential feature of your home’s structure. There isn’t a building standing that doesn’t need cavity wall ties for support!

But while cavity wall ties might be the last things on your mind, cavity wall tie failure is an increasingly common problem in UK homes. And broken or damaged cavity wall ties can lead to disastrous structural consequences for your house.

We asked our experts to explain what cavity wall tie failure is and how you can spot it.

What Are Cavity Wall Ties?

Cavity wall ties are simple metal rods or strips that play a surprisingly important role in the structure of your home.

Your home has two layers of the wall: an inner and an outer wall. The space in between is the wall cavity, which is essential for insulation. For support, these two layers are held together using cavity wall ties, which connect through the space between the walls.

Cavity wall ties are made from different materials, but the most common are metals or metal alloys, with zinc and steel being popular choices. If these cavity wall ties fail, the structure of the wall becomes compromised.

What Is Cavity Wall Tie Failure?

Cavity wall tie failure occurs when the worst-case scenario happens, and the cavity wall ties holding the two layers together collapse and fail.

The main reason for this failure is prolonged corrosion. Because they’re primarily produced from metal, the cavity wall ties are susceptible to rusting and corrosion when water gets into the cavity or seeps into the walls.

Cavity wall ties are coated in a protective, anti-corrosive layer before being installed, but this doesn’t last forever.

Unfortunately, it’s a natural process that can only be slowed down, not eliminated. Heavy rainfall, flooding, or leaks can all speed the process up.

Other reasons for failure include bad building work, loose brickwork, or loose mortar, which all affect the stability of the wall and can loosen the cavity wall ties. Because they’re supports, the builders may not have calculated the required number of cavity wall ties for the load, leading to extra pressure and stress, and eventually failure.

What Happens When Cavity Wall Ties Fail?

Cavity wall tie failure can have serious effects on your home. Because they’re required for structural stability, failed wall ties can lead to the outright collapse of an outer wall if they aren’t replaced.

While this is rare, it does happen and it generally occurs when multiple wall ties fail simultaneously or when the problem is ignored by the homeowner.

While wall collapses are rare, cavity wall tie failure can also lead to cracks in the masonry, damaged brickwork and problems with other parts of the house, such as the roof, when walls begin to shift or buckle.

Cracks or broken brickwork can lead to problems with ventilation, causing knock-on effects that lead to excess condensation. Water can seep in through the walls, which not only causes more corrosion and more wall ties to fail, but can cause damp or mould internally.

All of these problems not only cost time and money to repair, but are hazardous to human health and a danger to the occupants.

How Can I Spot Cavity Wall Tie Failure?

Cavity wall tie failure can have disastrous consequences in the long term, so it’s important to spot problems early and act fast to replace broken ties where necessary.

Because cavity wall ties are hidden away between the inner and outer walls, it can be difficult to spot these signs. For this reason, if you suspect you might be experiencing cavity wall tie failure, it’s good practice to call in a professional for an assessment.

If you notice any of the following problems or signs, then it’s time to request a survey:

● Horizontal cracks in the mortar or bricks if cavity wall ties expand due to rusting.

● Walls start to bulge outwards if cavity wall ties have broken due to prolonged corrosion.

● Broken window ledges or frames.

● Collapse (the most serious sign).

How We Can Help

If you think your cavity wall ties are failing, contact the team at Danford, Brewer & Ives for more information. We offer a cavity wall tie replacement service that can save your home from long-term damage.

Please contact our friendly team on 01765 804050 or fill in our online contact form. Our technical team will be on hand with expert advice tailored to resolve your problem.


woodworm infestation

How to Treat Woodworm

Woodworm can be a nightmare for homeowners, particularly if you don’t notice the problem until they’ve bored their way right through your timbers!

If left untreated, woodworm infestations can lead to disastrous structural damage and expensive repairs, but there are ways to identify and treat woodworm before it gets to this stage.

We asked our experts at Danford, Brewer & Ives to explain the best ways to identify and fight an infestation. From identifying woodworm boreholes to surveying your timbers, here are our top ten tips for treating woodworm.

1. Woodworm Are the Larvae of Beetles

Our surveyors commonly find that homeowners don’t know what woodworm look like, or even what they actually are. It’s a common problem, but there’s no shame in not knowing what woodworm are.

The confusion starts with the name, because woodworm aren’t actually worms. Woodworm aren’t even insects, at least not fully grown ones. Woodworm are the larvae of a beetle. Different species of beetle lay eggs, and these eggs hatch into larvae, which then burrow their way into timbers and wood in search of shelter and sustenance. The woodworm hatch into fully-fledged beetles later in their lifecycle.

Understanding what woodworm are helps us to understand where they live and what we need to look for. If you find lots of beetles in your property, then you’ve probably got woodworm.

2. Woodworm Love Timbers

Although they aren’t actually worms, woodworm are found in timbers (so at least one part of the name is correct!). Beetles lay their eggs on the outside of wood or timber, and the larvae burrow their way into those timbers.

Woodworm are searching for food as they burrow and they find this in the form of cellulose, which is present in timbers. In particular, woodworm prefer damp timbers, as damp timber is much easier for them to bore through in comparison to solid timber.

If you’re hunting woodworm in your home, you should start by searching for damp or mouldy timbers on your property.

3. Woodworms Live for Years

Woodworm have a surprisingly long lifespan, and they can spend as many as five years digging holes through your timbers before they hatch into fully-fledged beetles.

It’s important to know that woodworm can be a long-term problem, so you’ll need long-term preventative practices in place to keep them out of your timbers.

This long lifespan makes identifying the source of the infestation difficult, as those boreholes you see in timbers could have been sat there for years before you noticed them. By this point, the woodworm will have moved on to fresh locations.

4. Round Holes Aren’t Always the Best Sign to Look For

The most common method for identifying a woodworm infestation is locating boreholes. These round holes are made by woodworm as they enter and exit timbers, and burrow their way deeper inside. While these round holes are a giveaway that woodworm have been in your home, they don’t necessarily indicate that there’s an active infestation.

Because of their long life span, these holes could be years old. The infestation could have passed or disappeared, or it could be larger than ever. Regardless, if you notice rounded boreholes, then you need to act as if there is an infestation. You might need an expert to help you find the real source of the woodworm though.

5. Look for Fresh ‘Frass’

One of the most important signs to look for is the presence of fresh ‘frass’ in your home. Frass is the unusual sounding name given to the droppings left behind by woodworm. So if you locate frass, you know your infestation is active and it’s nearby.

Locating frass by your rounded boreholes is an even bigger giveaway. But what does frass look like? It’s not exactly like normal droppings, but rather it’s composed of wood that’s leftover or been digested by the woodworm. This means that frass looks almost like sawdust, except it’s much thinner and finer.

Frass can form around the boreholes, but it can also drop down and pile up on the edge of skirting boards, underneath your wooden furniture, and in many other locations. If you notice an abundance of a fine, powder-like substance, then you could have a problem.

6. Woodworm Season Is April to September

Woodworm have a long lifecycle, but when it’s time for them to hatch into beetles, they’ll generally do this between April and September. This is woodworm season, and it’s when woodworm specialists are at their busiest, because this is when it’s easiest to locate and destroy infestations.

Woodworm start moving around and burrowing as they prepare to emerge from the timbers, and you’ll also start to notice more and more adult beetles appearing in your home. If you have an infestation, it will make itself apparent in some shape or form during woodworm season, but just remember the woodworm will still be there all year round if you don’t apply an effective woodworm treatment.

7. Establish the Extent of the Infestation

You can’t treat woodworm unless you know how far it’s spread, and that can be a tricky task for the inexperienced. Because they can live for years, woodworm have the potential to burrow deep into your timbers. They’re also likely to be hidden out of sight, especially if it’s taken you a long time to notice their presence.

It’s good to check parts of your home where timber are present, but that are hidden out of sight. This includes basement areas, floorboards covered by rugs or carpet, and attics and lofts.

If you notice woodworm signs in these locations, the problem could be deeper and older than you realise.

8. Act Fast if You Have a Woodworm Infestation

If you see any signs that woodworm might be burrowing their way through your timbers, you should act fast to identify the source and apply an effective woodworm treatment.

If left untreated, woodworm can cause serious long-term damage to your property. In fact, they might already have been digging through your timbers for several years before they revealed themselves to you.

Woodworm eventually eats through timbers, and this can cause important strongpoints in your home to be damaged and weakened. In severe cases, walls can fall down or the building could collapse, posing a danger not just to the home, but to anyone living inside.

Don’t ignore the tell-tale signs of woodworm; act fast and you can stop the infestation before serious damage occurs.

9. Call in Professionals if You’re Unsure

It can be difficult finding the source of a woodworm infestation or even discovering whether those rounded holes in the timber mean you’ve got an active infestation. Woodworm is not one distinct species either, there are many different types of woodworm and they might require different treatments to remove.

While you can apply your own treatment to the surface of affected timbers, you might not remove the threat at its source. There may also be hidden timbers infested with woodworm in places you never knew to look.

For these reasons, it’s always advisable to call in a woodworm professional if you notice any signs of woodworm in your home. They can conduct a thorough survey, identify the source and species of woodworm present, and start treating woodworm.

10. Prevention Is Always Preferable to Treatment

While woodworm treatment is an effective way to remove an existing infestation, it’s always preferable to prevent the occurrence of woodworm in the first place.

If left to their own devices, woodworm can cause serious long-term damage. If you need to begin treating woodworm infestations in your home, you could find that parts of your property are in need of repair once the woodworm have been removed. This can be not only time-consuming but expensive too, especially if structurally important parts of your home have been affected.

If you can prevent woodworm from becoming a problem, then you won’t need woodworm treatment and you won’t need to make repairs. A damp and timber survey carried out by professionals can help identify areas that could be susceptible to woodworm, as well as providing recommendations to help keep woodworm out in the long term.

Some prevention tactics are simple, including lowering humidity levels in your home and keeping rooms well ventilated to avoid creating the damp conditions that woodworm love.

Contact Danford Brewer & Ives for Woodworm Treatment

If you have a woodworm infestation, our woodworm treatment specialists can help. Danford, Brewer & Ives has years of experience dealing with woodworm. We can provide detailed surveys, identify woodworm, and apply effective prevention and woodworm treatment.

For more information and advice on treating woodworm infestations and the damage they can cause, please contact our friendly team on 01765 804050 or fill in our online contact form. Our technical team will be on hand with expert advice tailored to resolve your problem.

 


Woodworm Infestation Treatment

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Untreated Woodworm?

Woodworm can burrow deep into the timbers of your home, causing damage as they move from one location to the next in search of nourishment.

While woodworm are often unseen, if left untreated a small woodworm infestation can quickly grow, before causing long-term structural problems within your property. For this reason, it’s incredibly important to act fast if you believe there might be woodworm in your home.

In this article, we ask our expert team at Danford, Brewer & Ives to explain the potential long-term effects of untreated woodworm.

What Are the Effects of Woodworm Infestations?

Woodworm are small larvae laid by wood-boring insects that burrow into timbers in search of cellulose, which they feed off as they grow. Woodworm eventually hatch into beetles, but to do this they must first bore their way out of the timbers where they’ve established themselves earlier in their lifecycle.

Woodworm has a number of long-term effects on buildings, but while they are often difficult to spot, there are several key signs that your home might be infested. If you see any of the following effects of woodworm, you should call in the woodworm specialists.

● Small, rounded holes that appear in timbers and other woodwork in the home

● Frass - powdery dust left behind by burrowing woodworm

● Crumbling skirting boards

● An abundance of larger adult beetles in your home

These tell-tale signs are often not found in obvious locations, however, making them more difficult to spot early on. Woodworm can be found in basements or attics, and in other places that you might not check on a regular basis.

What Happens When Woodworm Is Left Untreated?

While these initial effects might seem harmless, over time these minuscule problems expand and become much worse, leading to long-term effects that could have been avoided if treatments were applied earlier on.

Woodworm moves from one timber to the next in search of new sustenance. They dry out the timbers as they feed on the cellulose, and leave behind a tell-tale trail of frass, as they continue to penetrate into your home. Over an extended period of time, there could be few timbers remaining that haven’t yet been affected by woodworm.

If left untreated, woodworm multiplies and bore their way through timbers and wooden supports in your property. A large infestation can lead to an enormous network of boreholes, which seriously undermines the timber.

What Damage Can Woodworm Do?

Woodworm can cause serious damage if left untreated, so it’s important not to underestimate the disastrous effects that a long-term woodworm infestation can have on your home.

Because woodworm burrow into the timbers and feed off cellulose, this can cause timbers to deteriorate and eventually collapse. While this damage could be superficial if it’s skirting boards or furniture that’s affected, if the affected timbers are found in important locations providing support to the building, then in severe cases the structure of the property can be compromised.

This is a hazard not only to the building, but also to anyone living inside. If woodworm have caused serious damage to a property, then it’s going to be an expensive and time-consuming (but necessary) effort making the property structurally sound again. Affected timbers would need to be taken out and replaced, and treatments laid down to ensure the infestation can be destroyed.

If woodworm infestations are caught before they start to cause long-term damage to the structure of a building, then treatments are much quicker and much more cost-effective.

Woodworm Treatment with Danford, Brewer & Ives

Different types of woodworm can pose different threats to your property. Different species also require different solutions, but it can be difficult to identify different types of woodworm and how far they have penetrated into timbers without experience.

Treatment depends on the severity of the infestation. Often, it’s only the surface of the timbers and affected areas that need to be treated to remove the woodworm.

To ensure that infestations are dealt with efficiently and effectively, we recommend calling in a specialist, such as our professional team at Danford, Brewer & Ives. If you’ve seen tell-tale signs of woodworm or the damage they might already have caused, then don’t hesitate to act fast.

Contact Us for Woodworm Treatments

For more information and advice on woodworm infestations, the damage they can cause, and possible treatments, please contact our friendly team on 01765 804050 or fill in our online contact form to carry out a survey of your property. Our technical team will be on hand with expert advice tailored to resolve your woodworm infestation problem.


Damp and timber survey report

Why Do I Need a Damp and Timber Report?

Damp and timber reports are an essential feature of homebuyers surveys, offering you peace of mind before purchasing your dream home or alerting you to the presence of dangerous damp, mould or woodworm before you sign the contract.

Damp and timber reports have a wide range of benefits, and they’re well worth the extra cost. To help you to better visualise why a damp and timber survey is so important, we asked our experts at Danford Brewer & Ives to explain more about why you need these reports.

What Is a Damp and Timber Report?

Damp and timber reports, also known as a damp and timber survey, are the only way to confidently know if your home is free from damp, mould and woodworm.

They provide you, as a potential homeowner, with a detailed analysis of damp that may be present in a building, including damp and condensation. A damp and timber survey can also catch signs of woodworm infestations and any other types of mould or timber decay that may be present.

As a minimum, it will identify if any of the following are present:

  • Condensation damp

  • Rising damp

  • Penetrating damp

  • Wet rot

  • Dry rot

  • Woodworm infestations

  • Other pests

Many of the problems associated with damp or woodworm infestations are difficult to identify without specialist knowledge and experience. Many infestations and types of damp look remarkably similar, and while some are potentially damaging to the structure of a property, others can be harmless.

A damp and timber survey is carried out by a professional, qualified surveyor who examines all areas of a property where damp could be present. This includes the outside and inside of the home, under the floorboards, in the attic and in the walls. A professional surveyor not only identifies existing problems but can provide details and expertise on potential solutions too.

What Are the Benefits of Damp and Timber Reports?

There are multiple reasons to have a damp and timber report carried out before you purchase a property. They are commonly organised by homeowners who believe they have an existing damp or timber problem, which they are struggling to identify themselves.

Damp and timber reports provide a thorough examination of the safety of a building’s structure, including integral areas such as the foundations. Mould and damp can also cause long-term health problems and respiratory illnesses, so for health and safety alongside peace of mind, a damp and timber survey is incredibly important.

For homebuyers, having existing problems identified gives them the opportunity to negotiate prices or have the current owner fix those problems before purchase. Structural problems are expensive to fix, so a damp and timber survey could save you thousands of pounds, making it well worth the initial upfront costs of organising a professional report.

Damp and timber reports have a number of benefits that make them an essential part of pre-purchase home surveys:

  • Identify dangerous or costly damp and timber problems

  • Identify problem areas below ground level, which might not be evident without a professional

  • Identify areas of the home that may become a problem in the future, if not well maintained

  • Avoid the need for expensive damp proofing after purchase

  • Avoid the need for expensive post-purchase woodworm treatments

  • Prepare the home for condensation or damp in winter

  • Identify the source of musty smells

  • Create a healthier home environment

Contact Danford Brewer & Ives today

Danford Brewer & Ives has been providing damp and timber reports for decades to homeowners in Yorkshire, Teesside and North East England. We’re happy to discuss the benefits of a damp and timber survey with you in more detail.

Please contact our friendly team on 01765 804050 or fill in our online contact form. Our technical team will be on hand with expert advice tailored to resolve your problem.


How-to-treat-condensation

How to Keep Condensation and Damp Out This Winter

With winter fast approaching, it’s time to start shoring up your defences against the oncoming tide of condensation and damp, which can severely affect homes during the colder months of the year.

Condensation is the most common problem for homeowners in winter, with poor ventilation leading to lots of potential for hot and cold air to collide. While condensation is easily avoided, if it’s left for too long it can start to cause mould or even damage to walls and ceilings.

Condensation is a mild form of damp, but homeowners also need to be on the lookout for more serious damp problems during winter. Rising damp and penetrating damp are much more serious issues, leading to mould and potential structural problems.

It’s important to know the difference between damp and condensation and to know how to keep condensation and damp out of your home during winter.

Condensation During Winter

Condensation is the most common form of damp, and during winter it can be a real pain for homeowners. Thankfully, it’s usually more annoying than it is dangerous, and there are plenty of quick fixes to keep your home condensation-free during winter.

Condensation happens when hot, moisture-heavy air collides with colder, drier air. As the air mixes, condensation (water droplets) forms on windows, doors, and ceilings.

If you’re having a hot shower in winter, your windows and mirrors will steam up as condensation forms. In the kitchen, switch on the kettle or start simmering a hearty winter soup and you have the same problem.

Condensation forms on colder surfaces, which are more prevalent in winter than in summer. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that we keep our doors and windows closed during winter, to keep in the heat and to keep out the cold.

Poor ventilation is the biggest cause of condensation in winter, but also the easiest fix: just open the window. However, condensation can form in less obvious places, where it can become more of an issue. Check out this article on how to treat condensation in your homes.

Condensation often forms on the ceiling and can get into the attic during winter. This is when it could start to cause damage to your painting and plastering or, if left long enough, to the structure itself. As a form of damp, excessive levels of condensation lead to mould, which can cause respiratory problems. In the depths of winter, respiratory illness is the last thing you need.

Damp During Winter

While condensation is a form of damp, there are more serious types of damp that you need to be aware of. Damp can occur at any time of the year, but in winter the problems are worsened by colder weather and lack of ventilation.

Rising damp occurs when moisture starts moving up from the ground and into the structure of your home. It’s common in older houses, but rare in newer homes that have been adequately damp-proofed.

Penetrating damp is more common, and occurs when water starts moving down or horizontally through structures. It’s often the result of cracks in the walls, loose tiles and leaks. Due to temperature differences and bad weather, cracks and leaks are more common in winter than other times of the year. If you own a listed building, then check out this article on how to treat damp in listed buildings.

Both rising and penetrating damp can lead to mould as well as structural problems, so it’s crucial that you lookout for early signs (and musty smells). If you think you have a rising or penetrating damp problem during winter, contact the professionals immediately.

Tips to Reduce Condensation and Damp

While condensation and damp can be serious, in most cases there are a few simple fixes that can help you to avoid any serious problems.

Here are our best tips to help you avoid condensation and damp this winter.

  • Open the Windows

Our biggest tip isn’t exactly a secret: open your windows!

Condensation thrives in a closed environment, especially in bathrooms and kitchens where there’s lots of moist air hanging around. Yes it might be cold outside, but try to open the window, even if it’s just for a few minutes while you’re boiling the kettle or in the shower.

  • Check Your Extractor Fans

If your bathroom and kitchen are fitted with extractor fans, this should take care of excess moisture. You need to make sure that the extractor fan is actually switched on, though.

It’s good practice to check your fans are ventilating properly and extracting efficiently. Give them a check before winter arrives.

  • Set Up a Dehumidifier

For serious cases of condensation that could lead to worsening damp, you might want to set up a dehumidifier to get rid of the excess moisture in the air.

Dehumidifiers aren’t ideal, but they are cheaper than dealing with structural problems if damp gets into the walls.

  • Fix Cracks and Broken Tiles

Cracks and broken roof tiles are the easiest way for water to get into your home, and for penetrating damp to become a serious problem.

Before winter, have your house checked over and fill in any obvious cracks or sort any issues with the roof. During winter, look for any new damage after severe storms or extremely cold temperatures.

Act Fast to Keep Condensation and Damp Out

The most important thing you can do if you have excess condensation or visible damp problems is to act quickly.

Leaving damp, even in its mildest form, can lead to damage to your property, structural issues with your floors, walls, or ceilings, and respiratory illness. Damp can be an issue any time of the year, but it’s more likely to occur in winter.

Act fast, start ventilating your home, and call in the professionals if you aren’t sure how severe the problem is or what fix you need.

Contact Danford Brewer & Ives today, to learn more about keeping out condensation and damp this winter.

We’re experts in damp-proofing services and have been advising homeowners in Yorkshire, Teesside and North East England for decades. We’re happy to discuss your issues and confident that our professional staff can provide the best solutions to keep your home damp and condensation free this winter.

Please contact our friendly team on 01765 804050 or fill in our online contact form. Our technical team will be on hand with expert advice tailored to resolve your problem.

 


woodworm infestation

How to spot a woodworm infestation

A woodworm infestation isn’t something you want to deal with inside your home, but it’s vital that you act fast with an appropriate woodworm treatment.

Woodworms love to infest timber and they can quickly cause structural damage if left to burrow around through your walls and supports. But it’s not always easy to know when you have an active woodworm infestation in your home.

Luckily, there are several tell-tale woodworm signs that anyone can look out for. If you think you have seen any of these woodworm calling cards, then the best course of action is to call in the woodworm treatment professionals!

The Five Signs of Woodworm Infestation

There are a variety of different species of insect that we collectively call woodworm. While they all look slightly different, have a range of sizes and slightly different habitat preferences, they all affect timbers in the same way.

Woodworm larvae, regardless of their exact species, love to burrow through the wood in search of cellulose, their source of nourishment. As they grow into full-sized beetles, they burrow their way back out of the wood and make their exit.

This burrowing is not good for wood. Over time, increased woodworm activity can lead to structural damage. However, woodworm leaves a trail behind them, and with a keen eye and some investigation, you can pick up on woodworm signs and establish whether you have an active woodworm infestation and if you need woodworm treatment.

These are the five major woodworm signs you may notice in your property.

1. Exit Holes

One of the easiest ways to identify a potential woodworm infestation is through the presence of exit holes in your timber. As they burrow through timbers, woodworm will eventually break out of the wood, leaving behind a small exit hole.

Exit holes can be as small as 2mm in width (depending on the species) but are often no larger than 5mm. You might find only one or two holes, or you might notice hundreds covering a beam or plank of wood. The extent of the holes depends on the extent of the woodworm infestation.

While exit holes are one of the easiest woodworm signs to notice, they might not indicate the presence of an active infestation if they aren’t fresh. Either way, it’s good practice to get a professional to have a closer inspection.

2. Frass

Another of the more visible woodworm signs you could find is frass. When woodworms burrow through timbers they leave behind a thin layer of powdery dust that often lines exit holes or drops through cracks onto the floor.

Knowing that this dust could be frass can help you identify an infestation early on. Frass also contains woodworm waste (delightful!), but this waste can help a professional identify which species they are dealing with – and that can help them to implement a more effective woodworm treatment.

3. Tunnels

If woodworms have been burrowing away inside timbers, they will leave behind long tunnels within the wood. Unfortunately, if there are no exit holes yet you might not be able to readily spot these.

However, these tunnels are the real danger behind a woodworm infestation. Tunnels weaken timber and can eventually cause it to collapse. If you notice any other woodworm signs, it’s important to get a professional in quickly to check for a more complex system of tunnels within your wood.

4. Damaged Wood

If you find damaged or crumbling wood, this can be a serious sign that you have a woodworm problem in an advanced stage.

You might see cracks, weakened supports or frayed edges on skirting boards. If these look like they could be woodworm related, then you’ll need to think about a woodworm treatment ASAP.

However, damaged wood might also be a sign that you have dry rot or wet rot within your home, so contact a professional for further advice.

5. Beetles: Dead or Alive

If you see beetles in your home, that’s it’s a big giveaway that you have a woodworm infestation. Woodworm larvae grow into full-sized beetles so if you have large numbers of beetles within your home, you could have had a problem for a while already.

Beetles often remain hidden out of sight but will be drawn towards windows and light sources. They are at their most active in mating season, between May and October when you can often spot them flying around. For most people, beetle activity is the first sign they might notice of a woodworm infestation, especially if there’s no visible damage to timbers.

While the other signs are incredibly important, exit holes and frass can often be difficult to spot in comparison to a large beetle flying through your house!

Read this article on how to prevent and treat woodworm.

Why Is It Important to Identify Woodworm Infestation Early?

If you notice any of the five major signs above, you should first check to see if there are any other major warnings you might have missed. Check your timbers and supports, particularly in areas such as the attic where you might not often visit.

If you’re worried that you have signs of a woodworm infestation, then call in a professional to conduct a survey.

In some cases, woodworm infestations might have died out before you even noticed, but often, you will need an effective woodworm treatment to avoid any further damage. A professional will be able to tell quickly if you need to take further action. Leaving a woodworm infestation can eventually lead to major structural damage, which is why it’s important to act on the warning signs.

Danford Brewer & Ives has been providing woodworm treatment services for decades to homeowners in Yorkshire, Teesside and North East England. We’re happy to discuss your issues and provide the best treatment to resolve your woodworm infestation.

Please contact our friendly team on 01765 804050 or fill in our online contact form. Our technical team will be on hand with expert advice tailored to resolve your problem.


sell a house with rising damp

Can you sell a house with rising damp?

Selling a House with Damp Issues

House owners with damp problems often find themselves in a difficult situation when it comes to selling their house to prospective buyers, who might treat the damp problem out to be more serious than it actually is, just to discount their offer. There are ways of dealing with rising damp to ensure you receive the best sale price for your property.

What is rising damp?

Rising damp happens when moisture from the ground travels vertically through the walls by capillary action.

In other words, the masonry acts like a wick sucking up groundwater through tiny tubes - a bit like if there were straws in the bricks.

Obvious signs of rising damp are patches of damp on external walls or moss growth.

Interior walls may look, or feel, wet.

There could be damage to walls, for example, if wallpaper comes loose, or you will see a tidemark.

Mortar might crumble, and you could see white salt deposits appear.

What causes rising damp?

Most buildings have something called a damp proof course (although in some older buildings this may be non-existent).

This is a barrier made of non-absorbent water-resistant materials such as slate, bitumen and plastic, which can over time become ineffective and that is where the water starts to travel up the wall.

Rising damp on internal walls

You may notice patches of damp creeping up your walls.

These stains, which appear like tidemarks, indicate how far the moisture is being drawn up.

The height it travels depends upon the pore structure of bricks and masonry.

The higher number of pores, the higher the water will rise.

The water, which comes up from the ground, contains salts and these are then deposited on the walls when it evaporates.

If you see white fluffy deposits and bubbles on the surface of your wall, then the chances are you have rising damp.

There are two main types of salt; sulphates, which result in crusty white patches, and invisible hygroscopic salts known as nitrates and chlorides.

The hygroscopic salts continue to draw moisture and must be treated.

But is it really rising damp?

Not all cases of damp on walls turn out to be rising damp; some patches are caused by something as simple as condensation.

The PCA (Property Care Association) offers good advice around this in their Code of Practice for the Investigation and Control of Dampness in Buildings, referring to BS5250: 2011 which states:

"One of the most reliable ways that may be used to differentiate between dampness due to condensate and due to rising damp is to compare moisture in the contents of samples of masonry, or preferably mortar, from within the depth of the wall and near the inner surface of the wall; samples from within the wall will not be damp if surface condensation is the sole cause."

Does damp affect the sale price of a property?

Yes.

The issue most prospective buyers will have with rising damp is not knowing the extent of the problem.

This means they will not know what offer on the property will also cover the cost of having the damp treated.

That is when a specialist needs to take a look.

Can a house with serious damp issues be sold?

The simple answer is ‘yes’, but it depends on the price you want to sell for.

Obviously, in most cases, a survey will be carried out and damp issues will be revealed.

If that is the case, a mortgage lender will more often than not require further investigation from a specialist surveyor.

Some lenders will take into account the cost of work outlined in the surveyor's report and offer a mortgage subject to retention.

This is where a mortgage lender withholds a proportion of a mortgage until the buyer has completed certain works on the property.

As long as the buyer doesn’t reduce their offer, this is a good outcome for the seller.

In severe cases of rising damp, mortgage companies won’t lend and that means the seller will either need to carry out the work themselves or sell to a cash buyer.

For a sale to a cash buyer, there will be a discount; sellers should expect a 10 to 20 per cent discount on market value, plus a discount for the cost of work.

Can I paint over rising damp?

No. It is now a legal requirement to declare any problems (in the seller’s property information questionnaire).

You cannot just paint over the problem and hope for the best.

Will a HomeBuyers survey pick up damp?

Damp is one of the things the survey looks for in an inspection and they will take into account any visual evidence as well as check the walls with a handheld moisture meter.

Four steps you need to take to treat rising damp:

  • Remove the surrounding soil or bridging material to be a minimum of 150mm below the existing Damp Proof Course.
  • Inject a Chemical Damp Proof Course.
  • Replace any damp or rotten flooring.
  • Remove and replace any plasterwork, such as skirting boards or radiators, if necessary.

How much does it cost to treat a damp problem?

The best course of action is to start by having the damp issue inspected by a professional contractor.

As an example of the costs involved in treating rising damp, the work might typically involve the installation of a chemical injected into holes in the masonry to repel water, or a new damp membrane can be fitted to act as a physical barrier to repel moisture.

The area will need to be redecorated with a new salt-retardant plaster and skirting board.

In the case of damp proofing a property, the cost is likely to be between £70-100 per linear metre for the damp proofing, while the cost of plastering and reinstating skirting boards and electricity sockets will be extra.

For a typical three-bedroom house, the average cost of damp proofing is between £3,000 to £4,000, the costs will vary depending on the extent of damp issue and size of the room.

The damp proofing treatment itself can usually be completed within one to three days.

It is the drying time that can be lengthy; it might take up to one month per inch of wall thickness to dry.

The use of a dehumidifier will accelerate the process.

Danford Brewer & Ives – Rising Damp Specialists

Danford Brewer & Ives has been providing damp proofing services for several decades to homeowners in Yorkshire, Teesside and North East England. Our years' of experience mean that we can discuss your issue and recommend the right treatment to resolve rising damp issues.

We are here to help so if you have any nagging questions or are unsure about any aspect of this rising damp, then please contact us on 01765 804050 or fill our online contact form. Our technical team are always happy to help.


Woodworm treatment

How to Prevent and Treat Woodworm

Woodworm are wood-eating larvae. There are many species of these beetles, but the common furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum) is the most widespread in the UK. These beetles bore holes in wood in the larval stage and feed on it. Despite what their name may suggest, the common furniture beetle is just as likely to tunnel through building timber like joists and floorboards.

There are various signs that you may have a woodworm infestation. The most telling sign of woodworm is the exit hole they leave behind from breaking through the surface. These holes are typically between 1mm to 1.5mm in diameter but can be larger for species like the House Longhorn beetle. Powdery dust around the exit holes is another visible sign of an infestation.

Woodworm can be a serious issue, especially when an infestation is active on the structural timbers of a property. Here we’ll look at how to prevent and treat woodworm before it can cause even more damage.

Woodworm Prevention

Even if there are none of the tell-tale signs of woodworm, taking preventative measures can safeguard your property against these invasive pests.

High humidity levels – above 60% – in a home are more likely to lead to an infestation. Keep your home well ventilated to prevent the timber from becoming moist. Consider investing in a timber moisture meter, a tool that allows you to measure moisture levels in wood. Basement waterproofing is a must, as these areas are prone to damp.

Another preventative measure to protect against woodworm infestations is to apply varnish to wood. Varnish is a clear protective finish that essentially acts as a seal, as it prevents water from penetrating through. You can buy wood varnish from any hardware store or online.

Woodworm Treatment

Woodworm treatment for common furniture beetles is fairly straightforward in most cases. If the infestation is minor, you can treat it yourself using treatment products. There are treatment fluids available that kill larvae and adult beetles. Simply spray or paint the treatment fluid on the affected wood. This helps to prevent any emerging woodworm beetles and prevents them from laying more eggs. Any structural timbers that have been weakened as a result of an infestation should also be removed and replaced with treated timber.

For more severe cases of woodworm, we strongly recommend professional treatments. The precise method of treatment can vary depending on the species that has infested your property. For example, treatment fluids can be used for common furniture beetle. But other species like the House Longhorn beetle cause more extensive damage, so the timber would need to be drilled to inject a gel or paste woodworm treatment.

In either case, getting a professional site survey is highly recommended to identify the extent of the infestation and the best treatment option.

Have you noticed any signs of woodworm in your property? Then contact Danford Brewer & Ives today on 01765 804050 or via our online form, and we can arrange a site survey for a small fee, which is refundable if you proceed with the full works.


Effects of damp on plaster

10 Signs of Rising Damp

Rising damp is when moisture is present on the walls of a building. It occurs when water from the ground rises through the walls as a result of capillary action. This means that groundwater is absorbed through small openings, such as thin gaps and holes. Building materials like stone and brick are particularly susceptible due to their porous structure.

Rising damp is more common in older buildings, but it can also occur in modern buildings if they do not have proper damp proofing or the damp-proof course (a waterproof layer built in the wall) is damaged. If rising damp is left untreated, it can cause extensive structural damage to your property.

Here are ten common signs that your property has rising damp.

1. Tide Marks

The most common sign of rising damp is a visible tide mark, typically about a metre high above floor level. These marks are caused by evaporation of the moisture and salts from the ground and can be visible on the interior and exterior of a building.

2. Damp Patches

Another indication that your property is affected by rising damp is the presence of damp patches or water stains on your walls. These are typically yellow or brown (or a combination of the two) in colour and are visible above the skirting board.

3. Peeling Wallpaper or Paint

Rising damp increases moisture levels within your walls, which can cause the wallpaper or paint around the skirting board to start peeling.

4. Rotting Skirting Boards

Along with visible damp patches and peeling wallpaper, rising damp can also cause the skirting boards that cover the lower part of a wall to rot or decay. Skirting boards are mainly for decorative purposes, but rising damp can be more serious if structural timbers start to rot.

5. Black Mould

Black mould is characterised by dark spots and is especially harmful to your health. It can spread over larger areas if the moisture is not dealt with. Black mould is a clear indication that dampness is affecting the area.

6. Formation of White Deposits

Efflorescence is a white deposit that is commonly found on porous surfaces, such as brick, stone, and concrete. The formation of these deposits occurs when water dissolves the natural salts within the materials and pushes them through to the surface.

7. Floor Coverings Lifting

Excessive moisture levels may push through a building’s concrete slab, causing the floor coverings to lift up or become loose.

8. Musty Odour

Even if the signs of rising damp aren’t obvious or visible, you can often smell damp or a musty odour around the affected areas.

9. Discolouration of Exterior Walls

Rising damp can cause discolouration on exterior walls due to the groundwater pushing through the porous materials. Examples include mouldy spots and black stains.

10. Corroded Bricks and Mortar

Brick is an extremely durable building material, but it can start to corrode if it stays wet for prolonged periods or the moisture problem is left untreated. The mortar between the bricks can also lose its adhesive properties and turn crumbly.

If you recognise any of these signs, then we strongly recommend damp proofing your property as soon as possible to prevent any further damage. Contact Danford Brewer & Ives on 01765 804050 or fill in our online form to arrange a site survey and have our professionals treat your rising damp problem.