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.


condensation on glass

The Difference Between Rising Damp and Condensation

Dampness occurs when unwanted moisture is present in the structure of a building. It’s a major problem that affects many properties, as it can lead to growth of mould and even cause extensive structural damage. There are different types of damp, but rising damp and condensation are two of the most common that you might find in your home.

Being able to tell the difference is important. The type of damp affecting your property will determine the best treatment method and how to prevent it from occurring again. Here we’ll look at the differences between rising damp and condensation, and common signs to look for.

What Is Rising Damp?

Rising damp occurs when moisture from the ground moves through a wall via capillary action – narrow spaces such as cracks and small holes that push the flow of water upwards. Materials like concrete, stone, and brick are susceptible to rising damp because of their porous structure. Rising damp is common in older structures, but modern buildings can also be affected if the damp-proof course is damaged.

Here are common signs of rising damp:

  • Tide marks or water stains
  • Peeling plaster or wallpaper
  • Rotting skirting boards
  • Black mouldy spots
  • Floor coverings lifting up
  • Visible white deposits
  • Damp or musty odours

These signs can be visible on the interior and exterior of a building. Rising damp often leads to timber decay, which can cause structural damage to the property if left untreated. Treating rising damp isn’t just a matter of replacing the plaster or skirting boards. The source of the problem itself needs to be treated or the problem will recur.

Treating rising damp typically consists of removing and repairing all affected areas, and installing a damp-proof course (a waterproof horizontal strip) directly into the wall above ground level. The damp-proof course prevents groundwater from flowing through the wall. Because of the work involved, professional damp proofing is strongly recommended.

What Is Condensation?

Condensation is another damp problem – perhaps the most common – that affects all property types. It occurs when warm air comes into contact with cool surfaces. Condensation frequently occurs in rooms that have a lot of moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Common signs of condensation include:

  • Water droplets on window panes or walls
  • Appearance of black mould
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Musty smells

If condensation isn’t treated right away, it can develop into longer-lasting problems. These can include damage to the paint or plaster, and the growth of mould across a surface. Mouldy environments are a serious concern, as they can become a health hazard for you and your family.

Improving the ventilation of moisture-prone areas can help to reduce condensation problems. This can be as simple as opening windows and using a dehumidifier or an extractor fan to control humidity levels. Regularly wiping down walls and window frames with soapy water can also help to prevent the growth of black mould.

If problems like rising damp and condensation continue to plague your property, contact Danford Brewer & Ives on 01765 804050 or via our online form to have our damp-proofing specialists conduct a full site survey.


Damp free house

Top Tips for Keeping Your Home Damp-Free

Damp in homes is a common issue. Recent research suggests that around 11% of homes will have noticeable signs of damp. Whether it is black spots around the bathtub or condensation on the window, most of us could recognise the signs. But, if left untreated, damp can cause some serious issues. Not only can it lead to expensive home repairs but it can also affect your health. Modern building regulations require buildings to install damp proof course and damp-proof membranes into the wall and floors, which helps in preventing damp significantly.

When it comes to damp, prevention is the best way forward. Follow these steps to keep damp outside of your home.

Look for Signs of Damp

You might not notice you have damp until the obvious signs appear. But by this point, it can be too far gone for a quick fix. It is important you keep an eye out so if damp does occur you catch it fast.

A telling sign of damp is mould. This could be dark spots on the grouting in your bathroom or discoloured patches on walls. Another sign is condensation on your windows. This means there is excess moisture in the air and can be accompanied by little puddles of water on your windowsills. Also, stay aware of any musty smells and look inside the backs of cabinets and cupboards for any wet or discoloured patches.

You shouldn’t always wait for these signs. Get into the habit of checking around your home. If walls are cold or damp to the touch, you should pay more attention moving forward. And be wary of any plumbing that is loose or old as this could leak.

Outside maintenance

A little bit of outside maintenance can go a long way in reducing your chances of damp. Check your roof regularly, especially after a storm, to make sure it is all intact and there are no leaks. Also, try to keep your gutters clear of leaves or debris. If you notice any problems, make sure you fix them sooner rather than later before damp has the chance to spread.

Regulate temperature

A key factor of damp is condensation that is caused by excess moisture in your home. A way to avoid condensation is to regulate your home’s temperature. If you set your thermostat to a lower temperature but keep it on for longer, you avoid sudden rises or falls. It is these quick changes in temperature that lead to condensation.

It is also worth considering double-glazed windows if you don’t already have them. They prevent warm air from inside the house hitting the cold glass of an outside window.

Minimise moisture

You can buy dehumidifiers to keep around your house which will capture excess moisture from the air. You also want to avoid drying clothes around your house as this will be counterproductive to your moisture reduction efforts.

Ventilation

As well as reducing the amount of moisture inside the property, you want to allow any moisture to escape quickly.

Consider installing extractor fans in your bathroom or kitchen if you don’t have them already. If you do have them, make sure they are on for plenty of time to allow any moisture to escape.

A simple tip is to open your windows wherever possible. It isn’t ideal in the colder months, but it is extremely effective at getting the moisture out. If your windows have it, make use of the option to lock them slightly ajar so you minimise the cold air getting in.

Act fast

In some cases, you will notice damp in your home but it will be advanced enough to need larger intervention. If the damp is severe, act fast to get the necessary solution. You want to solve whatever is causing your damp quickly before the fix becomes even more expensive.

Damp can be a massive inconvenience for renters and homeowners alike. And, unfortunately, it is fairly common and will affect a lot of us. Luckily, there are simple things you can do to reduce your chances of being caught out. If you do find damp in your home, act fast and damp proof it sooner rather than later.

At Danford Brewer & Ives, we are equipped to tackle all sorts of damp issues. Whether you have a rising damp, penetrating damp, or condensation problem, we can take the necessary steps to stop and rectify the damage. The sooner you get in touch, the sooner your home can be damp-free. If you have any questions, get in touch on 01765 804050.


A Simple Guide for Buying or Selling a House with Dry Rot

Guide for Buying or Selling a House with Dry Rot

Buying or selling a house with dry rot can be a big challenge for both the buyer and seller. In comparison to wet rot, dry rot is more dangerous. It is a type of fungi that spreads rapidly without showing any signs of damage.

If you are trying to sell a house with dry rot, it would be a smarter idea to treat dry rot to a certain level at least, before you put up the house for sale. If you live in a place where dry rot is a common problem, it is highly advised that you get your home inspected professionally before putting it up for sale.

You might think that it is not essential to treat dry rot before selling the house; however, it can leave a significant impact on its selling price. If a buyer detects dry rot, you will likely get a lower price for your house in comparison to the amount you pay for treatment. If dry rot is mostly on the surface of the wood and has not penetrated deep into the wood or not caused any structural damage to the house, then chances are that you will have to pay less for treatment.

Sometimes, dry rot treatment can be simple as cleaning rot where you only need wood treatment along with a fresh coat of wood paint. In such a case, you would only spend a few hundred pounds maybe, but you will probably gain thousands of pounds on your property’s value.

As a buyer, you would have to keep your eyes open and be well aware of how you should inspect dry rot. You might not take dry rot seriously before purchasing the house, but after purchasing, it would be on your shoulders solely to treat dry rot if you do not want to deal with further structural damage.

A few signs that might help you detect dry rot:

  • Pungent smell
  • Puckered wood or bumpy wood
  • Soft or spongy wood
  • Wood cracks
  • Paint cracks or chipping
  • Wood discoloration

If you see any of these signs, make sure that you inspect it further by poking the wood with a screwdriver or a knife.

However, if you are purchasing a house where dry rot is a common problem, it is advised that you take a professional with you so that there is no chance of missing any sign of dry rot. An expert will not only investigate dry rot, but he/she will also tell you about the scale of damage. Getting a professional’s help is a smarter idea than trying to investigate dry rot by yourself because detecting it requires experience.

In case you have already bought a home, and found dry rot in it, then hiring a professional to investigate dry rot should be your top priority. After investigation, make sure that you get dry rot treated at earliest to stop it from spreading and causing devastating damages to property.


Cellar Conversion Costs

Cost Considerations You Should Keep In Mind Before Converting Your Basement or Cellar

You may have seen some fantastic basement or cellar conversions around in your friend’s home or on the internet, and you may be tempted to jump in headfirst into a basement conversion project in your own home, then you must curb your enthusiasm and proceed with caution.

Like all building projects, cellar conversions and installations need money and planning because costs quickly pile up and get out of hand, if you are unprepared.

The advantages of installing a cellar or a cellar conversion are numerous. One of the most significant rewards is the value that a cellar conversion can add to your property. Additionally, a cellar is extra space that you can use for leisure, storage, as a spare bedroom or even an annexe.

Following are some significant considerations that should be kept in mind before you start with cellar conversions:

Size and Plan for the Area

A major price-deciding factor is the size of your property and the size of the cellar conversion.  Converting an existing cellar will cost less than installing a new one which requires digging and underpinning a new cellar can cost anywhere from £2,000 to £3,000 per m²per.

Lowering the floor level and underpinning will cost up to £2,000 per m². Plaster and renovations will cost between £700 and £1500 per m².

Your plan for an area will also have a direct impact on the cost of the cellar conversion. Are you setting up a bathroom? If yes, then it will require plumbing and drainage. Will you have a swimming pool in the cellar? If yes, then you will need to increase the budget for damp proofing.

Lighting and the addition of proper ventilation will increase the cost significantly.

Planning Permission and Regulation Fees

If you are doing any building or conversions in your house, you have to be a 100% sure that they abide by your local building regulation, so before you proceed, check with the local council or LPA. It is likely that you will need to get permission before you start and submit your building plan for approval. All this will add to the cost of your cellar conversions.

Additional Jobs

Your cellar conversion may result in a few extra jobs that need to be paid for including diverting plumbing pipes, moving the boiler, additional waterproofing, removing excavated materials, and more jobs. Thus, you should be prepared to add these into your budget.

Engineer and Contractor Fees

You will have to pay the engineer and the professionals for their work. Some companies will provide end-to-end services. Otherwise, you will have to hire a different professional for different jobs. Ask for no-obligation quotes to get an idea of the costs before you settle on a service for cellar conversions.

Research and preparations will help you evade the undesirable scenario of leaving the conversion half done. After all, no one wants a half dug up cellar or basement with no more money to complete the job.


rotten old wooden window frame

How to Inspect Your Windows and Doors for Wood Rot

Guide to Inspecting Your Windows and Doors for Wood Rot

Wood rot initially might not appear to be a big problem. It may often go completely obscure. Essentially, dry wood rot is a fungus that spreads and grows in the moist areas within the wood. Windows and doors are at high risk of wood rot. Therefore, you would have to keep an eye on every change in your windows and doors.

Dry rot is more dangerous than wet rot. The sooner you will detect dry rot in your windows and doors; more are the chances that you will be able to fix the problem without spending a ton of money. However, if you delay the wood rot inspection and detect it when it is too late, then you would be left with no other choice but to replace the wood. In the worst case, the dry wood rot can cause structural damage to your home.

To stay on the safe side, inspecting dry wood rot should be on your to-do list regularly; especially for the parts of the house that are exposed to water or receives the most rainfall. Older homes are at a higher risk of dry wood rot as compared to homes built within two years. If you detect dry wood rot, fixing it should be on top of your to-do list because you should never delay its treatment on your windows and doors.

There are a few signs that might help you detect wood rot:

Wood Feels Soft to Touch:

The wood should never feel soft! If your wood feels soft or spongy, you should immediately check for dry rot.

Discolouration:

If you see that colour of your window or door is changing, then it might be an indicator of dry rot. If your wood is painted, you might see signs like paint chipping or crackers before wood discolouration is apparent.

Wood Starts To Pucker Or Crack:

Cracks or splitting can occur due to several reasons; however, if your window or door has started to pucker or bump, then it is a clear sign of dry rot.

Dry Rot Smell:

If your windows and/or doors have dry rot, it might emit a musty, fungal and damp smell. The smell does not indicate the intensity/level of dry rot; however, it plays a crucial role in detecting dry rot at an early stage.

If you inspect any of these signs, you should contact a professional to investigate the damage and get help to resolve the problem. However, you can start the inspection yourself by poking the wood with a knife or a screwdriver. If the wood has dry rot, you will be able to poke a hole in wood easily. Damp rot signs are usually more visible; thus, it is possible to take care of it and fix it on time. Whereas, dry rot acts more like a silent killer for wood.