Damp Survey

Qualified Damp Surveyors

Types of Damp

Damp doesn’t exist in one form.
There are several types you should be aware of:

Rising damp

If you’re buying a new property, rising damp would concern you most if it was found.
It occurs when any moisture from the ground moves through the walls as a result of capillary action.
Usually, rising damp leaves tide marks on a wall that can be anywhere up to one metre tall.
It will also eave residues of water and salts.
You may see peeling wallpaper, or any nails or screws in the skirting board may be rusted.

Lateral damp

Lateral damp can look similar to rising damp but usually comes through an outside wall or leaking pipes.
It can appear anywhere on a wall.
You may see patches there or on the ceiling, while plaster may crumble too.
The smell of mould and mildew are usually present, and you may see spores.

Penetrating damp

Penetrating damp also occurs through outside walls and you can usually see it on the outside because large patches of water appear on the exterior.
It can be prompted by missing roof tiles, leaking pipes or incorrectly fitted doors and windows.
Sometimes it can prove more expensive to fix if joists are faulty in the windows or walls.
More often, it tends to be caused by dislodged or damaged render or bricks.


Another type of damp you may encounter is condensation.
It is quite common, especially in older houses.
Don’t be fooled by thinking it is a minor problem; condensation can lead to a major one if left untreated.
Damp occurs when warm air rises before hitting a colder surface and then cools.
It can be more common in basements, but also in cold spaces with hot appliances such as a kitchen.
Because windows are usually colder, you may see condensation on them in warmer rooms.
A potential indicator of condensation includes wet walls, damp areas on a wall, peeling wallpaper, mould growth or musty smell on clothes in wardrobes.
Usually, condensation happens because of excessive water vapour inside the house.
It can be a result of poor ventilation or associated with damp problems elsewhere.

  • Removing 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 plaster work, skirting boards, radiators etc. if necessary.

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Damp and Timber Reports

A damp and timber report consists of a survey that is undertaken by a registered damp proofing professional to discover whether damp is present.

The damp specialist will also determine what kind of damp it is.

Damp surveyors also check timber to see if there are pest infestations or wood rot that could further degrade the integrity of the structure.

Usually, a surveyor will visit a property and then write a report that highlights the issues as well as providing estimated costs to solve the problem.

You’ll need a damp and timber report if you’re buying or selling a property because both can affect a property’s value.
Early detection of damp is vital to make sure you don’t have to deal later with any worst-case-scenarios.



What does a damp survey involve?

A surveyor starts their work at the front door.

Initially, they look at a property’s general construction to check it is in good condition.

At that stage, they may also ask you a series of questions to discover if you’re already aware of existing remedies or anything that has been done previously to treat damp, or if you have any guarantees to prove damp proofing has already been completed.

The surveyor will then carry out an inspection on the outside of the property to look for any problems in the structure that may be vulnerable to damp.

After the external exam, a surveyor will move inside.

Usually, they will focus on areas where damp has already been recognised.

They’ll also use a damp meter usually to identify anything not yet visible.

What is a damp timber survey?

A damp timber survey consists of a surveyor checking for issues with the timber in the property.

That includes looking for defects or decay, as well as identifying the presence of any fungi in the beams.

They look for harmful insects or fungi like woodworm, dry rot and wet rot.

If present, these will slowly eat away at the property and cause detrimental damage if unchecked.

The surveyor will attempt to discover the exact nature of a problem in order to provide a precise estimate of how to solve it.

How long does a damp survey take?

It can sometimes be difficult to predict how long a damp survey will take because it depends a lot on several different factors.

As a rule, you can probably expect it to last up to four hours.

It can take all day if a surveyor struggles to find the source of damp and can’t quickly assess what the problem is.

The amount of time it takes to conduct a damp survey can depend on things like the structure itself, the problem a property is suffering from, the extent of damage caused and a property’s size.

Damp is usually the result of other external problems, so a surveyor will check other things like the drainage system and any leakages to see if they are the source.

This too can lead to a damp survey needing more time.

How do surveyors measure damp?

A surveyor will use a several different types of equipment to determine how much damp is in a property.

Usually, they will check for its presence using an electrical conductance moisture meter.

These mostly assess how much damp is in timber, and an alternative approach is used to check for issues in other areas.

Surveyors can usually identify surface damp, and will need to conduct further tests.

They use a moisture meter to check two things mainly; first, to examine walls where the interior has no obvious sign of damp but where signals from other parts of the house have directed them to.

When a problem is more visible, they will use the meter to clarify how long damp has been present and if it has dried already.

If it hasn’t, and damp readings are high, they will then check all around the area to see how far moisture has dispersed.



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