Can a builder fix damp? Or do you need a specialist?

Damp can enter a property from many different places. It can enter via defects in the walls, through leaking roofs and even rise from the ground below you.

Depending on where you find damp, you may wonder who the best person is to call. For example, can a general builder fix damp, or would you be better hiring a professional damp proofing company.

A general, residential builder should be able to help with a variety of damp issues. They will usually have broad experience in a variety of trades and may specialise in one in particular. For example: Bricklaying, joinery, etc.

However, if the damp problem is more complex, you will need to seek help from a professional damp expert.

What types of damp can a builder help with?

can a builder fix damp

There are many types of damp that a builder can help with. In fact, many jobs could even be achieved by a handyman, or even as a DIY project.

Some of these jobs would include things like:

  • Replacing cracked bricks
  • Repointing
  • Repairing damaged rendering
  • Applying damp paints and slurry’s
  • Fixing damaged guttering and down pipes
  • Resealing around windows and doors

A builder, or a handyman, could also be a good choice for internal repair work, such as re-plastering, replacing damaged woodwork and even decorating.

Generally, any issue that is causing damp to penetrate through the walls and around windows and doors, should fall into a builder’s wheelhouse.

Any of these could be achieved by either a damp proofing company or general builder. Many could even be fixed as a DIY project.

There are also some jobs that should usually be done by a specialist trade. These include:

  • Rendering an entire house
  • Roofing
  • Installing new UPVC windows and doors

A general builder may be able to do these types of jobs. However, it is usually recommended that you hire someone who specialises in the trade. After all, a bad render job is going to be very noticeable, and a leaking roof, due to a bodged job could cause a lot of damage.

The advantage with a specialist trade, is they do these jobs every single day. This means they are completely focused on this specific discipline.

When to avoid hiring a builder for damp proofing work

For a lot of jobs, hiring either a damp expert or a general builder would be fine. You may even find that the price you pay is quite similar. However, there are times when a specialist can provide extra knowledge, that is required to do the work properly. Some examples include:

Replacing physical damp proof course (DPC)

This is a specialist job and requires a certain level of skill and experience. The brickwork will need removing in sections to insert a new DPC. There will also be internal damp proof rendering and plastering that is required.

This could potentially be achieved by a builder, who is an experienced bricklayer. However, it again boils down to repetitive experience. A damp company with brickies that do this all the time, might be better than a general builder who has maybe done this job once or twice.

Obviously, there are also simple DIY options, if you decide to go down the chemical DPC route.

Basement tanking and conversion

Again, this is highly specialised work. If you intend for your basement to be a usable room, it could require a sophisticated cellar tanking system.

This could include pump systems that are placed under the basement floor. These then collect moisture from the basement via channels that collect water and direct it towards the pump. Following this, the water is pumped outside into an external drain.

This is highly specialised work, and a general builder will usually not have experience setting this up.

Full damp surveys

One of the biggest frustrations with damp, is it can be difficult to locate the exact cause. In some cases, it may be obvious. For example, a roof leak might be easy to find, and penetrating damp caused by a cracked brick, or damaged pointing is often obvious. However, this is not always the case.

Sometimes damp can find its way into your home via unusual routes. A good example of this, would be water entering high up on an external wall via a defect, but then bridging your cavity lower down. In this case the cause of damp may not be obvious.

The advantage with a specialist, is they are dealing with this type of issue every day. As a result, they will come across problems regularly, that a general builder may not.

Who will cost more damp company Vs builder?

If you are having a complex damp issue fixed it can be an expensive job. But what if the job could be done by a builder or a damp proofing company. Which is going to be the most cost effective?

In both cases you are hiring a skilled trade. Due to this, you should expect to pay a professional rate. However, one will not necessarily be more expensive than the other. The price will usually be based on the cost of materials and a day rate for the worker. Obviously, you may expect to pay more hiring a larger company, as opposed to an individual local tradesman.

The best thing you can do is get quotes from both. Make sure the quotes are for the same work and simply compare.

If you really want to save money, you can take this one step further and compare multiple quotes. Online comparison sites make this very simple nowadays, as a result you can get several local quotes for the same job, at the click of a button.

There are several advantages to this:

  1. You will get a mixture of builders and specialist damp proofers applying.
  2. People with experience in the job are most likely to apply.
  3. You can read past reviews and see similar work they have carried out before.
  4. It is a competitive marketplace. These companies will all try to compete on price.

Due to these points, you can make sure you find the right person for the job, and often save a good amount of money in the process. We have seen discounts anywhere from 20-50+% when people compare this way.

For the best place to compare local damp specialists and builders Click Here

Conclusion

Builders are experienced in a broad range of skills; due to this, they can probably help with most damp problems. However, there is a lot to be said for experience and a damp specialist will have much more focused knowledge. Because of this, they are usually the best choice for more complex damp proofing jobs.

It is also worth noting, that most damp-proof companies will offer guarantees for the work carried out. These can often be up to 20+ years guarantee. You may not get this type of assurance from your local builder