Damp in UK properties is a common problem. It can come in 3 forms:
- Penetrating damp
- Rising damp
Of these three, condensation is the most common and thankfully it is the easiest to fix. In most cases you will not need an expert, or a damp survey to find and fix condensation.
Penetrating damp is also quite common, this is because it can enter your property anywhere and can be caused by a whole host of issues. Essentially it is any instance when water enters your home from outside.
Because the cause of penetrating damp is so varied, it is much more likely that you would need help to identify and fix it.
Rising damp is the least common, but it is also one of the most destructive. It can be very expensive, messy and time consuming to fix. Whilst it can be identified and fixed on your own, an expert is often the best choice.
If you have ruled out condensation and are still struggling to identify the cause of damp, getting a damp survey is usually going to be worth it. In most areas of the country, you can get an independent damp survey for around £200-£300.
You also have the option to get a free survey from a damp proofing company. Most damp companies will offer a full free survey. They do this in the hope that you will hire them to do the work.
You can easily compare local damp survey quotes online by clicking here
What is included in a damp survey?
A damp survey is a thorough investigation of a property to identify the cause of damp. When a surveyor arrives at a property, they will usually start by talking with the homeowner/tenant, to determine any obvious damp issues that have been noticed.
Following this initial discussion, the surveyor will inspect all areas of the property. This will usually start outside where they will look at the following:
- Downpipes and gutters – These are an extremely common cause of penetrating damp. When these water products are damaged, they can lead to large amounts of water collecting and running onto the property. Their main purpose is to drain water away, but if they are defective, they can have the opposite effect.
- External ground level and DPC issues – A very common issue is outside ground level being above the DPC (damp proof course). This can happen for several reasons, some of these include, patios, decking, raised flower beds, and any other form of earth that has been backed up onto the properties external wall.
- Damage to brickwork and pointing – Damp can find its way in through even the smallest gaps and cracks. The surveyor will take a thorough look at the external masonry. They may focus on areas you have identified as having issues.
- Rendering – An external render can provide fantastic protection from the elements. However, if there are defects, such as cracks and holes it provides the perfect entry point for external moisture.
- Damage to the roof – This can include issues with tiles, ridge caps, flashing and the chimney. The surveyor will look for obvious signs of damage, such as slipped, missing or cracked tiles and flashing. As well as damage to masonry and pointing.
Once the exterior inspection is carried out the damp survey will move indoors. Here the surveyor will be looking for signs of damp, both visually and using a damp-proof meter.
They will inspect the entire property. However, based on your initial discussion, and any external findings, they may focus their attention more in specific areas. This is the advantage of conducting the external inspection first, as it highlights any areas for concern.
The surveyor will take regular damp meter readings throughout the property. They may also check the relative humidity throughout your home. If humidity is high this is a major contributor to condensation.
If access is available, they will also check attics and basements, to identify any issues that are hidden away from the main living areas.
Essentially, both internal and external inspections are very thorough. Once complete, the damp surveyor should be able to identify all areas of concern.
What happens after a damp survey?
What happens after a damp survey, will depend on who carried it out. If it was an independent surveyor, they will usually produce a detailed report. This will include all the information they gathered during the survey. It will also detail all the issues causing damp and the solutions to fix the problem.
In most cases the surveyor will also provide estimates for the price of work to fix your damp problems.
If you used a damp proofing company and received a free survey, the report is likely to be far less detailed. Instead, the company will provide you with their findings and a quote to do the work. This is a more direct approach to resolving the problem, as you will only need to deal with one company.
If you have hired an independent surveyor, you will usually need to hire a separate damp company to resolve the issues.
A damp survey is certainly worth it if you’re having issues with damp. It will allow you to identify the exact cause of damp and the correct solution to stop it. If you decide to hire an independent surveyor, there is a cost, or you can get a free survey with most damp companies.
Whichever option you choose, you are likely to save money in the long run. Any damp that is left untreated will always get worse, and the longer it is left the more damage it will cause. This will mean the cost of fixing damp will almost always increase the longer it is ignored.
To get the best price on a damp survey and damp proofing work, we recommend that you compare quotes from local damp surveyors. This is very simple and can all be done online. Plus, you can read reviews and check a company’s credentials before you hire.
The easiest way to do this is via a comparison site. Most reputable companies use these platforms, and you can make some good savings by hiring this way.