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Has anyone had a damp proof course done without moving out..?

(27 Posts)
AddictedtoCrunchies Mon 13-Jun-11 15:12:05

I need to get my lounge/diner done and it's our main living area (kitchen on the back and two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs.).

There's me, DH and DS (3.6). I winder if we need to send DS to Grandma's for a few days as I think it's going to be very messy. Can anyone give me an idea on just how bad it's going to be..?


Pendeen Mon 13-Jun-11 15:33:48

What sort of damp proof course are you having installed because you certainly do not need a one for work on the first floor!!!

AddictedtoCrunchies Mon 13-Jun-11 15:40:46

It's downstairs in our lounge/diner. We have to have it taken back to brick up to a metre all the way round, then injected and replastered. I gave the number of rooms to demonstrate that it's a large proportion of our living space. We'd have to live upstairs for a few days as kitchen only small.

I just think that the mess is going to happen when they take all the plaster off as it's a big room.

Pendeen Mon 13-Jun-11 15:55:56

Sorry, I wasn't trying to be facetious. I have encountered the situation where an unscrupulous contractor tried to convince someone they had rising damp in a seventh floor flat!

The mess will be awful, plaster dust has the property of invading every space imaginable in spite of the most careful precautons and it's very persistent.

I would agree with you, it's a very good idea for your DS to be away whilst the work is being done.

Good luck with the work.

lalalonglegs Mon 13-Jun-11 16:00:38

It's all over quite quickly and compared to say, rewiring or replumbing not too disruptive (floorboards remain down, furniture can just be shifted into middle of the room etc). Send your son away if you can, but don't sweat it if you can't.

AddictedtoCrunchies Mon 13-Jun-11 19:33:20

Pendeed I didn't think you were - sorry if my reply implied that. blush

It's something that needs doing but I'm dreading the disruption.

Am going to just have to go for it I think. Damp man is coming Wed am to give a quote.

sixtiesqueen Mon 13-Jun-11 19:37:43

We are renovating a house at the moment and had one of the rooms done exactly as you describe just after we moved in (not the best time, on reflection!).

I have a blog at where you can see a photograph I uploaded of the room mid-damp proofing. This will give you some idea of the disruption - I uploaded it within the last few days.

For me, the worst part was the moisture in the air and the drilling and removing of the plaster. The dust was everywhere. Fortunately they kept the door closed to the room you see on the blog, however, they did a small bit of our sitting room too and didn't cover up the (new) telly so that got all sorts of crap in the back of it.

sixtiesqueen Mon 13-Jun-11 19:38:20

I since read you can have it done without removing the plaster..... grr!

AddictedtoCrunchies Tue 14-Jun-11 15:36:20

Thanks that's great. How long did it take to do all the messy bits? (Love your kitchen btw).

Pendeen Tue 14-Jun-11 16:46:26

Damp proof courses can sometimes be replaced or inserted / injected without removing plaster however the contractor must ensure the plaster is tested for the presence of hydrscopic salts which are often present due to being drawn up into the plaster by the rising damp.

If the salts are not there then it may be worth the risk not replastering but often a test will miss areas that are contaminated and then you have persistent damp patches even after the dpc has been installed.

There are some products or treatments that claim to avoid the need for replastering but personally, if the rising damp is extensive I would not take the risk and advise a client to replaster (although I'm not an Architect not a surveyor so will probably be shot down over this by one)!

sixtiesqueen Tue 14-Jun-11 21:24:36

It took two days in total. The old kitchen was lovely. The new kitchen is a horror isn't it?!!!

ibbydibby Wed 15-Jun-11 09:46:19

This is relevant to us as think we may have a problem, but please can someone tell me
a) how can you tell if your damp-proof course needs replacing, and
b) who do you get to do it - is it a job for a builder, or are there specific damp-proof-course people around? (feel a bit silly asking this)

OP, sorry to hijack and good luck!

sixtiesqueen Wed 15-Jun-11 12:42:45

You phone a company from the yellow pages and they come and test it. They shouldn't charge for this (ours didn't) and then they give you a quote to fix it. Look under 'Damp Proofing.'

Ours cost £735 for one room (all four walls) plus two bits either side of a set of patio doors.

We had it done in the last house in 1998 and it cost £1,000 for four patches of wall so I think there's a big variation in price and it's worth asking a smaller firm rather than a big company. They will then issue you with a certificate.

ibbydibby Wed 15-Jun-11 13:47:00

thank you! Have been doing a bit of googling/leafing through yellow pages, and have actually phoned a company who will get back to me to arrange appointment (also phoned another company whose ad looked promising, but when the man on the phone asked how many square metres we were talking about, and he would quote over the phone - so I mumbled an excuse that I must have got the wrong end of the stick and hung up - definitely need someone here to look)

this thread has given me much needed kick up bum - thank you

Pendeen Thu 16-Jun-11 18:13:28


The firm should be able to demonstrate their experience i.e. give you plenty of (local) trade references and be a member of a recognised trade body such as Property Care Association. Their report shold be in plain English with explanations for technical terms giving details of how they decided that the problem actually is rising damp and not from other sources such as condensation, leaking pipes, defective render and so on.

Their quotation should be a fixed price offer detailing the work to be done, any exclusions and list the protective measures they propose to take to prevent damage to furniture, floor coverings, decorations, electrical wiring and so on.

They should be able to provide an insurance-backed 30 year guarantee. and not ask for any advance payment - only upon completion of the work and issue of the guarantee.

Ideally their staff should be directly employed and will have CRB checks.

Hope this helps.

SuburbanDream Thu 16-Jun-11 18:24:14

We had our bedroom done (basement flat) and from what I remember they drilled holes from the outside so it didn't cause too much disruption - the bedroom was at the back with a small patio outside. They replastered the wall inside just where it was looking grotty. You have to leave it for a few months before you can redecorate though to make sure it is totally dry.

Ibby - when they come to do the quote they take moisture readings, sometimes they stick the thing (technical term wink) in the wall if they can. they should give you a detailed plan of the areas affected and recommend the cause of action. There are several different ways damp can be dealt with these days depending on where it is and the severity.

MooncupGoddess Thu 16-Jun-11 19:58:11

Hi libby,

It's worth doing some research to make sure you really do need a new damp-proof course, there are some fairly unscrupulous damp specialists out there! I am buying a flat from 1860 with an existing damp-proof course and I suspect it has made the problem worse rather than better (not helped by the hideous pebbledashing on the exterior which traps the moisture in.... aargh!).

ibbydibby Thu 16-Jun-11 23:38:34

Thanks Pendeen, Suburban and Mooncup for all your helpful comments and suggestions. Fortunately the man who came round today said he thought there was no problem with the damp course, the black spots low down in several rooms are more likely to be caused by condensation. It's a case of oldish (1930s) house, poorly ventilated.

The only place where his "dampometer" registered some dampness was in the lounge where there is a 80s type brickbuilt fireplace/low shelf arrangement. We have for a long time suspected dampness there, and he suggested that there could be rubble/something else inside the cavity that is affecting the damp course. Tonight have started demolishing said brickwork (were planning to do this anyway).

Next question: how do you prevent/cut down condensation in old houses? The walls have cavities but these are not wide enough for cavity wall insulation. Wondered about having insulating plasterboard on outside walls of rooms? Or would this make problem worse/not solve anything?

MooncupGoddess Fri 17-Jun-11 10:25:48

Hi ibby (sorry for calling you libby!),

My (very limited, I am just learning about this myself) understanding is that for older houses the crucial thing is ventilation, so the moisture can escape and the house can 'breathe'. So keep windows open when possible, etc. There is quite a lot of information on the web, this page for instance is helpful:

sixtiesqueen Fri 17-Jun-11 10:52:50

we found rubble causing damp in our last house. A chimney breast had been removed by the previous owners but they'd left all sorts of rubble under the floorboards which was damp. The rubble was touching the floorboard joists.

We had no idea it was damp until we commissioned somebody to sand and varnish our floorboards. This was the first time we'd ever taken the carpet up - imagine our horrow when we took the carpet up and found not only was the floor damp, but the chimney breast removal had left us with some huge pieces of chipboard where there ought to have been floorboards! Learnt a big lesson from that!

Pendeen Fri 17-Jun-11 11:46:35


Condensation will be reduced by a combination of ventilation, heating and reducing moisture-generating activities such as drying clothes on radiators.

Those are the easy measures....

To improve things by altering the building fabric can be deceptively easy but often people actually make things worse; driving the condensation into hidden areas by for example: lining external walls with insulating plasterboard without fitting moisture barriers, increasing loft insulation without checking if the roof space is adequately ventilated and so on.

The Energy Saving Trust website is a useful source of information and advice.

mrshotrod Sun 19-Jun-11 23:15:09

Aghhh. The old 'damp' con. I mean, as Pendeen says there are causes for damp and they can always be fixed, but by whom and for how much and how is the main question. Make sure you certainly know the cause first. I hate those moisture meters. They've cost us a house sale and broke our moving chain. We have since had our two ground floor rooms 'damp proofed'. Our orig (1860's house) damp proof course was compromised by dodgy builder 30 years ago building driveway half way up our wall. Anyway, we had the effected walls tanked from the inside. On the other side we dug a trench and protected it externally. This was done by our selves. The tanking meant stripping back the plaster over a meter high up the wall. It was messy, and we moved in with in laws (hard, it was hard!!) Contractor was great though. The actual work only took three days, but the plaster took ages to dry and then you have to decorate it all. The dust did very well at getting everywhere. We finished one room first to move toddler back in and live in that room before managing to finish the 2nd room.
Do look at web sites of INDEPENDANT DAMP EXPERTS. They are a fascinating read. Contractors looking at your 'problem' for free, will ALWAYS find a problem, as they charge you quite a lot to 'fix' it.
For months I felt totally shafted by the whole damp issue. It kind of all came down to a teeny tiny bit of peely paint that hadn't bothered anyone for 30 years.

MissHonkover Mon 20-Jun-11 12:59:08

Hi there,
Had a builder round to our house just last week, who said that the job is easy and quick but it's very very messy. I thought if a builder says that, then it probably is!

Our house is exactly the same as yours in shape, and I'm dreading it, we've ot nowhere else to put all our stuff because the house is too small. I'm considering moving everything into storage. Aarrgh.

higgle Mon 20-Jun-11 13:37:04

We had this done in our old house - all of the downstairs. We laid new floors too. We just moved upstairs, where it did get rather dusty and messy with mud ging up and down stairs but we survived.

AddictedtoCrunchies Fri 01-Jul-11 20:56:27

I've just come back to this rthread now and read all your comments. They're starting Monday and I'm dreading it even more now!

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