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Advice on damp in homebuyers report

(10 Posts)
BauerTime Wed 14-Jan-15 15:46:26

Had a homebuyers done on a house we are buying. It reported 'high levels' of damp in the front, flank and original back walls (single story extension across the back - no damp) on the ground floor, none upstairs. It recommended a damp and timber survey which we have arranged with a company that does them for free.

I wasn't particularly concerned as our current house was thought to have damp in the survey but we have never had any problems so thought it was probably Not likely to be a big deal.

Anyway, I've spoken to the surveyor today and he was a bit doom and gloom. I asked for a bit more info on the damp and he said readings were 'high enough to mention in the report' and he wasn't able to take many readings (he took 10 total, I assume this includes upstairs) as there was a lot of stuff but in his opinion the damp was caused by render breaching the damp proof course, a damaged damp proof course, and cracked render higher up. He said that it would certainly require the render to be taken back to above dpc, injecting the walls, removing plaster to 1m and replacing with special damp proof plaster and also fixing cracked render. He said it was likely to cost thousands to fix rather than hundreds.

My initial reaction is that there is no way he could know all of that from getting a few high damp meter readings and that he is either covering his arse or on a commission from a damp company. We are obviously getting it checked out further but just wanted to sound out some others on this. Does what the surveyor said seem likely? Will the damp company be able to tell if the damp is caused by the render breaching the dpc or a damaged dpc?

Any advice on what I can/need to do would be gratefully received!

specialsubject Wed 14-Jan-15 16:06:44

be aware that the free damp survey is worth what you pay for it.They'll find damp if the house is in the Empty Quarter desert.

They will be even less trustworthy than the surveyor.

however give him the benefit of the doubt and ask to meet him at the property to redo readings and have a look at the problem. If the vendors want to sell the place they also need to move the 'stuff' so you can have a good look. If you pull out because of damp they will have big problems selling.

still, this is what surveys are for!

JaniceJoplin Wed 14-Jan-15 16:17:15

I think there is a lot to be said to looking and feeling the walls yourself. Damp normally smells and you notice it straightaway and usually there are visible signs of it, either tide marks, stains or mould.

We bought a house recently that had a ton of DPC in it, which the surveyor said was faulty. This was complete toss. We had an independent damp guy (cost £250 for report) that said the DPC was totally unnecessary in the first place and the problems we had were from leaking guttering / chimneys and poor brickwork. Totally different assessment. I think surveyors doing homebuying surveys just cover themselves and free damp surveys are a load of nonsense.

I have heard in the past that rendering can sometimes mask a damp problem though but I've no experience of rendering unfortunately.

TrevaronGirl Wed 14-Jan-15 16:32:41

Anyone can use a damp meter and record the results but interpreting the results takes a lot of skill and experience, unfortunately some surveyors are not quite as knowledgeable or experienced as one would like.

'Feeling' a wall is only ever any use if there is a gross damp problem, you would most likely have spotted this yourself anyway. The damp readings are indicative of a problem and the surveyor is bound by the terms of his commission to report but as to suggesting causes and remedial works he is naturally going to be cautious.

I would wait until the damp and timber company report and see what they say and if it agrees with the surveyor's opinion then you are probably going to have to accept however if not then a few further questions for the surveyor will be in order.

BauerTime Wed 14-Jan-15 16:52:06

Thanks. I think if the free damp survey suggests that lots of work is needed then we will go down the route of paying for an independent one and also going back to the vendor to negotiate price.

I'm not saying that there wont be some damp, the fact that it was found in all three exterior walls is not a good sign I guess.

shovetheholly Wed 14-Jan-15 17:38:41

I would proceed with caution. Damp might not sound like a huge problem, but rot is - if it's penetrated the timbers of the house, you could face a bigger bill. Also, it sounds like the render has been badly applied - it shouldn't be under the DPC - and also cracked, so may need to be redone anyway.

Our house had a similar damp problem when we moved in, but wasn't rendered. We had to put in an injection DPC and have some of the timbers under the floor replaced. It cost about £2.5k and I am in a part of the country where labour isn't very expensive. I think you could add more than that again for render removal and re-rendering - my neighbour's 3 bed semi cost around £4-5k to re-render.

Sorry not to be able to be more positive about this, but it's better to be safe than to face massive bills later on!

BauerTime Wed 14-Jan-15 18:21:04

Thanks shove, yes I will proceed with caution. I want the timbers looked at for sure. The rendering shouldn't need to come off completely, I'm under the impression that it can just be chipped off to the correct height if that is the case.

marmalade999 Sun 23-Oct-16 08:00:20

I know this is an old thread but we've just had a survey back on the house we're purchasing- they have disguised damp to the point the skirting boards are rotten.
Bauertime how did you get on? Did you proceed? We've got to have a specialist damp person now to do a survey x

WillowB Wed 02-Nov-16 22:37:31

Bumping this as we're in the same position. Have you had your damp survey done yet marmalade ?

bambino2014 Thu 03-Nov-16 07:16:51

Same position! We've not had specialist survey done as there is a few weeks delay and we have asked if the vendor will accept/discuss a price reduction. We're looking at least 20k. The additional survey is another few hundred. And theyou need to take time off work to accommodate it

Vendor has gone bananas, we've shared our initial survey so they can see our concerns but they're not having it. The roof/chimneys are in serious dissrepair causing leaks/damp. They are very difficult people angry been living in limbo for a couple of weeks!! Argh.

Willow -what's happened with yours?

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