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Would you buy a house with rising damp?

(31 Posts)
Wupiny Thu 17-Sep-20 20:13:26

I found a house that I really like but I am not sure whether I should go ahead or not. The homebuyer report reveal a high damp meter reading and the damp specialist confirmed that it's a rising damp - 3 main walls on the ground floor. I got a quote from the specialist and the vendor has offered to cover 70% of the cost.

It's a mid terrace house built in the 50s.

What would you do if you were me? Am I going to struggle with damp and end up spending a long of money in a long term? I am a ftb and anxious about making the wrong decision.

Thanks for your help

OP’s posts: |
YellowNotRed Thu 17-Sep-20 21:35:36

Honestly, it wouldn't neccessarily put me off, as long as I loved the house and felt it was a good price.

But I would get another expert surveyor in to assess for another opinion; some 'damp specialists' are cowboys really.

What have they said is needed to remedy it?

NameChange564738 Thu 17-Sep-20 21:36:44

What type of build is it?
Cavity?
Solid?

anth85 Thu 17-Sep-20 22:28:21

Lots to consider. It’s likely at that age that it never had damp proofing installed. It’s easy to do, just drop a hole every 10cm and inject an chemical that spreads out and blocks is. The issue is repairing the damage, but even that just means removing the plaster upto the point and replacing it with new. It wouldn’t put me off but it would be a factor in negotiations and if I went for it it would be something to consider getting done before you get settled because removing the plaster will be messy.

WhoWouldHaveThoughtThat Fri 18-Sep-20 08:35:16

It depends how much the 30% is that you would be paying.

The damp may have caused issues with the floor joists too.

They may also remove plaster to a height of one metre on the ground floor so that would all have to be redone, dried out and then re-decorated too.

Could be very difficult to live in it whilst the remedial work is done.

On the bright side...you may be able to lower the price even more as if you don't buy it any subsequent purchaser is going to come across the same problem.

IrenetheQuaint Fri 18-Sep-20 08:39:04

I'd want to find out where the damp actually comes from before making any decision. Are there functioning airbricks? Is the ground level outside too high? etc.

And always pay for a damp survey from a proper surveyor, rather than damp specialists who want to sell their product.

AGreatUsername Fri 18-Sep-20 11:18:28

Rising damp is a bit of a myth really. There is always a cause. Ground level, roof issues, inadequate ventilation, chimney ingress. Damp doesn’t just APPEAR one day. So you really need to find the root cause before you make a judgment. Your surveyor should have some idea tbh. The cost is normally not outrageous but repairing damage if the house has rotten joists can be very disruptive. Is it old? Has someone rendered or gypsum plastered an old house? Old houses need to breathe and plaster/cement etc traps moisture in the walls.

Don’t pay a damp specialist, ask a good surveyor. Damp specialists are invariably salesmen for damp courses that do not really work or help.

SquirrelScorn Fri 18-Sep-20 11:21:45

I wouldn’t be put off, it I think you’d need to understand exactly what needs doing and how will it affect you. Does the plaster need removing? If so, you need to pay a price that reflects the house needing redecorating, as well as the cost of the work. Will the kitchen units need to be taken out? A house which needs significant damp work is worth a significant amount less, not 70% of the cost of the basic damp work less.

PigletJohn Fri 18-Sep-20 11:24:16

Of course a 1950s house would have been built with a DPC.

Ignore anyone who wants to sell you chemical injections

Most likely the water is coming from a leak below floor level. Could be a water pipe or a drain.

Might be where some numbskull has raised the ground level against the house wall.

eufycurious Fri 18-Sep-20 11:27:00

anth85

Lots to consider. It’s likely at that age that it never had damp proofing installed. It’s easy to do, just drop a hole every 10cm and inject an chemical that spreads out and blocks is. The issue is repairing the damage, but even that just means removing the plaster upto the point and replacing it with new. It wouldn’t put me off but it would be a factor in negotiations and if I went for it it would be something to consider getting done before you get settled because removing the plaster will be messy.

Houses built in the 50s would almost definitely have had a damp course! Damp courses have been a requirement for a long time.

OP do a bit of research is my advice. Retrospective chemical damp proof injections can be a bit of a con and cause more problems than they solve. The question you need to ask is where the damp is coming from? Leaky gutters, condensation etc.

eufycurious Fri 18-Sep-20 11:27:43

x post with @PigletJohn!

ShyTown Fri 18-Sep-20 13:05:10

I’ve done it. In our case it was a Victorian where the issue was ground level too high and no air bricks. Easily solved and we lived there for 8 years, sold on and our buyer’s survey came back fine.

Wupiny Fri 18-Sep-20 14:43:32

Thank you all for your really useful responses. It really made me think from a different angle.

Here is additional information:

The cost of the work is £3000. They asking me to pay 30% of that.

According to the damp specialist they won't need to touch the kitchen sink as they will carry out the work from the other side.

The quote includes replastering the walls. I will have to do the decorating but that was my plan anyway.

The damp specialist suspects that the rising damp is due to a difference in ground level and a failure of the existing damp proof course.

Many people have handled their damp but their house was Victorian type, mine isn't. So I am worried that I end up in a vicious circle trying to sort it and spending a lot of money.

Thanks again.

OP’s posts: |
WhoWouldHaveThoughtThat Fri 18-Sep-20 15:27:54

hmm that sounds like they would just inject a chemical into the walls, thereby trapping any damp in them so any moisture has to come out through the other side i.e. the plaster. Sometimes with damp walls the plasters 'blows' and can come away from the brick, you can also get efflorescence on the plaster which will come through new paint and lift wall papers.

But then maybe I'm just a miserable pessimist...sad

WhoWouldHaveThoughtThat Fri 18-Sep-20 15:30:13

In my optimistic mode I don't think rising damp is necessarily a reason not to buy a house - it's just a case of getting it at a realistic price. smile

PigletJohn Fri 18-Sep-20 15:56:01

you mention the kitchen sink. Do you mean that the damp patch is nearby? Sinks are well-known for having water pipes and drains.

A 70-year old pipe or drain is as likely to leak as a 70-year old person.

YellowNotRed Fri 18-Sep-20 16:04:13

Please check exactly what the remedial work is, OP.

Like PP have said, of it's injections from the outside then this will make issues much worse, wont address the source.

It sounds like a cowboy 'damp specialist' has 'diagnosed' the issue and not a proper, expert, damp surveyor.

Rebelwithallthecause Fri 18-Sep-20 16:13:09

Rising damp in our terrace was as Eufy and piglet said - nothing sinister. Just a leaky old pipe under the floor.
Capped the pipe, laid a replacement (to prevent having to excavate) dried it out and replaced with breathable plaster (rather than gypsum)

PigletJohn Sat 19-Sep-20 02:34:00

BTW, I'm not aware that anyone has ever produced evidence of a DPC that has "failed."

I'd be very interested to see one that has. Walls sometimes crack, and cement can degrade, especially under chemical attack, which is different.

Slate, for example, lasts at least 500 million years.

NameChange564738 Sat 19-Sep-20 08:07:45

I second the PP.
I have an old (1907) stone build house and LOADS of builders said we needed dpc in one part of the house By our back door. Said it needed replastering and re rendering.. quoting thousands.

Nope.

What actually was the problem was cement render on a 3ft high garden wall joined to the house dragging moisture in and not allowing it to escape, also in the bathroom just opposite said back door there were copper pipes buried in the wall which had corroded and further leaking from within the wall.

Depending on its construction there are lots of sites to help (heritage house and so on).

Asdf12345 Sat 19-Sep-20 10:01:34

Tell anyone selling chemicals or electric damp repelling systems to bog off.

We bought a place that was very damp and were confident it was condensation. Our surveyor agreed off record but had to be more cautious in writing. The banks surveyor went nuts and wanted a retention unless we got a survey from ‘the property care association’ and then wrote them a blank cheque for a load of rubbish.

We then told the bank their surveyor was a con merchant and they could stuff his survey, to our surprise they agreed. We installed trickle vents in all the windows, fixed a weeping compression joint in the heating, and six months later there is no sign of damp. Total cost about £50.

When you say “damp specialist” OP, was this an independent surveyor who specialised in damp, or someone from a damp proofing company?

I hired the former type when I bought an Edwardian house and he was very knowledgeable and useful (did not agree with the original surveyor that there was rising damp).

As others have said, rising damp is actually extremely rare (some believe it doesn’t exist at all). If your survey was one of those free ones done by a damp proofing company - they’re like hammers. Everything looks like a nail to them and they always suggest chemical damp proofing.

Wupiny Mon 21-Sep-20 09:19:23

I hope this message will go through. I am struggling to respond to you guys - I am removing the attachment file. Let's see.

Below is the picture of the amount of work need.

I got a quote from a damp company not an independent damp surveyor. They were offering a quote for free so I followed the recommendation of the EA. I shouldn't have done that...

If the DPC is not the solution, what else can we do?

At some points they are suggesting the following:

"The left hand property is at a higher level than that of the above property and it is at the higher level that the damp proof course will need to be inserted, it is from this point the guarantee will apply, it is proposed to coat the left hand wall using a tanking membrane which whilst not falling under our long term guarantee we have found this extremely good in solving this problem/situation"

Is that better? Should I have that on all the walls instead?

Pp shared some positive experiences, I should feel reassured but yet I am still petrified to make the wrong decision and regret buying that house because of the damp issue.

OP’s posts: |
Wupiny Mon 21-Sep-20 09:35:02

Here is the picture mentioned above.

OP’s posts: |
Hamm87 Mon 21-Sep-20 09:36:41

I would avoid personally I have been dealing with damp for over 12 years its a nightmare and no matter what anyone dies it comes back its driving us crazy

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