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Strange question with regards to damp

(14 Posts)
AppleandMosesMummy Mon 13-Jul-09 14:11:50

Apparently our house had a damp course when we moved in 2 years ago.
However if you put clothes in the built in wardrobe they get mold on them, the furniture is getting a fuzzy layer on it and wall paper doesn't stick to the walls.
There's no smell but next door had a musty smell to theirs so got a dehumidifier.
Anyway some guy I spotted in the paper wants £4k for a positive exchange fan which apparently is the answer to our problems.
What can I try first ?
I have an extractor fan in the kitchen now which didn't used to be there, I'm going to replace the wooden windows for pvc double glazing - some of our windows don't open - so I thought that would help with ventilation and I'm thinking of replacing the roof too as I'm worried that might be letting water in.
Any thoughts at all on whether any of this will work ?

HerHonesty Mon 13-Jul-09 15:55:19

double or single glazed?

jeanjeannie Mon 13-Jul-09 16:13:37

Is it a new build?

With damp there is usually an explanation but often it's hidden. Good ventilation should shift damp that has no underlying cause - shouldn't be any need for fancy (expensive!) fans. Personally - as someone who has had hidden damp problems I wouldn't spend a huge sum of money on something before i really knew what the problem was.

Is there any way of getting a builder (recommended one) of going through and giving you an honest opinion??

I had damp - once it was a broken damp course and the other was a leaking downpipe that when we looked properly has pretty much destroyed the brickwork AND the supporting beam to the window shock Oh - forgot I had another place that had a slow leak on a pipe in the hallway under the floor!

Check first before you spend!

AppleandMosesMummy Mon 13-Jul-09 16:53:19

It's a 1930 property, double glazed, i guess i need a builder round without a vested interest
thank you

GrendelsMum Mon 13-Jul-09 18:01:39

This will sound obvious, but you need to work out what's actually causing the damp before you try to fix it.

There are various things which might cause damp - the first is condensation (basically water in the air hitting a cold surface and condensing), then there is penetrating damp (i.e. leaks) and then good old rising damp, which is water coming up the walls, which is what your damp proof course is for. Some people would say vociferously that you are much, much more likely to have something other than rising damp, but you tend to be sold solutions to rising damp.

It sounds like you haven't had much ventilation in the house. I'd guess that the problems are condensation - you're putting a lot of water into the air through showers, baths, breathing, cooking, etc, and then this water can't escape because you can't open the windows and didn't have an extractor fan in the kitchen. When the moist air hits the cold walls, the water condenses out. If you can get more ventilation, you should see things improve, but you're going to have to give your walls time to dry out - I think the rule of thumb is that it takes a month of summer for an inch of damp wall to dry, and that's with it not getting much new water into it.

However, you really must go all over the house and attic checking for leaks, drips, broken gutters, etc. Best to do it when it's raining - kids actually quite enjoy this! Then check again at least once a year to make sure you don't get damp problems coming back


spicemonster Mon 13-Jul-09 18:14:27

Why don't you get a damp proof company around to have a look at what is causing the problem - they will basically give you a free survey which tells you what the problem is - could be poor ventilation or any number of other issues. My new damp proof course (which will be fitted on 2 walls of the house plus an interior wall) will entail massive amounts of building work and for about the price you've been quoted so I'd be very wary of spending £4k on a fan. I've never heard of a fan for fixing damp. And from a guy in the paper? Hmm ...

AppleandMosesMummy Mon 13-Jul-09 18:55:59

The damp proof company came around and said yes we need a damp course and that'll be £400, even though we showed them we'd just had it done before we bought the house, so I was very sceptical, maybe they were right ??
I cannot see a leak at all, although you are right about the condensation, it's in two of the bedrooms most mornings, hence I thought new windows and opening them a lot might solve the problem along with a dehumidifier ?

spicemonster Mon 13-Jul-09 19:01:32

That sounds weirdly cheap for a damp proof course and if it was done 2 years ago then it should still be under guarantee. The bloke who came to have a look at my flat today told me that black mould and some of the issues in my flat are as a result of lack of ventilation and poor air extraction in the kitchen and bathroom. It might be worth getting a dehumidifier (you could try one of those little plastic ones to start with before investing £100 or so on an electric one).

I'd get someone else round if I were you. The bloke I had today was from Peter Cox and he was really good I thought - he gave me loads of options and wasn't trying to flog me anything.

Damp's a bugger because you can spend ££££s on it and if you're not dealing with the actual cause, it's money down the drain.

LaurieFairyCake Mon 13-Jul-09 19:03:30

Which area are you in AppleandMosesMummy? I need a damp proof course done but I thought it would be thousands? 400 quid would be great.

I'm in Hertfordshire.

AppleandMosesMummy Mon 13-Jul-09 19:07:27

LFC - North West, I think you pay a lot more for a national company like Peter Cox, I might get them around and pick their brains though.
I figured they could all go bust before the guarantee runs out anyway so almost don't care about that, but I would like to deal with it as cheaply as possible.

spicemonster Mon 13-Jul-09 19:32:57

Laurie - the company I think I'm going with (probably) is Dampcure Woodcure who were recommended to me by another MNer and are based in Herts. I only got Peter Cox round today because I need 3 quotes under the terms of the freehold which is shared. Would be worth contacting them maybe

LaurieFairyCake Mon 13-Jul-09 19:43:11

thanks spicemonster for that - what sort of cost? How many walls? Is it internal drilling or can they just do it external?

I would love it if I could just have it drilled outside (detached house) cos it would be a nightmare to remove the skirting and my panelled walls.

I definitely have rising damp as I have mould on most walls - as the external render goes all the way to the ground which means the water is being sucked up through the concrete.

spicemonster Mon 13-Jul-09 20:16:27

It's going to cost (gulp) around £5k. But I'm in a basement so the walls are going to be stripped back to brick, rendered, tanked and then replastered - it's about 2 weeks' work. Above ground, I'd imagine you'd have a lot more options. Would be worth contacting them though - you've nothing to lose by getting them to come and have a look. I have plaster coming off the walls in great lumps and all sorts of grim mould. Not nice with a baby

LaurieFairyCake Mon 13-Jul-09 20:19:00

omg shock poor you - what a fortune though.

Good luck with that, hope they do a great job.

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