For impartial and accurate professional diagnosis of alleged dampness

 

HOW EXTENSIVE IS "RISING DAMP"?
Typical severely damp wall

It is a frequent worry for home owners and purchasers, but is "rising damp" really as common as we are led to believe?

"Householders and even some surveyors are too quick to assume that problems with dampness are caused by rising damp. In fact, true rising damp is not very common. Because the remedies for rising damp are so expensive it is doubly important to ensure the diagnosis is correct before starting work."



Building Research Establishment (BRE) Good Repair Guide 6 - Treating Rising Damp in Houses - January 1997

The BRE, which until recently was UK Government funded, have been highlighting that dampness was being misdiagnosed since the early 1980's!

"Because of the high cost of remedial work, it is essential that the diagnosis is as positive as possible to distinguish between rising damp and other sources of damp."

BRE Digest 245 - January 1981 "Rising Damp in Walls: Diagnosis and Treatment"

"Investigations have revealed many instances in which systems intended to combat rising damp have been installed in buildings where rising damp is not occurring. A frequent reason for this has been a wrong interpretation of high readings obtained when using an electrical moisture meter. Another reason was the failure to recognize other causes of the damp conditions."

Building Research Advisory Service, Technical Information Leaflet TIL 47 August 1982

"The diagnosis of rising damp needs careful and systematic thought because it can easily be confused with penetrating dampness and condensation. The Building Research Establishment (BRE) have suggested that only 10% of the dampness problems it investigates are attributable to rising damp. Unfortunately, there are a number of companies specializing in d.p.c. replacement who obviously have a commercial interest in finding problems with rising damp. The diagnosis needs to be treated with caution. Although there are several reputable companies working in this field, it may be wise to seek independent advice. Further "encouragement" to find problems of rising damp is provided by banks and building societies who often request a damp report as a condition of a mortgage advance.

Understanding Housing Defects (Estates Gazette) 1998

There are many contractors advertising specialist services to remedy dampness by installing damp proof courses. Yet most apparent rising dampness cannot be attributed to the absence or failure of a damp proof course."

The Remedial Treatment of Buildings by Barry Richardson 1995

THE NEED FOR ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS

"Dampness of one sort or another is the most common problem in housing. It results in visible wetting of walls, ceilings and floors, blistering paint, bulging plaster, mould on the surfaces and fabrics and sulphate attack on brickwork It can also lead to less obvious problems - thermal insulation is reduced in effectiveness or brickwork because metal components imbedded in it have corroded. As with all repair work, the first step to solving any damp related problem is to diagnose the cause correctly."

B.R.E. Good Repair Guide 5 - Diagnosing the Causes of Dampness, January 1997

"Before any measures are undertaken, the problem should be analyzed in order to identify the cause properly. In the first instance professional advice should be obtained rather than that of a specialist contractor."

The Repair of Historic Buildings (English Heritage) by Christopher Brereton

Often specialist remedial treatment companies report "they have diagnosed rising damp" and specify remedial treatment which is possibly inappropriate, to be carried out by themselves.


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