If your home is suffering from a damp problem or has been affected by an issue causing timber decay, you might be most concerned about the potential cost of repair. While some kinds of damp can be remedied with little fuss through fixing the source of the leak or moisture ingress, the damage left behind can be the most expensive part of the treatment process.
The type of damp or timber decay your property is affected by will reflect on the type of treatment your home will require. We explore the most common types of treatment and repair to expect should you contact us to take care of a problem in your home.
Penetrating damp is often one of the easiest types of damp to treat in the average family home and is typically caused by moisture constantly dripping or running down exterior brickwork. This could be the result of a blocked or broken gutter or drainpipe, fractured or split piping in interior walls, leaks or holes in your roof or material built up against your outer walls.
The latter, where material such as dirt and soil has been stacked against exterior walls, can lead to a condition recognised as lateral penetrating damp which has a severely negative effect on sub-terrain rooms such as basements and cellars. This requires another type of treatment known as “Basement Tanking” which we will explore in further detail below.
Although each case is unique, the treatment most often carried out to solve issues from penetrating damp is to first remove or repair the source of moisture, i.e. repairing the guttering or removing the internal leak. Then, once the area has dried out, we can get to work on fixing the damage caused by the penetrative damp. This might include surface repairs such as replacing plasterwork or timber replacement.
Penetrating damp is often the least expensive damp problem to treat, however, if left unchecked, it can lead to greater issues including the aforementioned lateral penetrating damp and both wet and dry rot.
If your property is lucky enough to have extra space in the form of a basement or cellar, you might already be familiar with the issues that can arise from an untreated space - a damp, cold environment that encourages mould growth and has a permeating musty smell. Basement tanking turns an unusable space into instant storage or a blank base to build upon yourself, whether to use as an office, extra guest room or an expanded living area.
The basement tanking process is quite involved. One approach is for the walls to be stripped back to base material before first applying a sand and cement render, followed by a multi-coat render comprised of the waterproofing solution. The waterproof render can be left uncovered, or when looking to turn the area into a habitable space, covered in a skimmed plaster finish or dry lined.
Where basement areas fall victim to increased levels of moisture ingress, a membrane is used to provide extra levels of waterproofing, funnelling internal moisture into perimeter channels which drain away into a sub-floor sump to be pumped away to an appropriate drain. The installed membrane is then finished with plasterboard and a skim plaster layer, ready for decorating.
When penetrating or rising damp is left untreated or is out of sight and allowed to spread, your property is at risk of developing wet rot - a nasty, attacking type of fungus that works its way into saturated timber fibres and gradually weakens the structure. Without proper treatment, entire rooms can become infected which can be an expensive repair when the wooden structures require replacement.
The chance of wet rot can be drastically reduced with ample ventilation through extractor fans and adding additional wall vents to exterior walls, although once wet rot takes hold, the timbers will need to be taken out and replaced to ensure there is no delayed spread of spores. We will also check and ensure the cause of the damp is taken care of before removing a wet rot infection.
Similar to wet rot, dry rot can occur when timber has a certain level of moisture caused by leaks or poorly maintained plumbing. Unlike wet rot, dry rot has a rapid expansion and in one night can quickly spread through timbers, leaching spores into the fibres, where you might not see the damage until it is too late.
Treating dry rot requires both treatment of the damp affliction and then removal or sterilisation of affected timbers and all those surrounding them. Any leftover dry rot spores will quickly take root and begin the cycle all over again, even if the original damp problem has been solved. Any remaining moisture makes the perfect home for exploitative dry rot spores, so care needs to be taken to ensure the issue is fully resolved. Dry rot also requires sterilisation to the masonry and plaster it often traverses.
A problem for both internal and external walls, rising damp occurs when groundwater gradually rises up the brickwork, eventually seeping through to internal walls and causing unsightly problems like crumbling skirting boards and cracking plaster. Unlike moisture carried by penetrating damp, rising damp carries other chemicals and salts in the water solution. These deposits can be left on walls, making them unattractive but more concerningly, increasing the draw of moisture up from the ground into your walls.
Rising damp occurs when the damp-proof course or membrane built into your walls becomes compromised or damaged, which bridges the space between external and internal walls and allows moisture to seep through. To repair the problem, your DPC requires replacing or repairing - a solution may need to be injected into your walls and any affected areas need to be fixed.
Rising damp is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed forms of damp as penetrating damp shares many of the main symptoms. By employing a damp proofing company you can trust, like Garratt’s Damp and Timber, you can be sure the diagnosis is correct and treatment carried out will be thorough.
Treating damp isn’t just a case of removing the source of moisture and installing a new internal fascia like some damp proofing companies may have you believe. Instead, it includes removing the affected plaster and/or timber and repairing and replacing the structure.
When you hire Garratts’ Damp and Timber to solve your damp affliction, our contractors will take care of everything from diagnosis to clean up and once the job is completed, you’ll be hard-pressed to identify there was ever a problem in the first place! No third-party contractors, no half-jobs, just a comprehensive damp and timber treatment solution for your precious home.
When you contact Garratt’s Damp and Timber to take care of your damp affliction or timber decay problem, you are offered a free, no-obligation survey which includes identifying the problem, discussing potential solutions and offering a comprehensive quote. If you are happy to go ahead, we will arrange a time and date to begin the work.
On the date of your appointment, our expertly trained and friendly staff will arrive on time and prepare the area for work, ensuring to protect or cover surrounding surfaces and being conscious of existing decoration work in the affected space. We will identify and remove or repair the source of moisture, whether this is a broken gutter or plumbing leak, and install measures to prevent the same problem happening again.
We will then remove or repair all affected surfaces, walls, ceilings, skirting boards and install new plasterboard or a skim plaster finish where necessary. Before we leave, we will check the area is completely tidy with no rubbish or materials left behind and check you are happy with the work carried out.
After the work is completed and we’ve left, our team will offer a post-work follow up to check you were satisfied with the service offered and there is no indication of a further problem.
While there is certainly a wealth of resources available online for DIY damp proofing, we would advise that it’s not a good idea to carry out damp proofing by yourself with no former knowledge. The main reason is that it can be difficult to identify, just on sight, the type of damp your property is afflicted with, in addition to judging the extent of the damp problem and how far the damage has already spread.
For example, if you were to apply treatments such as “damp proof paint” to your interior walls without first taking care of the moisture source, you are simply covering up the damp that is spreading through your walls and decaying your structure. In a more extreme example, you might take care of the moisture source and repair the damp-affected areas but leave a patch of unseen dry rot untreated where it will rapidly spread throughout your property and lead to repairs of great expense down the line.
Our team is fully qualified to identify the type of damp your property is affected by, not only saving time by reducing the need to apply multiple treatments but ensuring the job gets done thoroughly, with even the smallest hint of an issue cleared up and taken care of before we leave.
Keeping on top of repairs and maintenance is the easiest way to ensure that your property doesn’t become afflicted by damp, however, sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. Keep an eye on your roof for loose or missing tiles that could lead to a leak or moisture ingress, in addition to occasionally checking over exterior brickwork for missing or damaged pointing which can lead to water seeping into brick pores and through to interior walls. This is especially important after bad or particularly adverse weather including high winds and increased rainfall.
If you suspect damp, don’t put off calling out a qualified contractor. The longer that water and moisture are allowed to seep into your property, the more involved and costlier your repairs can become, especially when moisture leads to troublesome dry or wet rot.
Easy to identify the affected timber? Don’t remove it yourself unless you are fully confident in your knowledge of load-bearing timber and beams and your structure is well-supported. While you might be able to clearly see the affected timber, messing around with the base structure of your property can lead to unrepairable damage, injury, or worse.
At Garratt’s Damp and Timber, all our customers are eligible for a free, no-obligation survey to check if their property is affected and identify what type of damp it may be suffering from. From start to finish, let our friendly and expert team take care of your damp proofing or timber treatment needs with all the care and attention they would give to their own homes. Please don't hesitate to contact our team today to arrange your free damp survey.