1906 edwardian property: moisture in walls

14 Jul 2007
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Newcastle upon Tyne
United Kingdom
Moisture penetrating living room walls: some areas more effected than others. moisture rising from under the floorboards.

On investigation under floorboards, found the soil to be very damp, and the walls wet to touch at the areas most effected; some of the patches of damp have penetrated the joist(very worrying)

I've just had the walls skimmed, and had to chip out the damp patches,so any suggestions on how best to deal with the problem would be appreciated.
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Given the age of your property this is obviously a new problem.

Has anything nearby altered the underground water course?

Has any work on your property affected surface drainage?

Have you had any building, or landscaping, work done, of any kind?

Have you done anything to the outside walls of the house?
Thanks for the reply.

No work has been carried out on the exterior of the house and neighbouring properties have not had any work carried out therfore, there is no obvious reason for the damp soil.
Is it probable the damp course isn't doing its job and needs replacing. If it does, have you any advice on the best damp course available.

I'm not convinced the a wall DPC is either the problem or the solution.

From what you've said, there's no membrane under the floor. If so, then if the water content of the soil has increased, for whatever reason, the the room(s) above is/are going to get very damp.

It would be normal in your situation to engage a qualified surveyor to inspect and advise.
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I encountered a similar thing in a house I fairly recently had renovated. The biggest cause imho the lack of airbricks. (or to be more precise, the fact that a plasterer or two decided at some point in the past, can't be sure when, but at a guess within the last 8 - 12 years, to render straight over the existing ones. Externally, that is). Involved a bit of attention to rotten joists but with some air now flowing under the house the problem seems to be cured.
Just to add my twopenceworth (which may be completely irrelevant) but have any floors in your house been replaced with concrete? If so, that might affect the remaining floors. If not, then Keyplayer's point about airbricks is a good one. I used to live in a house built in 1860. The wooden sitting room floor had been built over chalk (with a bit of gap underneath) and there were several airbricks. As a result, the place was a bit draughty but I never saw any damp.
If the ground under the house is wet then you have to consider that you are in a flood prone area. There has been oodles of water soaking into the ground in recent months and many areas have reached saturation point.

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