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1930 house solid walls, damp external patch

Discussion in 'Building' started by swebb99, 3 Jun 2016.

  1. swebb99

    swebb99

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    Hi,

    I'm in the process of buying a 1930's detached house. It's in good condition but the survey highlighted a damp reading on one of the chimneys in the living room. I got a damp survey and they said the same, recommended taking 1m of plaster off and injecting and putting anti salt plaster on or something like that. They also mentioned raised damp readings under floor but no current damage apparent but noted that they could only lift a small section of floor.

    I took my father for a look and we noticed plant pots covering most of the underfloor air vents, the chimney internally had a electric fire filling the opening and no internal air vent. He bounced a little on the floor and said is bounced back so though the timber was good. The other side of the wall runs down next doors side entrance, they allowed us to take a look. The brickwork along that wall is not in as good condition as the rest of the building, minor spoiling (is that what its called) where the surface of a patch of bricks is a bit rough but not too bad, the wall looked a bit damp in the same patch. I spoke to the neighbour and he said the wall didn't get much sun. I noticed that the side entrance had a small bush half covering it's entrance so probably not much airflow. Also the neighbour moved some tall rubbish bins which were infront of the damp patch.

    So I'm not currently convinced about pulling plaster off (no internal damp patch or smell). I'm thinking that moving the plant pots, maybe changing the air vents to newer more efficient ones, cutting back the bush, asking the neighbour to move his bins somewhere else, and putting a vent in the chimney breast internally might help to resolve the issue. Not sure what to do about the minor spoiling on the bricks though as I've read using breathable coatings to stop water ingress on solid walls isn't and ideal thing to do.

    Thoughts ?

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  3. CJRatch

    CJRatch

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    If your getting a mortgage your lender may not loan the money until the damp problem is resolved. However if they agree to lend you the money anyways or its a outright purchase I would be more inclined to do your ideas and seeing how things go than taking plaster back, tanking, injecting etc. Half the time this isn't necessary and is just lining the pockets of the surveyor and installer.

    The best solution for damp is ventilation, increase ventilation and damp has a better chance of resolving itself.

    As far as the spalled brick the only solution to properly repair these is to chop out and replace the badly spalled ones. If your considering using sealer I recommend Stormdry (I've mentioned this product twice in 2 posts now I don't work for them. I've recently used the product and its brilliant) its 100% breathable so any damp currently in your brickwork can work its way our while not letting anymore damp in. Spalling is caused by wet bricks freezing, if your bricks stay dry they wont continue to spall.
     
  4. Footsoldier888

    Footsoldier888

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    See what others say but hacking off the plaster to 1m and allowing the bricks to dry out for a decent period might be the way to go. I think plaster needs to come off if it is damp.

    Btw a floor 'bouncing back' can mean you have some rotation in the joists or some settlement to a sleeper wall.
     
  5. swebb99

    swebb99

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    Hi thanks for the responses.

    The floor isn't actually bouncing back, maybe my descriiption wasn't great, as what i meant was that the floor flexed a little and didn't feel dead.

    I am buying outright so no banks involved. There is no sign at all internally of damp, even the exposed bricks in the fire place look dry. I think going with the improved airflow and seeing how it goes might be the way to play it!

    I've heard good things about Stormdry however I've also read concerns relating to its use on houses with solid walls so I'm a little concerned it might e effect the way the house breaths.
     
  6. JohnD

    JohnD

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    spalled bricks are probably getting wet from a leaking gutter, downpipe, garden tap or something. Once wet, as CR says, they can freeze and burst off the top layer. Look for the source of water. IMO condensation in an unventilated chimney will cause damp, but not actual wetness.
     
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  8. Footsoldier888

    Footsoldier888

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    I think your approach is a good one.

    I have a solid semi of the same vintage and my plaster had paint coming off plus the lower parts were very easy to remove ie soft.

    Perhaps the house hasn't been heated much recently, like with mine the whole moisture content got a bit high for that reason.

    OTOH if your house is full then the extra kettles and showers used can have an impact, so waiting to assess is good I think.

    Are you talking about cracks in the bricks or has the face been damaged so that if they are red it looks orange say?
     
  9. swebb99

    swebb99

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    A few of the bricks have a slight orange look where a small amount of the surface has come away but no cracks.
     
  10. Footsoldier888

    Footsoldier888

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    Some of my internal bricks are completely off their faces.
     
  11. vinn

    vinn

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    Its a something and nothing couple of issues - ignore them for now and buy the place.

    Why not read the posts on damp and chimney breasts, & through ventilation and chimney flues?
    Unless you say exactly where the damp/salt conditions are its difficult to accurately advise.

    You could come back on here when you have the house, and more time to examine conditions like the suspended floor.
     
  12. swebb99

    swebb99

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    Yep very true Vinn, I'll wait and get more info when I can actually get a better look.
     
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