Bricks up to DPC permanently wet - new build

7 Jul 2010
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United Kingdom

My son has just bought a new build home and moved-in in December. Since that time the bricks at the back of the house, only, have been permanently wet up to DPC level.

The DPC appears to be holding the line and doing its job, though the bricks below are already looking very salty.

My questions are these. Is this due to some kind of surveying oversight by the builders? Is this acceptable? It seems to me that if this is always the case the bricks will likely lose their faces before too long.

Lastly, Am I right in thinking that there should be 2 courses of brick visible below the DPC? At the front of the house they have stacked earth against the bricks, so that they show only about 1/2 inch below the DPC.

Thanks for any advice.
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I know what DPC is for, but that was not the question. The question is why are the bricks below the DPC permanently wet? This suggests to me that the water table on this site is too high. I was attempting to canvass opinion on how typical this is. At my house which is a few miles away the bricks below the DPC are very frequently entirely dry. So, it's not due to different weather conditions.
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People like you in forums are extremely irritating. You are so desperate to appear expert that you answer questions whether you have a sensible answer or not. I could see from your first answer that you knew nowt. I only responded so that anybody else who happens by doesn't get deceived into thing that a rational adult has already answered.

So, on that note, if anybody who has a basic grasp of this subject is lurking, I would be very grateful for your ideas.
I know what DPC is for, but that was not the question

Despite your comment, you obviously don't know the wider issue why DPCs are used in the first place, and that is the question.

All ground is wet. Water is absorbed up a wall. The DPC stops it. That is why the wall is damp below the DPC.

The fact that your house, in a different place, with different ground, and different bricks does not look damp is something you fail to understand.

I only responded so that anyone who happens by can see that a rational person would understand this.
I could see from your first answer that you knew nowt

Wrong I'm afraid Paulp, Woodys one of the more knowledgable posters here, but he can be a bit short in his answers some days, so sometimes comes across as a bit tetchy at times. Bear with him, be polite, and you'll get the answers you want.

In an ideal world, there'd be a couple of bricks below the DPC, but as long as it doesn't get bridged, then it's not desperate. Have they finished the landscaping, or is that down to you. Remove the earth so you've got the couple of bricks showing, and you should be fine. If it's a new build, then you've got a 10 year warranty, so see how it goes.
On a modern house the bricks below DPC should be able to cope with the conditions. Nowadays a lot of housing is going up in flood plain areas. I saw a sign near a Bridgewater development offering a free divers suit and boat with every house( probably not put up by the developers).
There should be a minimum of 150mm between DPC and the ground level.
If woody wasn't so short in his answers he'd never have time to solve everyone's problems on the forum:LOL:
So, on that note, if anybody who has a basic grasp of this subject is lurking, I would be very grateful for your ideas.

Whilst I'm sure that you are only trying to help your son, could I suggest that you don't start to worry him about his new purchase.

Ground conditions vary dramatically across even a site never mind a few miles and the DPC would appear (from your description) to be doing it's job. Reducing the ground level to a couple of clear courses below DPC is a reasonable course of action although with soil it's not a major issue - more of an issue with a hard surface close to DPC.
Does the rear of the house also face north so no sun? Or maybe more sheltered from fresh windy air.
Hi Everybody,

Thanks for some helpful answers and suggestions. Just to clarify, my concern related to the permanent saturation of the bricks and what might happen with respect to them losing their faces over a number of winters.

After my intial contact here I contacted a surveyor to ask what he thought about it and, as Alex-t suggested above, he took me off to the environement agency map and confirmed that my son's house is not on a flood plain, or some other area of high risk - though it is low risk, as opposed to no risk. The low risk thing had been pointed out at some point before the purchase, which is why I was anxious to know more about potential issues - why I was asking questions. Some of the things on other houses on the site are extremely cowboy (drives pitched away from drains and into corners, brick laying well out of vertical, earth in gardens stacked right up to DPC and so on). I do not particularly trust the builders.

Next, he happened to know that my son's house is built on clay (potentially poor drainage), whilst my own house is built on chalk (excellent drainage). This is why my house never looks wet below the DPC and contrasts so markedly with my son's. I had not taken this into consideration - because I am an electrical engineer, not a builder.

The surveyor also suggested that in the area at the back of the house, where the main saturated part of the wall is, may have been back-filled with clay and could be particularly compacted. Hence it might be an isolated area of especially poor drainage. Seems like a good thought to me and something to investigate if we still feel uneasy about this by the time summer comes.

Finally, he suggested simply going down into the back garden a spades depth, or two, to see where the water table appears to be.

The back garden as a whole is certainly pitched back towards the house, though the small patio, which sits below the wet bricks is either level or pitched away from the house. Hard to tell without a bubble.

RsSteve, above, asked which way the house is facing. Actually somebody else raised this question and I don't know for sure, as it does not yet appear on Google Maps, for instance, but as best I can tell (short of taking a compass over there) it faces south-east.

Thanks for the replies.


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