Damp on gable end - brick removal

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Hi,

New to the forum, so be patient.

Since the rain has been non-stop for the last 3-4 months, the ground floor of the gable end of the house has started to develop damp patches at roughly head height at sporadic areas. This is pretty frustrating due to the fact we recently put a new kitchen in and re-plastered the walls. Firstly, it started showing around the extractor fan then shortly appeared around one of the suspended cupboards. It’s now appeared in more than a couple places and it’s come to the stage where I’ve got to do something about it before the kitchen units get damaged.

It’s a 60’s house and the cavity has been injected with the fluff insulation. I had to remove some of it after ripping the old kitchen units out and noticed some existing damp. The cavity was in poor condition and between the injected insulation and the debris I pulled out (old broken bricks, concrete and general material) it solved the original issue.

What I’m looking to do is remove some bricks on the outside of the house at regular intervals along with the corners and clear the cavity by hand and using some old timber and hooks.

My question is, how many bricks can I remove in one area? I need enough room to get into the cavity so one won’t be enough.

Any other (sensible) suggestions will welcome. I can get photos lunchtime today.
Getting a builder in isn’t much of an options due to me recently becoming a father, so cash is firmly in that pot.

Cheers,
John
 
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See attached images. Had to use an ebay account due to access to image hosting sites in work.

http://www.ebayphotogallery.com/zdjecia/Galeria/6640863/1

First three images show the gable wall.

The extractor fan is shown from the outside. Pointing isn't great, but I can see that causing the issue.

Then the remianing images show the damp from the inside of the house.
 
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If you remove patches of insulation, then you increase the likelihood of dampness in the cavity occurring.

Is the external brickwork and mortar in good condition?
 
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Im going to have to remove the insulation to get the debris out. It's ok. The images on the link show the condition. Personally, I don't think the brickwork and mortar is in that bad a condition to cause tha much damp. It's down to the full cavity.
 
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Is it possible that the extract duct slopes back towards the internal wall allowing damp to track back to the inner leaf?
 
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That was my initial thought. It's pretty flat, but not obviously sloping back to the house. I could try lowerig it, but it would still leave the larger section to the right of the extractor fan with a bridged cavity.

Anyway; back to my orginal query. How many bricks could I remove from one location? And is removing bricks from the orner of the house a bad idea?
 
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I'm not sure you need to clear the cavities that high up, debris usually falls down to the base of the wall and sometimes gets stuck to wall ties higher up which can cause random patches of damp.

I would start by looking at the extract duct, also the possibility that the cavity trays to the small window and door are spilling out into the cavity and saturating the insulation. This is a very common fault down here with exposed elevations or after prolonged periods of heavy rain as few cavity trays were installed with stop ends before cavities were filled with insulation. There appears to be a drip detail above the door and window but no weep holes so maybe there is no cavity tray and it is just running off the ends of the lintel into the cavity. Certainly worth further investigation.
 
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That wall is saturated and locally stained, and there are even strains on the render. Are the eaves or gutter defective?

The render drip seems to need some work too.
 
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One thing that was bothering me was the pattern of the staining, especially around the kitchen wall units. It is almost as if the wall units are attracting the dampness?? When you say you had some plastering done was it by any chance drylined with plasterboard and they used solid dabs of bonding where the wall units would be to get a good fixing?

It doesn't help identify the source of the dampness but would at least explain the strange distribution of the staining and be one less thing for my poor old brain to think about.
 
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jbwilliamz, hi.

May be worth researching the possibility of a thermal imaging scan?

Such a course of action may be able to pin point the actual location of any debris in the Cavity?

One firm that I have used in the past has a digital imaging system that can detect leaks in an under floor heating system the presence of leaking pipe and the extent of the spread of the water that has leaked.

As I understand it the thermal imaging system detects the differential temperatures within the fabric of the wall or floor a good operator can tell you where in your situation can tell you where the cavity is blocked by a bit of brick or a big lump of mortar, each of which can occur at any height of a wall.

Bottom line is that if you can get the position of the obstructions pretty well pin pointed you will remove the hit and miss aspect of what you are intending to do, not that I am saying your ideas are no good, what I am trying to say any advantage that you can get to reasonably accurately tell where the obstruction is then you can have a go at that particular point?

For example, in the insurance industry [where for my sins I work] there are several firms that are undertaking Insurance claims against the installers of the cavity insulation by obtaining digital images of cavity walls to prove that the insulation in the cavity is saturated in place generally loads of areas ?

Suggest you research this topic, and prior to entering a contract for work you get proof from the Company that they can deliver the Images you need?

Ken.
 
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May be worth researching the possibility of a thermal imaging scan

Will it tell the difference between damp bricks, damp insulation, a hole in the insulation, a blob of mortar in the cavity, or a gobbed up hole in the blockwork. Or do they all show up as blue?

Determining the cause of damp patches on walls is not that difficult.
 
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"Woody" Hi.

As I understand it, a good operative with decent kit can disseminate all sorts of things.

I was at a "Presentation" where the trained Operative who took the Images walked us through the findings and analysis of what we were looking at, the results were compelling, OK it was a presentation aimed at the glorification of the system and the Company who were offering this "Service"

OK there are a load of "Ambulance Chasers" in the Insurance game who are looking to cash in on damp walls occasioned by cavity wall insulation installers, But? it is an option that is worthy of some consideration?

Ken.
 
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The new £300 Android / ios USB dongles from Flir do seem like a very good price compared to the 2k entry level of the hand held imagers.
 
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The new £300 Android / ios USB dongles from Flir do seem like a very good price compared to the 2k entry level of the hand held imagers.

They're rubbish. The resolution is too low.
 
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Thanks all.

Wessex101 - I have access to a boroscope so I’ll have a look at the cavity trays. I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be looking at, but I’ll look it up before checking. With regards to the weepholes, is this something I could maybe add? As I recall, the builder plastered over the existing wall – we had a kitchen-diner in that space, but we took the wall down and had it all open plan. The wall was roughly where the extractor hood is. So no plasterboard was used.

^Woody^ - The eaves and guttering look in good shape. The one thing I have noticed when we get severe wind and rain (more often than not here on the Welsh coast), is that the driven rain does make it’s way through the boiler flue. This is directly above the kitchen in the loft on the gable end. It’s horizontal, so the rain comes through the boiler flue and we get some water dripping through the boiler itself. Not a huge amount, but enough to notice.

KenGMac – I’ll look into the camera advice. Anything that’ll help me pin point the locality of the issue, especially around the suspended unit, will be very useful.

I’m sure I asked this earlier, but would removing a couple bricks on the corner of the house be ok? Just enough to get a length of timer through to knock mortar off the wall ties.
 
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