Is this condensation or damp ?

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Hi All.

At a friends house, I pointed out damp issues to him. Its a terrace house and it has not been habited for about 6 months or more, windows locked etc. He just bought the property. The wall paper is peeling off internally. He also informed me that there was some kind of damp treatment carried out on the property in 2016 by the previous owners.

I often get damp issues misdiagnosed, so hence the reason why I am posting here. My thoughts are that since the boiler was probably turned off (boiler lights are on, but i dont think it will work if the water supply has been turned off), windows locked in and the room not heated, moisture has nowhere to escape to and when it meets the cold wall, it turns into damp.

I am just wary of companies that come out claiming its rising damp etc and offering expensive remedies that are often not required.

In this case, is there anything that can be done, he plans to refurbish the house and I advised him to think about insulating the walls internally using an insulated plasterboard ? Will he also need to hack off a layer of plaster that is currently wet or can it be dried out ?


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Damp normally smells of damp.
That looks like cold wall and condensation.
Insulated plasterboard over bricks seems the way some deal with it. Stick on with foam and mechanical fixings
 
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tape a piece of clear plastic or clingfilm tightly to the wall.

If water is coming from the wall, beads and mist will appear under the film against the wall

if it is condensation coming from the air in the room, it will appear on the room side

it looks to me like it has pushed the paper (vinyl?) off the wall, suggsting a wet wall.

photograph the outside of that wall too please.
 
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Yes the wall is wet as i can feel it if i rub my hands on the wall. The wall paper easily comes off without a fight. Please see the external picture of the wall from outside.

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Its penetrating damp with maybe rising damp as well.
 
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Do the gutters leak?
Is there a way to tell without going there when its raining to inspect ? When you look at the brickwork outside, it looks damp/wet but its hard to say without checking on a rainy day.
 
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Is it just me, or are there witness marks coming down the wall from nextdoors downpipe missing the hopper?

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I'm on work break, so to quickly add:

Doubtful its anything to do with the gutters - the damp signs show in the sheltered area under the window sill.
The very high sand and cement plinth, and the enormous sloping fillet of sand and cement are assisting capillary action above any DPC and allowing penetration of your solid wall.
I notice the area where water is puddling on you path. Is the ground sloping towards the house?

I also notice that the neighbour has installed a new pathway to falls - falls that slope back, & lead water to a gulley. This suggests that they've also had penetrating damp issues.

All along the internal front elevation: remove (probably replace) the skirting board, & Knock off the wet plaster back to brick to a height say 300mm above the highest signs of damp.
Then render the wall with a 3:1 mix of sand & lime, and limelite skim finish.

Outside, remove the fillet and the plinth back to brick and clean and re-point the brickwork.
If the ground slopes towards the house then you will have to slope it away perhaps as the neighbour seems to have done?
 
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Random Grinch,
there are what could be historic staining all the way behind the down pipe & hopper, probably from a leaking CI down pipe thats been replaced with a plastic down pipe.

Although, fair play to you, there does seem to be some odd arrangement below the neighbours soffit.
The down pipe has been repaired - possibly previously blocked with grass debris from the RH neighbour's choked gutter.
 

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That red bit at the front does'nt look right? Assuming there is a damp course and air bricks, that must be covering both. My guess is that somebody did that to try to reduce damp issues before - probably hoping painting with the red paint stops water soaking in. Water probably coming up from the wet ground though. Assuming suspended timber floor it needs sub-floor ventilation, ie airbricks. Do any of the other houses have air bricks?

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Assuming the dark stains are water and are damp and not just other staining, this staining externally at the lower part of the wall, is too high for damp to be moving upwards, so more likely water coming down from the roof, or driven rain being held at low level.

Bear in mind that a solid-walled house, unheated for long periods will absorb moisture inwards from the external walls, and those walls will stay wetter for longer. This can create both damp walls and condensation damp, but this does not necessarily mean its a structural dampness problem - usually heating the place for a few months resolves things.
 
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the amount of water above that red thing does look enormous. Where could so much water come from? might be a spilling gutter splashing off the red thing.Maybe the downpipe does not lead to an effective drain, but to a choked, broken and leaking one.

Some people disagree with me for suspecting plumbing leaks, but a hundred year old water pipe with a leak would not be a surprise.

is there a water meter?

The red thing is very strange.
 
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thanks everyone for your input, I went there today to take some more photos. please see below. There are airbricks there according to what I can see, its going to rain within the next week. I will go there when its raining to see what is happening with the gutter.

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There is not much gap between the floor outside and DPC level.

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