Rising Damp

23 Nov 2020
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United Kingdom
Hi all I’ve got some pretty major issues with rising damp in my property

I live in a 1900s stone built house which is in a corner and attached to 4 of the 5 sides!


A wall in the kitchen which is an external wall to the rear of the property. I’m presuming the sellers have plasterboarded over the wall and the damp has come through (I knew about it before I moved in) I’m wondering the best way to sort this out. The rear does need re pointing but this seems to be a rising damp issue and possibly because the floor level outside is higher than inside. However I don’t own the rear of the property it belongs to a business.

secondly, a party wall in the living room is also damp. It is the entire length of the wall at almost 5m long. I know the other property it connects to also has damp issues as this is the local chippy and I have a friend who works there. There is a lead gutter between the two property’s, however I can’t get to this to see if this is the issue. I don’t even know where to start!!

P.s I won’t be paying a specialist to install a DPC as it’s a stone build and it will make the issue worse.

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Pics of the interior and the exterior would help.
A camera on stick might let you take pics of the gutter.
You have two potential party wall (PWA) issues with the chippie party wall, and the neighbour's high ground level.

Your allowed to go on a neighbour's property to carry out repairs - pointing, renewing a gutter etc. - but not to go digging trenches. Others on here have more knowledge of such issues etc.

Instructing an Independent Damp & Timber surveyor (they must be independent of any contractor) or a RICS surveyor will cost you in the hundreds but could help you in the long run.

Do you still have the mortgage surveyor's report?
You need someone to firstly diagnose the actual cause, and then the appropriate remedy.

If its a simple case of identifying and removing the source thats fine, any competent surveyor should be able to do that. But if there are issues relating to the stone walls and damp, that might require specialist knowledge which most surveyors may lack.

Have a look at www.property-care.org and consider using a specialist member from there.

Dampness caused or coming from another property can be dealt with via your council's environmental protection team, who can require the owners of that land to sort it out.
I already have a surveyors report sorry forgot to mention that. The issue is rising damp

the external wall as i said the outside level is higher than inside, looking for ways to fix this as I can’t just go digging up someone else’s land. This wall has also had an air vent fitted to try and help the issue.

the party wall with the chippy was put down to being a mixture of the rainwater pipe from both property’s and the fact the living room floor has had a concrete layer over the original flooring.

It’s such a complicated house and I have no idea where to start, of course this is what I signed up to when I bought the house
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Also an issue, there is litterally no window anywhere near the back gutter which connects my house to the chippy’s closest thing is a velux skylight which is almost 3m in the air in the third bedroom
I already have a surveyors report
Do you?
Was it a dedicated report or a buyers survey? Have they seen damp on the wall and called it rising damp?

Damp at the bottom of a wall is not rising damp. Damp at the bottom of a wall rising by capillarity is. The difference is in diagnosing the cause not the dampness.
Just seen your last posts #4 & #5.

I know it can be disheartening to confront various remedial building issues after the buzz of owning a new house, maybe a first property.
But none of the work that might be required is structural.
Neither is it complicated if its done one simple step at a time.
It will be messy but necessary.
Are there retentions on any mortgage?

Without ID can you post what seems relevant from the surveyor's report/ And the pics i mentioned - plus pics of the living room floor showing the floor damp surface.

You can use a tile lath longer than 3m as a camera stick - its a common practice to do this from roof lights.

We obviously cant replace a surveyor on site but with the right information we can give you a good idea.
So here’s the surveyors report on dampness. Roof has already been remedied. So this is no longer an issue. Other photos are the damp wall in the kitchen and the exterior of this wall. And the last one is the wall with the alcove has damp coming through the plasterboard the previous owners used to remedy, right at the bottom. This is party wall with chippy


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the exterior wet wall shows a lot of white staining. Is that efflorescence, as seen under plumbing leaks?

What is at the top of the wet patch?
That’s some sort of an air vent that has been installed. When it rains I can hear trickling water through it but I can’t get behind to see as it’s not my property and the owners are funny about it.
Another thing ive notes from looking is the whole of next doors wall looks to be wet but mine doesn’t. So possibly they have issues with penetrating damp and it’s sweeping across into my property?
If you need to access a Neighbouring property in order to effect necessary repairs to your own property, the Courts will instruct teh neighbours to allow access if required. Look up the 'Access to Neighbouring Land' Act, for more information.

Difficult to say more without looking at things more closely, but I'd be seeking to follow the advice in the Surveyors report initially, and see how things pan out from there. The Gutters are in clear need of maintenance and/or repair, and the party gutter may well be constructed from lead, this can split over time and leak, so would probably need renewing or lining to make it watertight once more.

The exterior walls, options are available Tanking being one possibility, to seal them from the inside, if not the outside.

I would also redact the survey report to remove personal information.
You appear to have instructed a surveyor & privately paid for this extensive survey report?
Unfortunately the report items have not been numbered, & some of the defects have been jumbled into one paragraph instead of being listed separately - do you have annotated pics incorporated in the report?
Has an annotated plan view drawing been provided?

1. The stone wall with the efflorescence that JohnD detected needs deep raking out and repointing with sand & lime mortar. The whole wall should be repointed at the same time.

2. Penetrating damp through the solid wall will probably require you to remove all the interior plasterboard:
- the shed roof might be contributing to penetrating damp.
- hack off all interior plaster
- and rake out the interior pointing.
- you will then have a choice of exposing and living with a bare stone wall
- or you can render the interior wall with 3:1 sand & lime
- or some other arrangement to be discussed on site?

3. Theres also solutions to the high ground level issues that must discussed on site before any interior work can be realistically proposed but you could still do parts of #2.

4. I'm assuming that all floors are solid concrete. The concrete floors might lack membranes (DPM) and be contributing to rising damp issues in the walls?

5. You claim a lead gutter between the properties and the survey notes "internal gutters" - traditional Victorian internal gutters often ran across the loft from one elevation to the other.
Replace the lead gutter with plastic guttering if possible.

And you hear trickling water from inside or outside a "vent"?
I am 2 years into renovating a damp house. We did have a leaky roof, but in my opinion the single biggest cause of our damp was inappropriate use of cement. firstly try and find a roofer that isn't a cowboy and get them to check the roof / gutters.

but if it was me i would hack off all that cement pointing outside on the elevations you have access to. And let the house start breathing. stone houses need to breathe with a lime mortar. Next door also appears to have had the same cement treatment.

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