Damp Proof Survey – all you need to know

What is a Damp Proof Survey and Is It Helpful?

Whether you are considering buying a new home or have recently purchased a property, understanding if there are any damp issues or risks present could save you a serious amount of money in the future. Not only can damp in the home become unsightly, but it can also create a serious health hazard and even lead to structural issues in the property over time if left unchecked. Due to the wet climate in the UK, damp problems are fairly common in homes, which is why it is recommended by experts to have a damp inspection conducted on your new property or a property that you are thinking about buying. While a regular homebuyer’s survey will look for instances of damp in the home and alert you to them, a damp survey goes into further detail about the types of damp that are present, high-risk areas for damp, and recommendations for dealing with the damp in the future that you might find useful.

What Damp Will Be Inspected in a Homebuyer’s Survey?

Although a homebuyer’s survey is not required legally when you are buying a home, some mortgage lenders will insist that you get one and experts recommend investing in one before you part with your money for a new property. There are various homebuyer’s survey options available depending on the size, age, condition and type of property that you are buying and how in-depth you’d like the results to go. Whatever type of home survey you go for, damp is likely to be one of the issues that the surveyor will look for. However, this survey looks for many potential issues with the property while a damp survey will focus specifically on this one.

When Might I Need a Damp Proofing London Survey?

After having a homebuyer’s survey conducted on a property that you are considering buying, you might decide to have a further damp proofing survey carried out if you have noticed that damp is an issue that seems to have come up a lot in the results. The survey will go into further detail on the type of damp that has affected the property and provide you with more information on the steps that will be necessary to repair it and prevent it from reoccurring in the future. In addition, you will also learn more about any damp-related problems that have developed or are at high risk of developing as a result, such as mould. Your chartered surveyor might recommend having a damp proofing survey carried out if they have found a lot of damp problems or risks in the home. If you have recently purchased a property and want to carry out renovation work on it, a damp proofing survey can be useful for learning more about the structure of the property and if any further work will need to be carried out to repair damp or reduce the damp risk before you begin.

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Reasons for Damp Proofing – What Leads to Damp in the Home?

Many UK homes have damp problems that are the result of condensation, which occurs when the warm and moist air that we generate from everyday living inside our properties comes into contact with colder surfaces like walls and windows, where it turns back into water through the condensation process. However, damp can also be the result of moisture penetrating through the walls from outside or rising up the walls from the ground level. Some common causes of damp in the home that will be looked for in the damp proof inspection include:

Leaks:

Leaks in the home’s plumbing system or the gutters can cause damp and lead to serious problems like mould, rot, and penetrating damp through into other rooms or neighbouring properties when left untreated. Since plumbing leaks might be hidden behind walls and may not always be immediately obvious. This can lead to a lot of damp that is only noticeable once it has reached a serious level. Leaks in the home that cause damp can often be spotted by keeping an eye out for patches of damp that are localised to a specific area, and leaks from concealed pipes might cause damp that does not appear to be from any specific source. Check pipes for cracks, corrosion and faulty joints if you have noticed damp that could potentially be from a leak. It’s also worth checking gutters and downpipes in the area for blockages and damage.

Damp Proof Course Problems:

Damp that occurs at the bottom of the walls on the ground floor, just above the skirting boards, is usually the result of problems with the home’s damp proof course. In an older home, the damp proof course may no longer be working effectively, it could be faulty, or bridged, which can lead to this problem known as rising damp. This problem can be the result of anything that has caused an excess amount of soil to bridge the damp proof course such as a new patio or flower bed. If nothing has changed in your garden and there’s no reason to suggest that additional soil has bridged the course, then it could be faulty and might need professional replacing.

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Condensation:

Condensation is one of the common problems that leads to damp in the home and will always be inspected for during a damp proofing survey. Over the past two decades, condensation has become one of the leading causes of damp in homes around the UK. This problem occurs due to the large amounts of warm and moist air that we produce from everyday living activities like cooking, washing, making hot drinks, and even breathing when we are at home. This moist air is filled with water which then becomes trapped inside the property and condensates when it comes into contact with cooler surfaces; most commonly the external walls and windows. This can then lead to damp patches on the wall. Improving the heating and ventilation in your home might be necessary for dealing with condensation issues.

What to Expect From a Damp Proof Survey London?

The damp proof survey is an important process to ensure that your new property or any property that you are considering purchasing is of a suitable standard and that any signs of damp or damp risk factors in the home are identified. This survey is a form of investigation in the property that will solely focus on finding damp issues and risks, along with looking at the extent of any damage that has already been caused to the property as a result of damp. Once the survey has been carried out, you will be provided with recommendations for the next steps to take to repair, reverse, and reduce future damp issues.

A damp proof survey is carried out by a trained professional who will need access to every area of the home to inspect where there is any damp present, how much damp is present, and any damage that it has caused. The surveyor will also determine the future damage that could potentially be caused by the current damp problems if they are not quickly repaired, helping you to prioritise the repairs that should be done first to minimise future problems.

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Once you have arranged the damp survey, the specialist will arrange a date to access the property and carry out the inspection. If you are currently in the process of purchasing the property, they will arrange this with the current owners. They will need to ask the current owner a series of questions about the damp problems that they have noticed and if there have been any changes since the problems were first identified. They may also need to ask the current owner about any past damp problems with the home that have been repaired since.  If you have had a homebuyer’s survey or structural survey carried out that has identified problems with damp, they may ask to look at the report.

Once the specialist has gained the information that they need from your survey report and asking questions, they will begin the inspection. They are likely to need access to all areas of the property to look for any potential damp problems and focus on any areas that have been previously highlighted. They will use different devices while carrying out the survey including a damp meter, which can identify any signs of damp in walls that are not yet visible to the naked eye. They will need to access the property both horizontally and vertically and check the damp proof course to put together a moisture profile and a final report. The findings will be sent to you via email or post and will usually be written in terms that are easy for untrained people to understand. It will explain any damage found, its severity, and recommended next steps for repairs. You may also receive an estimate for likely repair costs.

Whether you’re buying a new home or want to be fully aware of any damp problems in your current property, a damp survey is a worthwhile investment to make.

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