For all of those of you who have studied the floor plan and matched it against the front view of our house you’ll realise that the lower ground floor is out of view. The property has only two stories at the front but is three stories from the side. This means that the back wall of some of the rooms underground and those walls are sitting adjacent to a pile of wet soil – so understandably there is damp. One room is in use as a pool room, the other hasn’t been completed for use as an internal room and is currently used as a cellar.
As we already had a full structural survey we knew that we had a damp issue in the basement – we just didn’t know how bad it would be. We imagined that it would be near five figures to get it sorted – since we’ve heard some damp horror stories and from googling it seemed like it is a very expensive process.
As a flat dweller damp hasn’t been much of an issue, although we experienced some rising damp at the lower ground property we rented in Edinburgh. The walls of houses generally have a barrier in them to stop rising damp. This is often a horizontal, plastic or slate strip in the wall. They corrode and become less effective over time so generally a damp proof is only guaranteed for ten years before they need to be renewed.
Front of house:
When you walk down the steps and along the side of the house you see this view:
The small window is the side window to the current pool room. You can also see that it is below the level of the steps to the front of the house – and therefore below the garden.
This is the back of the current office:
The rooms affected by the damp are the cellar:-
And the back wall of the pool table:
So this window in the office is at the back of the house (as above):
We’ve had some great news from the damp proofers who surveyed the property – the price is barely into four figures rather than five figures as expected. Like with the roof we’ve been blessed to find that most of the things we thought were going to break the bank have only smashed it a little.
If like us you love old houses – you’ll know that they come with their special niggles so make sure you get expert advice from a damp-proofing company, independent damp specialist, builder or surveyor.
We have used www.mybuilder.com in the past to look for recommended workmen and naturally turned to it when looking for a damp proof pro. Stuart also carried out some research and we arranged three quotes. It’s always best to get two or three companies to quote for the work before you choose the best provider.
When dealing with damp specialists make sure that they offer a guarantee and that the guarantee is insurance backed. These guarantees are important when selling the property and verifying the work was carried out – it really is worth it in the long term to save a lot of hassle (and make sure you file them or better yet get a copy filed with the deeds).
One thing to pay close attention to is the scale of work recommended by each provider. If the different companies don’t recommend the same course of action then consider paying a surveyor to assess your property as they won’t have a vested interest in selling you services.
Now that damp is soon to be sorted – we’ll have to explore a solution to the step up and the seating area with the rubble & pipes?
How about you – have you renovated any wrecks? Has rising damp ever been an issue? Like us have you had better than expected news when DIYing?