Various contaminants can build up in masonry walls which eventually become hygroscopic, i.e. they attract and hold damp. This is especially true of chimneys where contaminants from the combustion process are produced in volume. Combining this with the reduced use of fireplaces can lead to chimneys becoming permanently damp. Eradication of this type of damp is problematic and often requires the use of wall membranes. In all cases attention must be paid to keeping the chimney open, ventilated, regularly swept, and clear of debris.
Hygroscopic damp can be caused by long term rising damp drawing salts up from the ground and depositing them in masonry walls. These salts must be removed and/or neutralised, often through removal and replacement of contaminated plaster.
Damp Investigation Terms and Conditions
Version 1 Revision 0
Date: 25th January 2018
1. All Damp Investigations are undertaken on a non-invasive basis. They will be confined to visual examination, use of moisture meters, and use of other electronic monitoring equipment where necessary. Unless otherwise agreed and instructed, we will not remove any fixture or fitting. This includes floor finishes, floorboards, furniture, pictures, counter tops, dishwashers, washing machines, plinths, and the like.
2. Our inspection will exclude outbuildings such as sheds, garages, stores and conservatories unless specifically requested for inclusion under your instructions.
3. Background and historical information may be obtained from the person instructing the Damp Investigation. This information will be taken and used at face value. No attempt will be made to verify or check the information provided.
4. The Damp Investigation will concentrate on the brief given by the person instructing. We may comment on other aspects of the building which may have a direct influence on damp and/or decay, and are within the capabilities of our surveyor. These will only be mentioned in brief without disruptive investigation.
5. Our Report will include moisture readings. These will be obtained using Protimeter electronic moisture meters which use electrical resistance to measure moisture levels. Machines of this kind are the best available, but readings can be corrupted by some building materials and by some contaminants in building materials. The readings cannot therefore be guaranteed to be accurate.
6. Regarding point of reference, all left, right, front and rear references are taken from standing outside the property facing the main front elevation.
7. Damp and water will move and migrate through buildings following paths of least resistance that are difficult to predict. Whilst we will use our skills and experience to diagnose both causes and remedies to damp and water ingress, no guarantee can be given. In many cases many different theories may need to be put forward, investigated, and either proven or disproven. When one theory is proven this does not necessarily mean there are no other unidentified causes. In some situations, it will be necessary to dry a damp area and then leave it to be monitored to see if damp returns.
8. In some situations, it will be necessary to recommend invasive investigation. This is normally aimed at exposing hidden constructions and hidden materials, to allow their examination and evaluation. Invasive investigation will only be done on instruction. The results of invasive investigation, by their nature, will be unknown, and no positive result can be guaranteed.
9. The conclusions, recommendations, opinions, outline costings, and the like set out in our reports will be based on our skills and experience, and best endeavours. Diagnosis of damp, water ingress, and associated remedial work is notoriously difficult. It is therefore not possible to offer or imply any guarantee whatsoever. No reliance should be placed on our service, including verbal discussion with our surveyor, our surveyor’s written report, associated references and referrals, and the like. Before any significant remedial cost is incurred, the person instructing our service should satisfy themselves that the cost is justified. This may involve obtaining a 2nd opinion and/or consulting with other damp experts.