Damp SurveysAlpine Damp
Local Surveyors Near You.
- We are totally independent of all contractors
- We have over 30+ years of surveying experience
- Our Surveyors are all employed by us
- We have offices and Surveyors that cover Central & Southern England & Wales
There are various forms of damp within properties, which are sometimes incorrectly diagnosed by those looking to gain additional unnecessary expensive repairs, or just because a thorough survey was not undertaken in order to make the right diagnosis.
Alpine Damp take their time to make the right diagnosis, utilising numerous survey methods for confirmation. On completion a detailed report will be provided, detailing exactly what has been undertaken as part of the investigation or survey, the results, and our unbiased recommendations for the rectification of the issue.
Detailed below are the various damp classifications:
Alpine Damp undertake literally hundreds of successful surveys for both Domestic and Commercial customers throughout Central and Southern England. We are totally independent of all damp proofing contractors, and have no interest in financial gain from repair works.
Some will say that Rising Damp is a true cause of damp, and will use it as an easy answer when they cannot diagnose the issue correctly. This is all to often used by companies wishing to sell products such as Chemical Damp Proof courses. Often you will be advised by these companies to insert a Chemical DPC, hack off the plaster to 1m, apply a vertical membrane, and re-plaster using a Gypsum type plaster. One question to be asked is why is a vertical membrane required if their Chemical DPC does what they say. The truth is that they are not rectifying anything, and are trapping moisture within the lower wall section, and stopping it from being visible to the customer by applying the vertical membrane. The result of this will be increased deterioration levels to the brickwork and mortar.
The fact is that Rising Damp does not exist, although saturation can occur at the base of walls for various reasons. It is imperative to ascertain and understand the true cause of your low level damp, and rectify the source point. Alpine Surveys will combine an extensive external survey, with a detailed internal survey, and locate the true cause of the damp. We guarantee that our recommendations will rectify your issue, and our recommendations will never include a new Chemical DPC, or the need to hack off plaster and insert a vertical membrane.
Often incorrectly diagnosed as Rising Damp, Penetrating Damp is caused by water penetrating horizontally or from the “top down”. A common cause of Penetrating Damp is where rain and wind drive water horizontally into the building structure directly through porous brick work, or through the external covering such as render where defects or deterioration exist. The penetrated water is attracted by the salts in the structure and the internal warmth, thus drawing it into the property, which in turn causes internal damp.
Another common issue is where the water becomes trapped behind the rendered wall, and it has no escape, therefore leaving only one possibility for evaporation and drying, and that is to pass internally. This is a common issue with solid walls which have been covered with a non-breathable render, such as cement based, as opposed to Lime based materials.
Penetrating Damp can also enter the property via chimney stacks that have absorbed water, through Parapets, or through a leaking roof. The water will enter the property, and penetrate downwards into the rooms beneath.
On a lower level, Penetrating Damp can be caused by internal and external floor and ground levels being incorrect. For example where gardens and paths are raised without knowledge above a DPC, thus causing a bridging effect, and therefore allowing water to penetrate the property. This is another common misdiagnosis of Rising Damp, where a simple rectification will resolve the issue.
In an attempt to stop Penetrating Damp from entering the property, cavity walls were introduced in 1932. This provided two wall skins with a cavity air break of normally 50mm.
So long as the cavity remained free of debris or forms of bridging, the solution would remain successful. After 1982 almost all properties built were constructed using a cavity wall design.
As there are so many variants, and ways in which water can penetrate the structure and property, it is vital that a thorough investigation is undertaken in order to diagnose the actual issue, or in many cases issues. Alpine Damp will do exactly what is required to ascertain the true cause, and provide the minimal recommendations for a positive conclusion, without the need for unnecessary expensive works, including assessing the internal and external levels, surveying the structure for potential defects, and if authorised and necessary, examine the cavity by way of camera inspection.
Even the slightest water leak from an internal or external supply pipe or heating pipe can cause saturation, and in turn internal damp. Depending on the location of the leak, the damp would resemble either Rising Damp or Penetrating Damp. To an extent it is irrelevant which occurs, as it will be proved as a matter of course during the investigation, and the leak will be pinpointed.
Unlike most other Damp Surveyors, Alpine Damp carry Acoustic leak detection equipment on board including Digital Correlation and Ground Microphone equipment, along with Gas Insertion and Pipe Location equipment. Please check this when discussing the problem with other companies, as if they are not equipped, you will need to also pay for a Leak Detection survey to pinpoint the leak, whereas Alpine Damp will include it.
Similar to a supply pipe leak, a leak from a sewer or drain could also cause ground saturation, and over time cause internal damp. Alpine Damp are equipped to inspect small bore pipes up to 100mm in dia. In order to check for defects.
Often experienced in the home is Condensation, recognised by water droplets on windows, black mould in certain areas, and sometimes light mould normally green on items in cupboards. It is a growing problem that is often misdiagnosed as structural damp, as the visual effects can look very similar, and in turn structural damp is often misdiagnosed as condensation because the surveyor does not take the time to diagnose it accurately.
Unfortunately we are the main cause of condensation in most properties, as with the drive to increase insulation levels in properties, and block out draughts, we are increasing the opportunities for condensation in our properties, and upsetting the balance between the heating, cooling and ventilation within the property.
Everyday living and poor ventilation cause airborne moisture, such as having baths and showers, and steam from cooking which are the most common causes. The warm moist air fills the property, and is increased with central heating. The external walls and windows of the property are cooler, and when the warm moist air arrives on these surfaces, it condensates causing water droplets. On windows it is easy to see, and to most people obvious what it is, however the gradual saturation of walls due to condensation is less obvious, and is very often thought to be structural damp.
It is a fact that of all the damp related issues, Condensation is the one that is mostly misdiagnosed, and which people end up spending thousands to resolve with chemicals and surface coatings, when in fact a life change can resolve if not reduce it. There is only one certain way to be sure if the issue is condensation, or a more serious issue of structural damp, and that it to undertake a detailed investigation. Alpine Damp will determine if condensation is the problem, or structural damp by numerous methods including ascertaining the dew point level in the property, obtaining moisture content levels of the structure, and by Thermal Imaging to name just a few.