Would you go to a butcher rather than a vet if your pet needed an operation? Would you let a legal secretary represent you in court rather than a barrister? No? Our point is why use people who are not qualified or competent. Now please read on.
We received a call to our offices asking to survey a property that was currently being renovated by a so called builder. It was the home owner who was concerned that after the plastering had been carried out the plaster was not drying out at the bottom and in the other room the walls were wet.
When our surveyor arrived at the house he noticed a bridging issue straight away where the plaster was touching the solid floor. On speaking with the home owner and then main contractor the story emerged that the plasterers had carried out the damp and remedial work after telling the main contractor that is what they did (honest guv). When questioned further and some phone call tennis with the main contractor it emerged that the plasterers had hacked off the existing plaster only up to around 360mm, then the walls had had a backing coat of renderlite salt neutralising plaster before being skimmed. They had not installed a damp proof course (dpc) either. We also found out that prior to buying the property the home owner had not had a damp & timber survey carried out, (school boy error).
Our surveyor then tested the walls and took readings which confirmed the walls had rising damp on some walls, sulphate contamination (salt damp) on the chimney breast and bridging issues on the other walls.
The plasterers who said they were damp-proofers gave no guarantee for their work after they were paid and did not return to face the music. The qualification for damp surveying is the CSRT.
After diagnosing the problem we put together a scheme of works that would solve the damp issues and return the walls so they would be dry and decoration spoil free. The customer accepted the quote and we programmed the work to start straight away as they needed to get the property finished. Just imagine if you were needing to move into your property that was having work done and the delays were due to rogue tradesmen.
Once our damp technicians started to knock off the existing plaster the full extent of the previous plasterers/damp-proofers became apparent. They had fixed membrane to some of the walls and cut it short at the bottom then plastered below all the way to the floor. In other places browning plaster was left between the door casing and the masonry and this too was touching the floor. they also left a plinth of render stuck on probably because it was hard to get off and they didn’t have the correct drills, this was touching the floor too. In the pantry they had just left the existing original plaster touching the floor.
We drilled and injected a new dpc to all the walls we were working on. With the age of the property and the fact that it had rising damp in the masonry we installed the dpc to stop the moisture rising from that point on and so the damp masonry could dry over time.
With the chimney breast we decided to use 2 systems that are ideal and quick. one is NatCem 35 which we mixed then put on a coat to the masonry, then on the sides we stuck plasterboards using Safeguards dry base acrylic. The NatCem 35 sets in an hour and the acrylic used with instastick will set in 15 mins, this could then be skimmed.
We look at each job as we knock off the plaster and assess it as we go along this way we can use the most suitable products for that particular area. they are all covered by our guarantee whether it is a hybrid system or all the same type.
In this case the customer ended up paying twice and had to part with money they had not budgeted for. Dont make the same mistake. When buying a property always have a pre-purchase damp & timber survey and report carried out, £2-300 may save you thousands in the few years after. Always use Property Care Association (PCA) qualified surveyors and member companies for competent work and contractors. you can go on the PCA website and carry out a post code search for your nearest company.
If you have a renovation project or just suspect you have some damp issues why not click on our website and download our free e book on signs of damp in your property.