I was carrying out a survey on a Lancashire property which was a 1930’s, three bedroom, semi-detached house. The house appeared, upon my initial observations, to be in reasonable condition. Many of the rooms had recently been refurbished and redecorated.
In the kitchen, the new units looked very new in a contemporary design. The floor covering was tiled. When I came to test for damp I found that there was rising damp in the floor. Unsurprisingly, the householder was shocked. In reality many floors have rising damp.
So how does it happen? Many houses have concrete floors and when a floor covering is laid, a waterproof membrane is laid down on top of the concrete before the tiles are laid on the floor. Unfortunately it is all too easy for the membrane to rip or tear and this renders them ineffective. Damp will always find a weak point, somewhere to escape, and it therefore shows on the damp meter as high levels of moisture.
On newer properties the problem can still arise when tiles are laid on top of the concrete slab because the concrete has not yet fully dried out. A membrane is laid over the top before the tiles are laid and consequently the moisture is trapped. The advantage to the builder is that it speeds up the construction time. The alternative is to apply a liquid damp proof membrane but of course this then takes time to dry out.
Currently newer heavy duty membranes are available which are more expensive but allow the concrete floor to breathe so that any trapped moisture can escape. This also means that excavation of the floor in an older property is not required in order to resolve a problem of rising damp.
Would you have detected damp in the floor of a house on your first or second visit? All most certainly not, just another reason to get a survey from your local Lancashire surveyor from Home Inspection Services.