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Posted by: on 01/11/2016
I visited a property in Teeside on 2.11.16 to investigate of paint flaking from the wall around a window opening as well as numerous other damp related issues. The property is a 200-year-old stone built cottage.
The paint is flaking from the wall and there is a visible damp stain on the wall finishes. Externally everything appeared to be in order. The pointing was in good condition and the mastic seals around the windows are in good order. There is a bathroom directly above the study and the main suspect for the cause of dampness was a leak from the internal plumbing in the bathroom.
An inspection of the bathroom did not reveal any obvious evidence of a leak and all appeared to be well.
Further investigation in the study revealed that behind the box work below the window was the manifold for the underfloor heating system. Taking moisture profiles along with visual evidence the conclusion reached was that the cause of the dampness is likely to be condensation.
The location of the underfloor heating manifold will result in extreme changes in temperature in this area. When the heating comes on the surrounding masonry will heat up dramatically and when it is turned off the masonry will cool down rapidly. The walls have previously been treated by another company who applied a cementitious render to the wall full height. Sand/cement renders generally produce a cold surface which would aggravate the issue. I asked the client how long this problem had been going on. They said approximately 2 years. They state that the problem did not exist prior to the sub floor heating being installed.
I have recommended that measures be put in place to regulate the Relative Humidity as there is a utility room close by which has no mechanical ventilation extraction (all wet rooms ie bathrooms, kitchens, utility rooms should have some form of extraction fitted).
The thermal efficiency of the wall can be improved using a suitable insulating material to prevent such dramatic changes in temperature and thereby minimising the potential for condensation to occur.
I am confident that the above measures will result in a satisfactory remedy and the client will at long last achieve a dry surface ready to receive final decoration.