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Posted by: Neil on 02/11/2016
Upon the client's grandson entering the roof void of her bungalow to retrieve the annual Christmas decorations he was shocked to discover huge amounts of water on the underside of the roof. In a panic, the client called a friend who recommended a builder that would investigate the problem.
The builder called round and diagnosed defective roof coverings and recommended that the ridge tiles be re-pointed as well as renewing the lead flashings. The quoted cost of the work was £970. This work was carried out without success. The problem continued.
Another friend recommended a friend who was a builder. This time it was diagnosed that the guttering around the house was fitted incorrectly. The guttering was replaced at a cost of £800. The problem continued (how the rainwater from the guttering could travel up to the ridge was beyond me but who am I to question his wisdom?).
Yet another builder was contacted who recommended that the client contacts a specialist surveyor and passed on my name (i respect his honesty as he did not know what the problem was).
I called and inspected the roof void. The bathroom was directly below the worst affected area which was a bit of a clue. There was an extraction fan fitted in the bathroom ceiling which was working effectively. After removing sections of the ceiling insulation and locating the fan on the ceiling in the roof void I discovered that the ducting which should have been connected to the fan to divert the extracted moist air from the bathroom to the vent in the soffit had never actually been fitted. Basically, the extractor fan was pumping moisture laden air into the roof void which had the minimum of through flow of air. The fan had been fitted 9 months earlier.
The solution. Purchase a vent kit from the local DIY shop at a cost of £15.99 and connect the fan to the soffit vent. I installed a dehumidifier in the roof void to promote rapid drying of the underfelt and roof timbers. I re-visited 2 weeks later and the roof was drying out nicely with no water droplets within the roof void. The dehumidifier was removed and the extractor vent left to carry out its intended duty of extracting moisture laden air to outside atmosphere.
At one point the client had seriously considered replacing the entire roof coverings as she was convinced that there was a major problem with the roof. She had actually obtained a quote for this work of £9,500.
It is frightening to think that she could have spent all of that hard earned money for no justifiable reason whatsoever.
The moral of the story is that 'Free Advice' is normally worth what you have paid for it... Nothing !!!! If you think that a professional opinion is expensive, wait until you see what an amateur could cost you.