Twistfix registered contractor, Perma-Fix of Portsmouth, has recently carried out a detailed damp survey on an old flint cottage on the outskirts of Chichester in West Sussex. A number of damp specialists had already diagnosed dampness to all walls and had recommended a new DPC injection treatment throughout.
In the opinion of Perma-Fix director Mr David Cole, an injected damp proof course was wholly inappropriate. As part of his own inspection, Mr Cole established that the thatched cottage, built in 1732, had thick brick and flint built perimeter walls which could not be adequately damp proofed by injection. Brick-infill timber framed structures formed all of the inner walls with the exception of several brick fireplaces.
Whilst there was certainly some damp in the inner walls, the survey revealled that brick infill panels were isolated from the ground by wooden frames and the brickwork was in fact completely dry. Further investigation revealed that it was the timber sole plates and uprights that had been affected by dampness in the form of wet rot decay which, along with beetle infestation, had eaten much of the timber away. Dampness, as evidenced by salt deposits, had obviously affected the brickwork in the large open fireplace and the erosion of several bricks had taken place.
The perimeter walls themselves were damp from floor to ceiling on both ground and first floor levels as many years of penetrating damp had taken its toll on the old cottage. Attempts to weatherproof the flint walls with hard cement pointing only served to exacerbate the problem by locking moisture in the walls and preventing its evaporation from the outside surfaces.
“All in all there needs to be a lot of careful renovation work carried out in order to restore the cottage,” said Mr Cole. “Whilst we will not be injecting a damp proof course, we will be getting rid of the cement pointing, the rotten timbers and the perished plasterwork. We will be damp proofing the surface of the external walls with a powerful water repellent that stops damp coming in but allows the walls to breathe so that they can dry naturally."
"Roofing timbers that were in contact with the perimeter walls were showing signs of wet rot decay and infestation. There will be a significant amount of timber preserving treatments required before we can hand back the property in a fully restored state,” added the damp specialist. “I cannot believe that other damp surveys concluded that a damp injection would sort the problem out."
Twistfix will be keeping a close eye on developments and will soon post updates on this exciting restoration project.
For information on the various timber and damp treatments that are available from Twistfix, or if you need to find a Registered Contractor then please contact our expert technical team on 0845 123 6006 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.