Timber & Damp Reports
Timber and Damp Reports are often undertaken by the same specialist company.
A timber report will involve the inspection of all readily accessible timbers, both structural and non-structural. Should any defects or concerns be highlighted the report will recommend what action is necessary to remedy the problem and advise upon repair and treatment.
The most common factors that may affect the timbers to a property are:
Wood Boring Insects (Woodworm)
Woodworm may manifest itself in a number of varieties ranging from 3mm in size to 25mm. Eggs are laid on or in the timber and the larvae that hatch feed and bore into the timber which consequently results in weakening of timbers and a risk to the structural integrity of the property.
Treatment of active woodworm involves applying insecticides to the timbers. In extreme cases where the timbers structural integrity has been compromised by the attack, replacement may be the only solution.
Fungal Decay (Dry Rot & Wet Rot)
Moist and damp conditions provide an ideal environment for fungal attack. In cases where the moisture content is over 20% this is classified as 'dry rot'. Fine grey strands of fungus spread through wood and other materials developing into sporophores which give off spores which in turn spread the fungus further. Timber suffering from dry rot becomes very dry and brittle and begins to fracture to such an extent that it can be broken and crumble by hand. When the moisture content is higher than 40% to 50% this is classified as 'wet rot'. The presence of wet rot in timber is recognised by a dark brown staining colour and splitting or longitudinal cracking.
Treatment of fungal decay is initially to remove the source of the dampness which is enabling the fungus to 'feed' and develop. Exposure works will then be necessary to determine the full extent of the damage caused. Following any repairs or replacement works it will be necessary to treat the timbers with an approved fungicide to safeguard against recurrence.
When there are obvious signs of damp or a valuation / building surveyor has used a damp-meter to internal walls and is concerned there may be rising damp it will be necessary to commission a Damp Report to determine the full extent of the problem, the cause and the level of remedial work necessary to rectify.
Rising Damp is the most common form of dampness. This occurs when moisture from the ground rises, by capillary action, up through the walls or the ground floor slab.
Internally walls and floors become stained and damaged by the salts which are contained within the moisture. Rising damp will only extend up to 1 metre above ground level, capillary action cannot lift the moisture any further. Properties that have adequate damp proof courses and membranes should not suffer from rising damp.
Treatment of rising damp will involve carrying out a chemical damp proof course and redecoration / replastering internally. In extreme cases the ground floor slab will need replacement a damp proof membrane incorporated. Most damp proof specialists offer a 30 year guarantee for their workmanship.
Another form of dampness is when damp penetrates through the roof and external walls. This damp penetration is normally causes by insufficient flashings at roof and chimney abutments or inadequate guttering systems.
Dampness may also be caused by condensation, the occurrence of which is entirely the responsibility of the inhabitants as opposed to a defect with the property. Lack of ventilation and using radiators for drying clothes is a common factor in this cause.