What does a damp survey involve?
Will a HomeBuyers survey pick up damp?
Due to the wet climate that we get in the UK, damp is not an uncommon sight in British properties. Damp problems are caused by excess moisture in the property and can lead to serious structural issues if left untreated. Damp is often a prime breeding ground for mould spores and can be dangerous to your health over time. If you are considering purchasing a new home, it’s important to check for signs of damp before making the purchase so that you know if there is an issue present, how serious it is, and what you’ll need to do once you have bought the home to deal with it and ensure that it does not get any worse.
Why Do You Need a Home Buyer’s Survey?
A home buyer’s survey is recommended to anybody who is considering purchasing a new home. Although it is not a legal requirement of buying a house, you might find that most mortgage lenders will require you to have the survey carried out before they are willing to accept your application and allow you to borrow the money that you need to purchase your home. There are various types of home buyer’s survey available depending on the size, type, age and condition of the property that you want to buy. The most popular is a homebuyer’s report, which looks for various issues including damp and damp-related problems like mould, wet and dry rot, and infestations. Along with that, the survey will also provide you with information on any structural damage, asbestos presence, non-compliant areas of the home, subsidence, and other problems that could lead to costly future repairs.
Will a Home Buyer’s Survey Pick Up Damp?
A homebuyer’s report is designed to look for any signs of damp in the home, providing you with the information that you need to make an informed decision about the issue and how much work it might need to correct once you become the owner of the property. The surveyor will carry out a full inspection of the walls and ceilings of the home and look for common issues like rising damp and find the potential reason for it so that you know what is going to need work to repair the damp once you move in. The surveyor will also be able to provide you with further information on potentially dangerous issues that have been caused by the damp problems in the home such as black mould, which can be harmful to respiratory health and will need dealing with immediately.
When Should You Get a Damp Survey?
Damp will be looked for as part of your home buyer’s survey, however, if there is significant damp found or the surveyor believes that there is a high risk of damp in the home you may be recommended a damp survey in addition to the general survey. This will involve checking the house purely for signs of damp and damp-related issues. Ideally, you should have this done after having a home buyer’s survey carried out that has flagged damp issues in the home. A damp survey should be carried out as early as possible before completing the sale since it will help you determine how much work needs to be done to fix the issue. Damp should be dealt with quickly since it can be smelly, unsightly, and lead to structural issues in your home along with causing a potential hazard to human health. Damp in the home is linked to several respiratory conditions and can pose a particular danger for people who suffer with conditions such as asthma.
What Causes Damp in a Home?
Most of the damp problems that you will find in UK homes are due to rain penetration through the walls and condensation. However, there are a number of issues that can potentially lead to damp in any home. Some of the most common reasons why damp is found in UK homes include:
A Bridged Damp Proof Course:
If you’ve noticed localised damp on the ground floor of the property around the bottom of the walls, this is usually due to a damp proof course that is potentially faulty or bridged. This results in a damp problem known as rising damp and could be caused by anything that has caused an excess amount of soil to bridge the course such as a new flower bed or patio in the garden. If there is nothing to suggest that the damp proof course has been bridged, then it’s likely that it has completely failed and will need to be replaced by a professional.
Leaks within the home can often be one of the major causes of damp in the property and when left unchecked, can lead to further serious issues like penetrating damp and wet rot. Damp that has occurred due to a leak in the home will often be localised to the area around the leak and usually is characterised by patches of damp that are only noticeable in one place. If you’ve noticed a patch of damp that appears to be localised to one place, it’s worth examining any gutters and downpipes in the area to check for any cracks, damage or faulty joints that could be leading to a leak. Blocked downpipes and drains can also be a major cause of leaks that lead to damp.
Most of the reasons that damp occurs in the home do not originate from outside of the property. Over the last two decades, one of the leading reasons for damp in UK homes is condensation. This occurs when large amounts of water from our everyday living become trapped within the property. We create water by breathing, washing, cooking, and many more of the things that you do day to day. When these activities produce warm, moist air that then comes into contact with the cool surface of the internal walls, this results in condensation which can cause damp and even mould if left unchecked. Good ventilation and consistent heating are essential to condensation prevention in the home.
What Does a Damp Survey Involve?
A damp survey is an important process for ensuring that the property is at a suitable standard and is solely based on identifying the signs of damp in the house. It is a form of property investigation that focuses on any damp issues that the property might have and the extent of any damage that has been caused. It will also list any appropriate next steps that you should take to reverse or reduce the issue.
Your damp survey will be carried out by a trained professional who will inspect the house to see where there is damp present, how much damp is present, and any damage that it could lead to in the future if it goes untreated, putting together a recommended course of action for dealing with the damp and minimising the damage.
Once you have booked a damp survey, your specialist will arrange a date to come and assess the property. You can expect them to ask questions about the damp problems that you have noticed or have come in in your homebuyer’s report, how long it has been going on for if you know, and if you have noticed any changes since the damp was first identified. These questions are likely to be asked to the current owner if you are in the process of purchasing it.
Once the surveyor has gathered as much information as possible about the property, they will make their way through the inspection to assess any potneital damp problems and focusing particularly on the areas that have been highlighted to them. They may use a variety of different deivces to carry out the inspection, including a damp meter which is a useful tool that is used to check walls for any signs of damp problems that might not be visible otherwise. They will assess the property both vertically and horizontally, create a moisture profile, and check the damp-proof course if necessary.
How Long Does a Damp Survey Take?
Once the damp survey has been completed, you will receive the findings at length in a report that will be sent to you through the post or via email. Although the report is extensive, it is usually written in terms that most people are able to understand to explain the severity of any damage found and the recommended steps to take. You may also receive an estimate for how much it is likely to cost to solve any damp issues found.
How to Pass a Damp Survey:
Preparing for your damp survey by dealing with any damp issues that you currently have will help your property pass the inspection. Any damp that you are aware of can be dealt with by applying specialist treatments like damp-proof paint to reduce the moisture and avoid damp returning in the future. However, it’s important to be honest with the surveyor and avoid hiding any damp issues during the survey since issues that are left unchecked can lead to serious problems with your home over time.
Damp is a common problem in UK properties that can get more serious over time. If you want to buy a new house, damp is one of the first problems that your surveyor should look for.