When you are looking to purchase a new property, part of the process is that you may be asked by your mortgage provider to have a damp and timber survey carried out. This is often required for older buildings where the properties tend to be vulnerable to damp and timber decay.
If you do require a damp and timber survey you should always contact a fully qualified damp and timber specialist to provide the survey. The surveyor will be able to spot signs of either damp or woodworm problems and provide specialist advice on what action to take next.
What goes into a damp and timber survey?
Once you have made contact with a damp and timber specialist, the surveyor will carry out a full inspection of your property. The surveyor will assess the exterior property noting if there are any potential external defects such as damaged gutter. Badly maintained guttering is one of the primary causes of penetrating damp in properties in the UK.
The surveyor will then check to see if there is an existing damp proof course (DPC) in place. If there is a physical DPC in place the surveyor will check its condition to see if it has become damaged over time. The surveyor will also note if the surrounding areas have been raised above the damp proof course – such as flower beds or a driveway.
Once all the inspections have been completed on the outside of the property then the surveyor will look for any issues within the interior of the property. The walls of the property will be checked with a damp meter to check the moisture levels present. The surveyor will also inspect the property thoroughly to see if there are any visual signs of condensation, penetrating damp or rising damp.
One of the main reasons for condensation to occur is the lack of ventilation in a property. This means that areas where there is a potential for high moisture content, such as bathrooms and kitchens are potential hotspots for condensation. Where lack of ventilation is a problem the surveyor will suggest ventilation solutions that should be considered to relieve the problem.
Having dampness in your property can lead to further issues if not identified and treated in its early stages. Timber decay is one of the outcomes of letting dampness develop in your property which can then lead to structural damage to the building.
During the damp and timber inspection, the surveyor will assess the floorboards of the building to check the condition of timbers. The specialist will also check to see if there are the signs of the woodworm on the ground levels of the property. The signs that the surveyor will be looking for when identifying wood boring insects in a property are:
- Exit holes
- Bore dust
- Tunnels within the wood
- Woodworm beetles alive or dead
What goes into a Damp and Timber Report?
Checks will also be made on the first floor of the building for all types of property care issues: damp, woodworm, wood rot. Once all checks have been made both in the interior and exterior areas of the property the timber and damp surveyor will provide a detailed report of their findings along with any recommendations of further action that needs to be taken.
Issues of Not Having a Damp and Timber Survey
By not having a damp and timber survey for the property you are purchasing there is potential for real problems to occur if they are not discovered and treated as soon as possible. As mentioned earlier, if damp is not treated early on then timber decay is a likely outcome. If this occurs, then the cost of the treatment may increase.
If your property is suffering from condensation then there are potential health implications for people suffering from asthma as a result of the black spot mould. If black mould is present in your property, it will need to be treated as soon as possible. If there are any potential issues with dampness in the property a damp and timber survey will give you advanced warning before making the purchase so there are no hidden surprises.
We always recommend that you contact a qualified damp and timber specialist to inspect your property as a cost saving quick fix will not provide your property with a long term solution and could potentially make the problem worse. By having an accredited surveyor carry out a detailed inspection they will be able to suggest the best possible way forward to get of your timber and damp problems for good. If you want more information about how damp and timber surveys are carried out then visit the Timberwise site.