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Why Having a Damp Survey is an Important Part of the Property Buying and Selling Process

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Damp and Your House Sale

As you all may know dampness is a common issue among households across the UK.

If left for a long period of time dampness can lead to serious damage to the integrity of the property.

Buying or selling a home is a stressful time for many people so having the extra stress of damp problems is not what you need.

In this article, we explain the types of dampness that can affect your property, what happens during a damp survey and the outcomes of not having a damp survey carried out.

Types of Damp Problems

There are 3 types of damp that can affect your property, these are rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation.


The most common damp issue is condensation. The process that causes condensation is warm moisture-laden air coming into contact with a colder surface. As the air is unable to retain the same amount of moisture the water it is holding is then released onto surfaces such as windows or walls. This form of damp mainly occurs in the Winter when there tends to be the least amount of ventilation in a property.

The reason for the lack of ventilation this is that as Winter is prominently one of the colder months of the year people tend to close their windows and have the heating turned up leaving warm air trapped in the property.

Penetrating Damp

Penetrating damp usually occurs as a result of a property maintenance issue. Penetrating damp is the process where moisture moves horizontally through the walls of the property. If your property has damaged rainwater goods such as blocked rainwater goods or faulty roof fabrics, then your property is vulnerable to penetrating damp.

When there is heavy rainfall, rainwater will simply evaporate out of the brickwork but if there are external structural issues then the water will not evaporate but will pass through to the inner walls of the property.

Rising Damp

Rising damp is the least likely of the three damp issues to occur in your property but it is still an issue you need to be aware of. This form of damp occurs predominately in older buildings where there is no damp proof course in place or the ground level around the building has risen above the damp proof course. Rising damp is the process of moisture rising up from the outer walls of the building through capillary action.

What Happens During A Damp Survey?

If you have identified that you might have one of the damp problems already explained, then a damp survey is the best option for knowing the correct way to tackle the issue.

The first part of the survey is for the surveyor to check all areas of the building both the interior and exterior areas of the building for potential issues and defects that could lead to damp problems.

Once these initial checks have been made by the surveyor, they will identify what damp problems are causing the issues in the property and determine the source of moisture. The surveyor will then look for any potential further problems that could occur as a result of a damp issue – for example dry rot.

Once all the checks have been carried out the damp surveyor will compile a detailed report on all the findings from the inspection. This will importantly include what damp proofing works will be needed to be carried out to not only treat the problem but prevent it from occurring again in the future. Costs for the damp treatment will also be included in the report.

Why Should You Have A Damp Survey Before Buying or Selling Your Home?

Having a damp survey before buying or selling your home is essential to ensure the process runs smoothly. If you are looking to buy a property and you will want to know if there are any damp problems.

Potential buyers will not want to buy a property that has damp musty smell or plaster peeling off the wall. The worst-case scenario would be that if the damp problem is affecting timber structures of the building then this could lead to far worse problems such as dry rot. The cost of treating dry rot is not something that home buyers would find appealing!

If you are looking to sell a property and your home is suffering from damp, then this is potentially going to jeopardise the sale of the property. A potential homeowner will not like the idea of buying a property with underlying damp problems which do not look aesthetically pleasing, but also come with the possibility of health issues from black spot mould.

By having a damp survey carried out prior to purchasing a property the purchaser will have the peace of mind that they are buying property that is damp and rot free. They will not have to worry about any potential damp proofing works needing to be carried out in the near future.

Contacting A Qualified Damp Specialist

It is important to contact a qualified surveyor to carry out the damp survey as they will be able assess what type of damp problems are affecting the property.

At Timberwise, we have experienced on several occasions where we have had to fix properties where misdiagnosis of damp issues has led to the wrong treatment been applied. For more information, you can visit the Timberwise site.

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