The main reason why building materials biodegrade (or go kaput, whichever way you wish to put it) is because they are affected by water, so it is incredibly important that you wrap them up tight in tarpaulin and cotton wool to protect them.
Can’t do that?
Then make it a priority to ensure their design is as watertight as possible. It is the next best thing…
There are a number of faults that can cause water ingress, and this list is by no means all of them, but it is a start.
Tip: Remember to look behind the ivy and other climbing plants – they are masters of disguise.
Up On The Roof
- Blocked gutters;
- Defective surfacing to valley gutters and flat roofs;
- Missing, broken, displaced or loose tiles and slates
- Faulty flashing around chimneys.
On The Walls
- Deterioration of mortar in brick work joints;
- Faulty or missing DPC (damp proof course);
- Bridging over the DPC by soil in flower beds, plinths, etc.;
- Blocked air bricks;
- Cracked or broken pipes (water and waste);
- Faulty flashing around window frames;
- Continued overflow from cisterns or water tanks.
A number of potential causes of dampness will not be visible from the outside, so turn your investigation indoors Sherlock!
What Can I Do?
Any defect permitting access of moisture into the fabric of a building must be remedied or treated, further entry of water must be prevented, and the area affected by water needs to be dried out.
In order to identify defects that can lead to water ingress, and to identify areas within the building that are at risk of fungal decay, a detailed inspection should be undertaken by a competent specialist, not your husband who does DIY at weekends…!
Gary Naftel BSc(Hons) MCIArb MRICS
The information in this Coffee Break article is intended for guidance only. The authors cannot accept any liability for any loss or damage which may result from the use of this article.