Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

I have moved to my current flat 2.5 years ago but only in January this year started stripping wallpaper/old carpets with a view to finally decorating.

There seemed to be a damp issue in the corner of the living room, next to bay window that has been treated by the landlord but multiple injecting chemicals from outside which never worked so finally they have sent damp specialist who knocked part of the wall off from inside, injected and re plastered- several weeks later still looks dry.

Then there was few floorboards that were in need of replacing at the back of the flat (bedroom) but on arrival contractors realised (after taking few floorboards off) that the issues was much more serious as the whole space under the floor was full of mud (!!), all joints were rotten and "pates" were pretty much invisible under mud/earth. On top of this, one wall had damp. Those were damp and timber specialists.

Fast forward few weeks - floor was dug out, plates/beams/floorboards replaced, wall covered with some kind of membrane (whole wall) and skimmed over. More floor had to be done in the hallway and second bedroom. 2 surveyors were here (landlord's one and the contractors' one) and I was told all will be good now. Also that part of the problem were air bricks that some clever spark blocked from inside by putting concrete over them. Those were reopened/dug out when the floor was being patched up.

Today I had another surveyor in to check condensation/mould issues and he had a different tool to check for damp, one that penetrates the wall somehow (previous surveyor had the "prong" one that now I was told does not penetrate to check inside the wall) - and going around the flat, his gadget was showing 100% (!!!)moisture pretty much all over the flat, including the freshly done wall with the "membrane" on it as well as the wall in the living room that was done several weeks ago. The 100% was showing to about a metre high on all external walls and also wall between my living room and the shared hallway (it is a ground floor conversion). Then higher up going down to high 80s.

At some point I thought it may be faulty so asked him to test partition walls - there was zero on those.

He said this is rising damp. Previous company told me all damp was sorted. 

I am a bit lost as who is right and what is going on really as the difference in "opinion" is a bit extreme.

This is an L&Q flat and they are not particularly keen on doing any proper works, patching things up is more their style.

Luckily I was able to work from home for most of the works up to date but having to be camping in the camped with all my stuff living room for weeks with limited access to bathroom (stuff in the bath as well) and no access to 2 bedrooms was very tiring and t find out at the end that (1) original problems wee not really sorted (2) there is more problems ... 

I am horrified at this "discovery", confused how 2 "specialists" can come up with such different opinions/findings and not sure what to do now.

Of course I will go back to the L&Q surveyor when he gets today's report but - can anyone share their own experience if they had to deal with similar issue? 

Many thanks...

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Hi Anka,

I also have had ongoing damp issues with my house. My solution was to find and pay for an indepedent Damp Surveyor to do an inspection and report. Deep sigh. The simple truth is it's hard to find someone knowledgeable who doesn't have skin in the game as they say... 

I can have a look and see if i can find the details for the guy who did my survey. All his advice was very pragmatic. He just shrugged at all the previous damp 'injection' things that had been done. His verdict seemed to be- 1) damp stuff/earth etc in contact with walls will cause rising damp (unless theres' a working damp proof course/membrane. 2) poor protection of outdoor walls/window ledges etc facing weather will cause damp to come IN, and 3) condensation. Many modern revisions of the ladder houses have resulted in windows with no vents for example. 

good luck! I feel your pain

Thanks for posting your experience.

And you are absolutely right - the underfloor air bricks were blocked from the inside, cemented in as I mentioned which nobody would know about if the floor was not lifted as from the outside... clearly air bricks in place. Sigh

My windows are always open and there are vents in the walls too  i like having windows open all the time. I do not dry anything indoors etc etc

The 2 surveyors that were here pretty much contradicted each other. Oh, 3 actually as I had one from Bryhill, one from AirTech and L&Q own one.

Thanks for offer of the details of your one but I am not in a position to pay for an independent one.

I do not see/feel/smell damp. There really is no obvious signs of it to be honest - apart for the 2 places (side of bay window and one wall in the bedroom at the back) and those were "fixed".

I am VERY confused about difference in readings taken by 2 of them using different gadgets though...

https://www.heritage-house.org/damp-and-condensation/the-fraud-of-r... this should clear some of the confusion. Rising damp and damp injections are a complete scam...

Excellent link Kotkas, thanks for that.

The bit in the second video about rendering causing a problem - I had a feeling my one is too so it was great to see.

Anka, Firstly, it sounds like you've had an injection dpc and the walls and floor sealed to stop the damp coming through, which is the standard way of dealing with it. Secondly, the bricks behind it might well still be damp from before the work was done and plaster can take a year to dry out, so any readings your second "expert" took, could reflect this rather than something that needs more treatment.

Did either of the "experts" tell you what training and experience they had? It's a complex subject, it needs knowledge as well as taking a reading with a gadget to have a valid opinion.

Usually damp proofing is insurance backed, you might want to ask your landlord about this in case there is still a problem.

If you are dissatisfied with the response you’ve had and you have exhausted L&Qs own complaints procedure you could try taking it up with the Housing Ombudsman

l&Q complaints - https://www.lqgroup.org.uk/comments-and-complaints/how-to-make-a-co...

Housing Ombudsman - https://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk

Thanks Annee and Michael  I am waiting for L&Q surveyor to come back from A/L and will take it from there.

What baffles me is the massive discrepancy between 2 readings taken not long apart (with different "gadget" and by different companies)

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