Wednesday, 23 May 2018

O is for Owners Can Help

The A-Z of Damp & Timber from Atlantis Damp Proofing Specialists… O is for Owners can Help Themselves

In this episode of The A-Z of Damp from Atlantis Damp & Timber Proofing Specialists Ltd, O is for Owners can Help Themselves.

With the long weekend ahead of us, we know it should be the perfect opportunity to bring out the patio furniture and stock up on charcoal for the BBQ – but, it’s also the perfect time to give your property the “quick once over” to tackle any issues that may have come apparent during the winter months. Let’s take a look at some of the main problems you should look out for.

General Maintenance

Time and time again we see poor general maintenance leading to internal damp issues. You can help by following these simple steps:

  • Keep your gutters and downspouts clear of debris and vegetation
  • Keep your pointing in sound condition and replace any bricks that have spalled.
  • Fix any slipped tiles/ replace lost tiles as soon as possible to prevent moisture ingress.
  • Cut back climbers from external walls if your property is built using solid wall construction.
  • If you get a new driveway installed, make sure that you have it installed leaving sufficient height to the DPC.

Rising Damp

Rising damp is caused by moisture finding its way into your home through brickwork or stonework. To see if rising damp is present there are certain checks that can be made by yourself without the assistance of a damp surveyor.

The typical signs of identifying rising damp include the following:

  • Horizontal brown or discoloured ‘tide’ marks to be seen typically up to 1 meter in height (although it can go higher!) on interior walls.
  • Plaster will bubble and peel away from the interior walls
  • Wooden beading and skirting boards will become brittle and eventually show the signs of deterioration
  • Mould on walls.
  • Walls may feel damp when touched

Woodworm

Woodworm is one of the most common forms of damage in timber in the UK. One of the most unfortunate parts of a woodworm infestation is that the signs of the problem are only visible at the end of the woodworm’s lifecycle. This is when the woodworm beetle breaks free from within the timber to continue its breeding.

The signs to look out for are what we call exit holes. These holes in the wood or timber can be between 2 and 5 mm in diameter meaning they can often be spotted up close without the need for a magnifying glass, unless there is a large infestation and many exit holes together.

Condensation

Condensation can create unsightly black mould that can become a continued nuisance for you, the owner, and lead to health issues if left unchecked. But don’t worry, there are some easy steps that you can take help to alleviate this problem in your home. Take a look at our top tips below:

TOP TIP 1:

Keep your home well ventilated by opening windows every day. You should also make sure that the drip vents in your windows are open as these allow additional airflow that will combat condensation. If you have condensation on windows it is likely that it will be elsewhere in your property too.

TOP TIP 2:

When you are cooking always turn the extractor fans on in the kitchen on a high power. This will extract any excess moisture from boiling pots and pans. If possible, open up the kitchen windows whilst cooking for extra ventilation. It is an idea to leave the extractor fan on for longer than you are cooking as there will be excess moisture in the air which you cannot see.

TOP TIP 3:

After taking a bath or shower there will be excess moisture in the air. To stop condensation forming, the bathroom windows should be opened and extractor fans turned on. Try to keep the bathroom door shut as much as possible so the moisture doesn’t escape into other parts of your home. The more moisture-laden air you can get out at source, the better.

TOP TIP 4:

When you are drying your clothes you should dry them outside where possible. If you cannot do this then put them in an enclosed room and keep the window open. If you use a tumble dryer to dry your clothes it is extremely important that the ventilation pipe runs to the outside of your property.

TOP TIP 5:

You should leave a small gap between the walls of your home and your furniture as this allows the air to move away from the bottom of the walls and circulate around the room. If air lingers between the furniture and walls it will condense onto walls and could eventually form into black mould.

TOP TIP 6: 

Your property’s airways such as air bricks and chimneys should be clear to allow airflow in and out of your home. Air ventilation is extremely important as you don’t want moist air to be trapped in one part of your home as it will condense on your walls.

TOP TIP 7: 

During the winter and at other cold times of the year you should try to maintain a constant temperature in your home, a minimum background heating of 10 degrees.

Want to know more about Condensation? Click here.

Need help to rid your property of rising damp, woodworm or condensation, contact us now for an informal chat to see how we can help you.

The post O is for Owners Can Help appeared first on www.AtlantisDamp.co.uk.



source https://www.atlantisdamp.co.uk/blog/o-owners-can-help/

Monday, 5 March 2018

L is for listed buildings

L is for Listed Buildings and the use of Electro Osmosis.

In this instalment of A-Z of Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists Ltd, L is for Listed Buildings and the use of Electro Osmosis.

Today we went to survey a beautiful sandstone cottage in Tarporley, Cheshire and noticed a very old Electro Osmosis damp proof system in place. It got us to thinking. When would we recommend an Electro-osmosis system to be installed?

Although we strongly recommend the use of Dryzone thixotropic chemical DPC for the vast majority of our damp proofing remedial works, occasionally there comes a time when cream installation is not appropriate. For example, on an English Heritage site. Often it is a condition of any remedial works that the building must be able to be returned to their original condition. Once the thixotropic cream has cured to form a water resistant barrier along the mortar course, it can not be removed. This is where Electro Osmosis Damp proofing system may be utilised.

What is Electro Osmosis?

Electro-osmosis involves the introduction of a low static electrical charge into the masonry, via a series of titanium wire anodes. A series of holes are drilled into the mortar course. The anodes are inserted into these holes at the base of the walls (at the same height as a chemical DPC). The anodes are then linked by a thin wire, creating the circuit. It is then connected to a mains electrical circuit via a small transformer. The volts are very low and perfectly safe. The theory is that the positive charge through the wire repels the rising moisture molecules, thus preventing damp from rising.

What are the benefits of this system?
  • Installation is neat and quick.
  • The complete circuit is virtually invisible and the disruption is minimal.
  • It is chemical free and environmentally friendly. Again, this can sometimes be a key consideration for some customers. Listed building or not.
  • The system operates well in all types of masonry (brick, stone composite walls and concrete).
  • Energy consumption remains negligibly low.
Which Electro Osmosis system do we use?
  • Our anodes are pure titanium coated with a platinum group element. This ensures outstanding reliability and resistance to physical and chemical attack.
  • We use titanium wire.
  • All modern Electro Osmosis circuits are earthed for your safety.

Why doesn’t Atlantis Damp proofing & Timber Specialists Ltd routinely recommend this damp proofing system?

There are two main reasons that we choose not to routinely recommend the Electro Osmosis system. Firstly, it does not have BBA approval.  Only products and systems that have passed a series of comprehensive assessments – including laboratory tests, on-site evaluations, quality management checks and inspections of production are awarded an Agrément Certificate. This is BBA Approval. Dryzone has BBA approval. This, coupled with the excellent product performance we have seen ourselves over the past decade, means it’s remains our first choice.

Secondly, Electro Osmosis systems provide no solution to salt contaminated walls. See our blog on hygroscopic salts to understand why we believe this is the second half of any good solution to tackle rising damp.

So in spite of the fact that we believe that Electro Osmosis may have a place in today’s Damp Proofing industry, we will not be recommending it to solve the damp issues in the sandstone cottage we saw today. Despite the non-standard construction of the property in Tarporley, Cheshire, we believe Dryzone thixotropic cream will be the most effective solution.

Are you unsure of the best option to treat your property’s rising damp issue? Contact us today to talk it through or arrange a site visit so we can explain t he best option to you.

The post L is for listed buildings appeared first on www.AtlantisDamp.co.uk.



source http://www.atlantisdamp.co.uk/blog/l-listed-buildings-electro-osmosis/

M is for Mortgage Reports (Pre-purchase Damp & Timber Surveys)

M is for Mortgage Report (Damp & Timber Pre-Purchase Survey).

In this episode of The A-Z of Damp from Atlantis Damp & Timber Proofing Specialists Ltd, we see how M is for Mortgage Report (Damp & Timber Pre-Purchase Survey).

Ask yourself:

Has dampness been noted on your mortgage lenders Home Buyers Report?
Is it rising dampness due to a failed damp-proof course? Is the answer chemical damp-proofing? Or is it a bridged damp-proof course? Penetrating damp? Condensation?

You may not know the answers to these questions. At Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists Ltd, we are committed to getting you the answer so you go into any purchase with your eyes wide open.

Why do I need a pre purchase damp survey?

The slightest hint of damp will therefore get the mortgage surveyor to include statements referring to damp. You may read- ‘Random moisture meter readings were taken and adverse readings were recorded on some walls, this indicates an on-going damp problem at the property. A competent Damp & Timber Specialist should be commissioned to assess the severity of the rising damp to the property and quote for necessary damp-proofing and timber treatment works.’ We are just the specialist firm that you require.

What is included in your damp report?

Depending on the instructions you give us, accessible walls at ground floor level will be inspected for rising damp. We will use an electric resistance meter, together with visual observations (internally and externally). Generally, non-destructive techniques are used in the diagnosis of damp. However, if you require our expert opinion to be confirmed, samples are sent to the lab for analysis. Where required we will take various plaster samples to determine the true moisture content of masonry by Carbide Testing. If we have to take samples then these are usually taken from walls behind furniture, curtains etc so to minimise any visual impact and all holes made by us will be made good.

  • typical external observations will be made such as:
  • position and type of any physical damp-proof course,
  • any current building defects,
  • any faults with rainwater goods,
  • the roof condition,
  • external render condition,
  • whether ground levels are at sufficient height to cater for rain splash
  • sub-floor ventilation will be included where appropriate in the report.
  • visual evidence of timber decay.

We will then provide a written report detailing any defects together with recommendations and specifications for alleviating any dampness. If required, we will also submit a quotation for the works and if we subsequently carry out the works then the survey fee may be deducted from the invoice. In many cases no chemical damp-proofing is required and any ‘rising damp’ has been confused with condensation and penetrating damp.

What is included in a timber report?

Depending on the instructions we receive, accessible timbers will be inspected for wood boring insect attack or fungal decay (i.e. wet or dry rot ). e will inspect roof timbers if suitable access through a loft hatch is available. Where permission has been granted, we will move items of furniture and take up sections of carpets to gain access to timber floors. We will lift floorboards to inspect the sub-floor voids for signs of dampness and timber decay. All staircase timbers will be also inspected, but this is often limited as carpets are difficult to remove and replace, and the underside is often also covered. Any visual evidence of timber decay and infestation will be reported on. We will inspect external joinery if you require. Accessible surfaces of internal joinery will be visually inspected. Internal and external observations will be taken, and comments on general building defects likely to affect internal timbers will be included where appropriate, in the report, if submitted.

We will then prepare a written report on the condition of timbers together with recommendations and specifications for any repairs which may be required. Usually it is possible to control any rot or infestation by environmentally friendly methods and chemical timber treatments or dry rot irrigation can be avoided. Sometimes localised treatments with an organic preservative are recommended.

How much do our surveys cost?

The charge we make depends on the size of property and the type of inspection you require. This indicates to us the time we require to deliver to your expectations. As an example, for a detailed inspection and provision of written report you can expect:-

Damp survey and report/quote: from £90.00 plus VAT
Timber survey and report/quote: from £90.00 plus VAT
Combined damp & timber survey and report/quote : from £120.00 plus VAT

How long do they take to complete?

The time it takes us to complete the survey depends on a number of factors but we aim to have the report back to you in 3-5 days.

We have noticed a change that lenders are only asking for damp and timber surveys very late in the mortgage application process. This puts you under severe pressure when trying to complete on a property. To help you we have introduced a fast-track service for an additional cost of £50 plus VAT. Whenever possible we will carry out a damp or timber survey on a given day and guarantee to produce a damp and timber report within 24 hours.

What do I need to do next?

We would suggest that you steer clear of damp-proofing firms to offer free Damp & Timber Surveys. You don’t want a company who routinely diagnoses rising damp and then recommends chemical damp-proofing together with associated re-plastering. Instead, trust us to save you from unnecessary, expensive and disruptive damp-proofing and timber treatments.

We can also provide quotations for any remedial damp and timber decay repairs which have been specified by a Chartered Surveyor (RICS) or any independent Remedial Surveyor (CSRT) who is a member of the Property Care Association or Institute of Specialist Surveyors and Engineers.

Arrange your survey now by contacting us phoning 0800 098 8277 or via e-mail on atlantiscanhelp@gmail.com.-

The post M is for Mortgage Reports (Pre-purchase Damp & Timber Surveys) appeared first on www.AtlantisDamp.co.uk.



source http://www.atlantisdamp.co.uk/blog/mortgage-report-damp-timber-pre-purchase-survey/

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

J is for Jamie Watkins

J is for Jamie Watkins

In this instalment of A-Z of Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists Ltd, J is for Jamie Watkins.

Who is Jamie Watkins?

Hello everyone! My name is Jamie Watkins and I am owner and Managing Director of Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists Ltd. I thought I’d take the opportunity to tell you more about myself and the passion I have for providing excellence in all the services I provide throughout Cheshire.

I began my construction career working part-time in the building yard at Robert Gleaves and Sons in Frodsham. On leaving school, I started full time. I absolutely loved this job! Interacting with all the trades. Gaining a solid basic knowledge of customer service, pricing and material quantities.

Then, in my early 20’s I joined my dad and brother in their plastering business. I followed in the family footsteps to become a third generation plasterer. I perfected all the skills I needed to become a general plasterer and continued to grow my knowledge of building sites and activities. A lot of my dad’s work came from a Damp Proofing firm. My interest grew and I could see an opportunity to develop my own business in this area.

In 2009 I took the leap to set up on my own. I also completed my C.S.R.T. Qualifications through the Property Care Association (PCA). It was an exciting (if not a bit stressful!) time for me. I was on the tools, training up my own crew and working evenings and weekends to complete all the paperwork, but I loved it! I’ve always been a ‘people person’ and enjoyed giving honest, reliable expert to provide the solution that people needed.

I knew there was no need to ever try to pull the wool over the eyes of others and pretend solutions were needed when they weren’t. To this day, I operate on this philosophy. So do my team. I am genuinely saddened when I hear of the poor experiences my clients have had with previous ‘Damp Proofing’ companies and I believe all of our 5 star reviews reflect that we are just not like them.

My company continued to grow and became Ltd in 2013, then VAT registered in 2014.

In 2017 I also became a qualified member of the Wall Tie Installers Federation (WTIF). Their rigorous training progamme was an eye opener. It gave me the confidence to more actively pursue this business area

In 2016, my wife, Freya, officially joined the business and started to survey with me. She also began her own C.S.R.T. Qualification which is now 2/3rd’s complete. Freya, shares my philosophy and is entirely committed to the vision that I began and we are sure we will fulfil our ambition of owning a strong family business that the next generation of Watkins’s can enjoy. My goal is not to compete with the big boys, I wish to remain a local, family run business with a passion for doing the right thing and continuing to enjoy happy customers.

Myself and Freya remain committed to providing Northwich, Warrington, Chester, Crewe, Altrincham and surrounding areas with expert, pragmatic, professional advice on Damp, Timber and Wall Tie fault diagnosis and recommendation. If you think we can help you, call us now on 0800 098 8277.

The post J is for Jamie Watkins appeared first on www.AtlantisDamp.co.uk.



source http://www.atlantisdamp.co.uk/blog/j-jamie-watkins/

Monday, 10 July 2017

I is for Interstitial Condensation

I is for Interstitial Condensation

 In this episode of The A-Z of Damp from Atlantis Damp & Timber Proofing Specialists Ltd, I is for Interstitial Condensation.

Dampness problems associated with condensation and mould growths occur in many buildings yet they are not always fully understood, particularly by the general builder or unqualified damp ‘expert’.

Condensation results from a series of relatively simple and well established physical factors, and is directly related to standards and methods of heating, ventilating and insulating buildings.

Condensation is often confused with rising damp and we are committed to getting you the correct diagnosis. Dampness in buildings can arise from a number of causes and the majority tend to be physical defects such as rising damp, penetrating damp or lack of maintenance. In the case of condensation, the problem is generally self-imposed. The emphasis on improving insulation and the way in which properties are now heated and ventilated has created exactly the right conditions for increasing condensation and mould growth.

Local authorities and, indeed, any landlord receive large numbers of complaints about condensation and mould growth. Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists Ltd are committed to helping you resolve your condensation issue in an efficient and cost effective manner.

What is condensation?

Condensation as the name implies is water which has “condensed” from air on contact with a cold surface and it occurs when warm air cools down and releases the water vapour it was ‘holding’ into the air.

Air normally contains water vapour in varying quantities. Its capacity to ‘hold’ moisture is related to temperature; basically, warm air holds more water than cold air. When the air is saturated and it cannot contain any more water vapour at the existing temperature it is said to have a relative humidity (RH) of 100%. If the temperature of the air falls until saturation point occurs the air is at a critical temperature at which it cannot hold any more water – this temperature is known as the dew point. Any further fall in temperature will result in water vapour being forced to condense out as liquid water.

Condensation in a building usually occurs when warm air comes into contact with a cold surface; the air is cooled below its saturation point causing its excess water vapour to change into liquid water. Typically, you will actually see moisture on your windows, reveals, external walls, concrete lintels… in fact anywhere that can be seen as a ‘cold spot’ in relation to the normal room temperate. This surface condensation is often found on bay windows that are in their nature more exposed to the elements, low down corners of rooms (as we all know hot air rises) and behind furniture and curtains where air flow is restricted.

In addition to this surface condensation, air inside a heated building usually contains more moisture than does the external air (its normally warmer inside that outside in the UK!). This means it is a higher pressure which tends to force the warm air through the structure taking the moisture with it. Most building materials except glass, metals, plastics and certain lined elements, are to some extent permeable and do not obstruct the movement of moist air through the structure. the warm moist air will eventually cool below its due point within the fabric of the building resulting in condensation. This form of condensation is interstitial condensation.

What is Interstitial Condensation?

Interstitial condensation is rather more complex than the surface phenomenon and presents a greater hazard. The resulting high moisture content can often go undetected for long periods until serious structural damage has developed such as timber decay. It can also render ineffective any insulation within the component where it occurs.

How can Atlantis Damp Proofing help resolve your Interstitial Condensation Issue?

There are many factors to consider when protecting your property from interstitial condensation. Key considerations should be given to improving ventilation, controlling moisture generation and using an impervious moisture barrier, known as a vapour check, for example a foil backed plasterboard during the internal construction of the property.

If you’re concerned that your property is suffering from the signs of condensation, we are committed to helping you resolve your properties damp issue. Simply contact us now at Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists Ltd for an informal chat to agree a way forward.

 

The post I is for Interstitial Condensation appeared first on www.AtlantisDamp.co.uk.



source http://www.atlantisdamp.co.uk/blog/i-interstitial-condensation/

Friday, 10 February 2017

H is for Hygroscopic Salts and Replastering a Damp Wall

The A-Z of Damp & Timber from Atlantis Damp Proofing and Timber Specialists Ltd – H is for Hygroscopic Salts

In this episode of The A-Z of Damp from Atlantis Damp & Timber Proofing Specialists Ltd, H is for…… Hygroscopic Salts and re plastering a damp wall.

What are Hygroscopic Salts?

When dampness has been rising from in the wall for some time, the soluble salts (mainly Chloride and Nitrates) become concentrated where the water evaporates from the wall. These deposits of salts are Hygroscopic. This means they attract the everyday moisture found in your home. This ‘dampness’ is not caused by water rising up the capillaries of the building materials. It is due to the dampness in the walls evaporating, and leaving the tell tale tide mark.

Why is marked plasterwork often the first sign something is wrong?

Wall plaster can act almost like blotting paper and can be highly susceptible to both internal and external sources of Damp or moisture. Wall plaster becomes contaminated with dampness from walls, floors and the atmosphere. the presence of a damp stain or salting on the surface of the plaster is a sure sign that something is going on that needs professional investigation.

There are many reasons for the appearance of damp such as rising damp, penetrating damp or condensation. The key to dealing with Damp Plaster is to identify the source of moisture and rectify it wherever possible. Once the source of moisture has been dealt with consideration may need to be given to the replacement of the wall plaster, either in a like material or by selection of an appropriate remedial system.

Can I install a DPC without re- plastering determines the success of Damp proofing?

We believe that the importance of the re-plastering works cannot be over-emphasised. The re plastering determines the success of damp proofing and it must be considered as important as the remedial damp proofing, indeed, if not more important. Once the source of the damp has effectively been removed, the hygroscopic salts remain in the wall and can continue to give the appearance of a damp wall. You may find that dampness will appear when the room is humid and disappear when the air is dry. These salts are efficient at absorbing water from the surrounding environment. As a result plasters and masonry may remain damp even though the source of moisture which caused the build up of the salt has been eliminated.

There are many different types of plaster available. The most commonly used remedial plasters are those incorporating a ‘salt retardant additive. It is vital that a special salt retardant additive is used to hold back any residual salts while still allowing the passage of water vapour. In certain circumstances it may be necessary to use specialist renovating plasters that are specifically manufactured for certain situations. Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists Ltd will ensure you are given the correct advice and solutions. All our work can be supported with an insurance backed guarantee, so when we leave so do your damp problems.

Atlantis-quality-examples-Job-1-Image-1Atlantis-quality-examples-Job-1-Image-2Atlantis-quality-examples-Job-1-Image-3

If you think you’ve spotted some signs of damp in your home, contact Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists Ltd to gain expert, honest advice.

The post H is for Hygroscopic Salts and Replastering a Damp Wall appeared first on www.AtlantisDamp.co.uk.



source http://www.atlantisdamp.co.uk/blog/hygroscopic-salts-replastering-damp-wall/

G is for… Garden in your Gutter


G is for….. Garden in your Gutter (causing internal damp)

In this episode of The A-Z of Damp from Atlantis Damp & Timber Proofing Specialists Ltd. G is for…… Gardens in your Gutter (causing internal damp). 

We recently visited a property in Northwich, Cheshire to survey for damp detected on walls internally. A young family had been quoted over £5,000.00 to remedy a reported rising damp problem in their home. They felt this quote was too high and as such were getting some comparisons. One of their friends recommended speaking to us to get a reliable, honest advice from a CSRT expert.

They were right to get a second opinion. There was no rising damp. Using a surface moisture meter, it was identified that there were no readings at skirting board height, or up to a meter high (which would be typical of rising damp). There were, however, high moisture readings. These were in the corners of the rooms at both the front and back elevations on the ground and first floor at ceiling height. An external inspection revealed that the gutters were severely blocked with debris. There was green staining and algae on the wall next to the downspout. This fault corresponded exactly to the dampness that was detected internally.

A blocked gutter can cause damage to your downspouts and water to build up and enter the property through what we term Penetrating Damp. If not repaired, it could also lead to roofing problems, which can, again lead to damp issues internally. As with any damp issue in your home, this could result in thousands of pounds worth of repairs as if you leave it unchecked. Wood rot in your structural timbers can occur.

Gutter and downspout blockages will always happen in your property, sometimes more regularly if your home is surrounded by trees. If you included clearing the gutters in your annual home maintenance plan it will never become a significant issue. As with all types of damp, if you can prevent penetrating damp through water penetration due to leaking gutters is so much more effective than treating it.

To do their job, your gutters and downspouts must be clear of leaves and debris. If they aren’t, drain outlets will dam up and rainwater will fill the gutters, overflow, and eventually pull the gutters loose. During a rainstorm, gutters route runoff from a very large surface—a home’s roof—to where it can drain away from the house. By doing so, they protect walls, windows, doors, and foundations from water damage and help prevent flooding in basements. If your gutters are blocked, they will fail to do the job that they were intended for – directing rain water away from your house and into your drains.

Depending on how hard the gutters are to reach, you can now contact a company to complete this task for you. If you prefer, and it is safe to do so, you can do it yourself. To clean out your gutters you will need: a trowel, ladder, buckets, garden hose, gutter cleaning attachment and gutter sealant. Next you could watch one of the many youtube videos (try https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zFoynqYkCM) on this subject that you could check out for more information on a DIY job.

What should you do next?

If you would like to have a chat with a family run business to get to the root cause of the dampness in your home, we feel confident that we can help you so simply contact us at Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists Ltd for our expert opinion to ensure accurate diagnosis and solutions to your property problem.

The post G is for… Garden in your Gutter appeared first on www.AtlantisDamp.co.uk.



source http://www.atlantisdamp.co.uk/blog/blocked-gutters-penetrating-damp/