Your property is likely to be the largest single investment you will make in your lifetime; therefore regular property maintenance is essential to retain its value, after all, a property is only valuable as long as it is treated with care. Common property hazards are often overlooked by residents, which may result in disastrous repercussions.
Rising damp is a potential issue that can affect all buildings. However it is known to be most common amongst older buildings where the initial or previous damp proofing treatment has become damaged or where the ground level surrounding the house has been raised by the addition of a new path or driveway. Rising damp occurs when unprotected porous materials such as brick come into contact with moisture from the earth. If not treated, the moisture penetrates its way into the structure of the property and deposits salts on the surface of the walls.
Fortunately the symptoms of rising damp are easily recognisable:
- Your skirting board or surrounding area around may feel damp or become stained.
- The exterior stonework may become discoloured.
Wall Tie Corrosion
Wall tie corrosion has become a widespread problem across the United Kingdom. Originally the idea of wall ties was that they would last the lifetime of the structure but it was discovered in the 1980′s that some types of cavity wall tie were deteriorating at a faster rate and only lasting between 15 and 20 years.
There are numerous reasons behind the failure of wall ties such as the substandard galvanises and inadequate protection as not all types were galvanised.
When cavity wall ties corrode they expand, in some case to several times their original size. The expansion causes the wall to crack which can cause horizontal and stepped cracking of the stonework, lifting roof edges, cracks within the property or bulging walls. If not treated in time, such problems can cause cracking of the wall or at worst, the collapse of the wall.
Visual Signs of Wall Tie Corrosion
- Vertical or horizontal cracks in brickwork
- Bulging Brickwork
- Cracks or separation of window reveals
- Lintels sagging
Woodworm is one of the many hidden problems in the home, often found in non-visible areas of a property, hence why these often go un-noticed until it’s too late. Unfortunately this means that it’s very difficult to spot woodworm issues until the damage to the timbers have become apparent, this is why it is important to be aware of the potential woodworm issues in your home.
Woodworm itself is known as a ‘wood boring’ insect. The woodworm causes damage by laying eggs within the timber and the natural cracks and gaps. Once those eggs have hatched, the larvae goes to work and eat away at the surrounding timber. This can often last so several years discreetly.
The Larvae will pupate and after several weeks, the adult beetles will develop and commence boring their way out of the timber to mate. Having mated, the female beetle will again lay her eggs on the timber and the life cycle starts again.
If left untreated, woodworm can seriously weaken timber which may lead to structural failure of timbers.
Signs of woodworm infestation:
- Exit holes in the timber
- Crumbling wood
- Damaged floorboards
Dry Rot is becoming a widespread problem for homeowners across the United Kingdom. What makes Dry Rot so dangerous to properties is its ability to travel extensively through your home, often unnoticed. If left untreated, Dry Rot can feed off the timber’s goodness, ultimately resulting in the failing of a propertie’s shape and strength.
Dry Rot spores are evident everywhere in every room; however once in contact with water they will germinate forming a large fluffy cotton wool like fungus called the hyphae. During the hyphae growth, the rot will pass through building materials stringing its roots through the timber, devouring lignin and cellulose. Without water, light or timber to feed off, the Dry Rot begins to die. When this happens, the Dry Rot produces a sporophore (a self-reproduction organ) which sheds into the atmosphere so that the new spores can start the process over again.
Signs of Dry Rot
- Timbers brown in colour with brittle texture.
- White cotton wool like fungus
- Damp musty odour
Avoid property neglect and check your property throughout the year-recognising and dealing early with a property hazard can avoid large and more costly problems in the future.