History of water damage inside the property
Today we travelled to Leamington Spa as we were contacted by a client who had concerns in regards to water damage, damp and mould. Our main objectives of this assessment were to evaluate the extent of the water damage within the property, identify the root cause of the damp and to recommend the most suitable remediation measures.
The property is occupied by two persons and a pet cat. According to the occupants the ceiling mounted kitchen extractor is being used during cooking. Clothes are dried on a drying rack in the bathroom, which has the window trickle vent permanently open. The bathroom extractor fan is working but is only occasionally used during showers. The windows in the property are rarely open due the fact that the property is situated on the ground floor and also to prevent the pet cat escaping.
What does a damp and mould survey entail?
Our surveyor’s aim of the assessment was to gain access to all reasonably accessible areas within the scope of the survey, in order to locate all areas of dampness within the building. All of our surveys are carried out in such a manner as to minimise the damage to the building’s fabric and decoration however damp surveys will often involved minor intrusive work and some disturbance.
What did moisture mapping reveal?
A method called moisture mapping was used in order to locate areas with elevated moisture levels. Our surveyor begun his assessment in the entrance foyer and immediately found evidence of mould contamination (see above image) on the bottom parts of the walls in close proximity to the door. He also observed a small amount of pooling water on the floor in this area. The plasterboard walls next to the door showed high levels of moisture and there was visible evidence of fungal contamination despite the occupant cleaning the area regularly. The skirting board also showed elevated moisture levels (see below image).
The next room on our agenda was the kitchen. When inspecting the kitchen cabinets, there was evidence of fungal contamination on packaging and on all stored cookware and utensils. We checked this area for elevated moisture levels however these came back normal and the wall behind the cabinets were free from fungal contamination.
In the living room, the walls and ceilings showed normal moisture levels in construction materials and there were no signs of water damage or fungal contamination. However there was evidence of condensation mould on the window frames in the living room. All other rooms in the building were inspected and these all showed normal moisture levels and there was no evidence of any fungal contamination.
Recommendations to prevent further moisture
As a result of our building inspection and damp survey, our surveyor was able to make recommendations for our client in order to prevent further moisture.
Our surveyor believes that the mould contamination in the vicinity of the entrance door is most likely caused by a combination of deteriorated weather seals on the door frame which have been allowing water to penetrate through the door, and high humidity levels in the apartment which settle on the cold walls close to the door. In order to prevent the development of fungal contamination by the door, it is recommended that the weather seals on the door are repaired.
The mould contamination in the kitchen cabinets and on the window frames in the apartment is caused by condensation of water from the humid air. The main source of this condensation in the kitchen is from water vapours being generated during cooking, this vapour is poorly controlled by the ceiling mounted extraction fan as it is located some distance away from the cooker. Therefore we recommend that a cooker hood is installed above the cooker.
It is important that the occupants are using extraction fans and the natural ventilation in the apartment properly. The bathroom extraction fan should be used every time the shower is used to extract the water vapour. Windows in the property should be opened regularly in order to allow natural ventilation into the property. Currently the windows are not opened due to the occupants fear of the pet cat escaping, therefore we recommend that fly screens are installed in some of the windows to prevent him escaping while windows are open.