History of damp at a dental practice
Cardiff was home to our latest project. There were concerns regarding damp so we were invited along and asked to evaluate the extent of the water damage to the property, identify the root causes of the damp and to recommend the most suitable remediation measures.
The investigation would consist of our surveyor attending the site where he would visually inspect the property for visible signs of damp, water damage and fungal contamination. Once a visual inspection has been conducted our surveyor will then carry out moisture mapping. This process involves the use of specialist equipment called a Hydromette HB30 moisture meter and a Tramex moisture encounter plus. This equipment enables us to detect moisture within building materials which are invisible to the naked eye.
What did moisture mapping tell us?
When inspecting the basement corridor there was visible evidence of fungal growth to the internal corner of the staircase alcove (see image above). Located in this area there is a desk with a kettle, compressor and pumps. Our surveyor believes that the dental pumps and the kettle are acting as a source of humidity. The water vapour condensation settling on the cold external corner is the most likely root cause of the occurring mould growth in this area. Fortunately the moisture profile of the walls in this room indicates normal moisture content in the building materials.
Our surveyor then inspected surgery 2. Here there was evidence of rising/penetrating damp in the concrete door frame to the fire exit doors (see image below). Due to this we investigated further by checking the external wall however this appeared to be in good condition with no signs of water staining or damage. Internally the walls showed signs of deterioration in the decorative finish at the height of one meter. The damage to this area is only minor and there were no signs of fungal contamination.
Surgery 3 has a central support column located in the centre of the surgery, this had evidence of rising damp on it. This rising damp had been treated previously and plastic cladding was fitted to the height of one meter. Above the plastic cladding there was minor damage to the decorative finish on the wall. All other rooms on the ground floor and basement were inspected although there was no evidence of elevated moisture in materials, water damage or fungal contamination.
What did our surveyor recommend?
Once the building inspection and damp survey had been completed, our surveyor could then recommend suitable remediation measures for our client. We recommended that the internal corner in the under-stairs alcove was insulated in order to prevent the reoccurrence of condensation mould. This area under the stairs should not be used as storage as this will allow ventilation. Finally the fire exit door frame in surgery 2 and the central column in surgery 3, that were found to be affected by rising damp should be cladded with plastic sheeting to the height of a minimum 1.5 meters to prevent deterioration of decorative finishes.