This week, we were called to check the indoor air quality of a two storey-semi detached town property in Langold. Years ago the building was converted from a residential building to a commercial property. Unfortunately for the owners, the property has a history of persistent damp problems, particularly within the back extension to the building. In order to get to the root of what was causing the problem, we needed to conduct a thorough investigation. In order to do so, we used moisture mapping, conducted a damp inspection and a mould inspection in order to take a closer look. Due to the layout of the building, there were many areas we couldn’t properly access so we had no choice but to advise the client about the possibility of dampness being present in all of these “no access” areas.
Moisture mapping and conducting a damp inspection
By conducting a damp inspection and moisture mapping the building, we identified that there were a large number of rooms with significant dampness. The entrance foyer, reception area, customer toilet and ground floor kitchenette all showed signs of dampness. The reception and waiting area, and the ground floor kitchenette were two of the biggest problem areas. In the reception and waiting area, there were signs of water staining in the center of the ceiling. The moisture saturation in the center of the ceiling was indicative of an ongoing leak through the flat roof. At the time of the inspection, the roof had been repaired 3 months ago, but there was substantial plant growth on the roof. The plant growth and root penetration is most likely the primary cause of the ongoing leak.
The ground floor kitchenette was suffering from significant dampness on account of its high humidity levels, occurring due to the presence of water purification equipment and a lack of ventilation. The high humidity in the room caused deterioration of the decorative finishes and mould growth on the wall paper. Part of the raised plywood floor had collapsed, not as a result of rot but due to the weakness of the material. We recommended that this part of the floor be repaired. Despite the high humidity, there was minimal damage to the room.
With regards to the rest of the building, the entrance foyer and customer toilet showed signs of rising damp at the bottom of the external wall. Although there was minor damage in the room, there were no signs of fungal contamination. Similarly, the OPG room showed signs of damp, but both had rotten window frames as a result of leaking guttering.
Preventing the Damp
For the Langold building, we recommended that the repairs to the flat roof be carried out asap so as to stop the ongoing leak. In addition, we recommended that the leaking guttering above surgery 2 be repaired along with replacing the rotten window frame. In order to maintain a high standard of air quality and reduce dampness and potential for mould growth, we recommended that a ventilation fan be installed in the Kitchenette to control the humidity levels. Similarly, the mouldy wallpaper and the collapsed floor would need to be removed and repaired. In order to prevent further outbreaks we suggested that the room be redecorated using water and mould resistant coatings.