I watched with interest the TV programme DIY SOS this week. Working on a building in Cirencester for a family with a very allergic and depressed daughter. The whole build concept was stressing the need for a clean, dust free environment with plenty of fresh air. Great idea and to put it into action they fitted a heat recovery ventilation system as this would provide the fresh air whilst dealing with the issues of condensation that a lack of trickle vents had caused.
The episode and others can be seen at the DIYSOS website on the BBC.
There were some concerns from my point of view.
1. The mould shown was not just down to condensation – there was a lack of insulation as well, so this needed to be rectified as well.
2. They said that they would use a breathable render on the outside, but the house was not built to be breathable, so if they did indeed use this type of system it was pointless.
3. They then painted the whole house using conventional paints that would have agitated the poor girls condition for a month. Why did they not use natural paints that are VOC free?
4. New furnishings etc were also not specified as being natural and hence better for the girl.
Overall the programme appears to have improved the situation for the family and the house, but surely a bit more thought and knowledge would have made it even better. There was also a real lack of understanding of breathability. It was being used to indicate ventilation rather than moisture transfer through the structure, which is a common fault, but one that should not be made on the BBC.
When will we have DIY shows with proper advice rather than quick fixes that just encourage poor and inappropriate practices?