Drylining – Hidden Horrors

I really cannot express the amount to which I mistrust Drylining.

I would not recommend anyone to undertake this exercise as it can be a real death nail to any house.

What dry lining does is cover up the problems associated with walls – damp, character and bad workmanship to name a few. So what happens once you have covered over the problems, do they get any better? Of course not. In fact they often get worse. I hope that I am getting the message across here!

Dry lining is most commonly used in older homes to cover over damp, so rather than cure the problem we leave the house damp, colder and more prone to structural damage. The damp walls allow mould and fungi to breed and also make the house colder as the water in the walls conducts heat that much more than a dry wall. So you will have higher heating bills, poorer internal air quality and no real way of knowing whether it is getting worse.

If you are buying a new house then it is worth tapping the walls to see if it is dry lined. If it is, I am almost tempted to say walk away or at least look to haggle down the asking price to give you a workable budget to remove it and sort out what ever problem caused the previous owners to dry line it in the first place. Have a good look at the outside walls and guttering, you may be looking at having to re-render the walls (in lime render of course) and replace the rainwater system.

Insulating plaster boards are also effectively dry lining, so again this might ring alarm bells especially in ground floor rooms. Upper floors are less susceptible to the horrors than can afflict ground floors (less likelihood of rising damp for example) but be aware of wind driven water ingress from cracked render and painted walls.

If you are tempted to install dry lining, please don’t. Sort out the cause of the problem with the walls rather than covering it all up, you are doing everyone and the house a favour in the long term.