Where has that damp smell gone?

No need for these now!

The was always a certain smell when we came back home. That slight dusky smell that reminds you that there was damp in the house. Well, I am glad to say that when we returned from being away at Christmas there was no such gentle reminder.

The mould that has been growing (thanks to the original builders who left the house renderless and with some major defects exposed to some pretty awful weather in the late summer) has been stopped in its tracks. Now, all I need to do is to repaint all the internal areas that have lost their paint / been affected by mould etc.

I am really pleased that our efforts (and that of Welsh Lime Works) have paid off.

In summary we have:

1. Created a drain all around the building so lower the external ground level – this will allow any moisture from the ground to be vented off before reaching internal floor levels

2. Opened up a blocked chimney on the first floor to create a better airflow through the house (the ground floor chimneys house wood burning stoves and so are already open)

3. Removed the cement render from the solid walled and early cavity walled elements of the house and replaced this with a lime putty / limestone dust render. Finished with a white limewash (applied in a hot mix)

4. I have also reset all the guttering to ensure that it is not leaking anywhere

So effectively the house is now functioning as closely to its original design as it is economically viable to do (note that we have not replaced the cement floors with the original suspended floors).

We have experienced some pretty wet weather at times since the work was finished and it should be noted that some areas (concrete block substrate) is still drying out, but the internal walls are now dry and the render is slowly releasing all the trapped water to the outside. 

I had imagined that the drying process would take a lot longer, given that the walls were exposed for so long and that the limewash was only put on late last year, but the project has worked really well and we now have a dry and smell free home. So all bodes well for the future as, apart from routine maintenance on gutters etc, the actual structure of the building is now working in a way that will keep the whole house dry inside for many decades to come. I am expecting that I will need to re-limewash every 6-8 years one the southern and western elevations, but more like every 10-15 years to the north and east (and this is down more to issues of traffic fumes rather than the weather).

Given that I have seen replacement cement render failure in a significant number of solid walled houses within a year of application I think that the added expense of doing it right will soon pay off. It really is a false economy to use cheap materials when all you do is store up more hassle and expense for a future date. So, if you have an old house with a damp problem why not give us a call and we can help you out.