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  • Marc Tate

Why is Brighton so Damp?

Most homebuyers in Brighton expect surveys done on their prospective properties to show the property has damp. The problem is, seemingly, ubiquitous in the area. It isn’t just one type of damp either. Rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation are all the types of damp we seem to suffer with here. It’s like we have a perfect storm of elements that lead to damp problems. Here are some of the contributing factors.


Poor Maintenance


We hate to say it but the high number of landlord owned properties, HMOs and poor quality maintenance companies means that properties in Brighton are too often not maintained the way they should be. When you don’t maintain roofs, guttering and rendering properly, damp is inevitable as it creeps in through gaps left by missing tiles, pours down walls from broken/blocked guttering and seeps in through cracked rendering. Poorly fitting windows and doors caused by shrinking and swelling wood not maintained properly can also contribute to damp problems.


Lack of Damp Proofing


Much of the terraced housing in Brighton pre-dates effective modern damp-proofing. It means that rising damp is a huge issue in some areas particularly in basement flats. While many properties have been retrofitted with proper damp-proofing, lots haven’t or are made of a material which makes effective damp proofing difficult.


Bungaroosh


That material is bungaroosh. In short, it’s a nightmare for damp. It’s a nightmare for most things, if we’re honest. Marc comes across it as a problem so often that we have a whole blog post about it here. Highly porous and nearly impossible to render with modern rendering, bungaroosh is not very water-tight. You also can’t use the most commonly used damp-proofing with bungaroosh walls so a membrane is needed instead. This means that water can seep into these sorts of walls through almost any angle.


Weather


It goes without saying that rainy weather contributes to damp but wind does too and salty, rainy wind is the worst of all. Rain driven by strong wind will pound against the sides of buildings wearing away the rendering and eventually seeping through the cracks it causes. Add salt from the nearby sea into that rain and it does the job even more quickly. The frequent strong wind also batters at roof tiles and guttering causing the kind of damage that leads to damp.


Noise


Obviously, noise doesn’t cause damp. It does, however, cause people to keep their windows closed and limit ventilation which contributes to condensation building up and thus, mould forming. Particularly in the summer when it’s very busy here, lots of residents use fans and air conditioning to keep cool rather than having windows open because of noise from people enjoy themselves a little too much.


Just because damp is such a common problem in Brighton, doesn’t mean you’re obliged to put up with it. Even with bungaroosh walls and a powerful wind straight off the seafront, you can keep damp out with the right home improvements and maintenance. If you’re worried about damp, ask Marc to have a look. He can diagnose the problem and recommend a course of action to stop it. Get in contact on 01273 281624 or email info@tatesurveyingservices.co.uk.

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