Damp specialists….. be wary.

This post is nothing against the industry as a whole, but I do feel I need to share my personal experience.  There are cowboys in this area and I’m concerned people will get ripped off.  I’m actually very certain that people are being ripped off.

When we’re selling property and the survey comes up with suspected damp, the buyer, seller and anybody sensible would like to get it checked out.  So at that point we call companies in for an inspection.

I will tell you just one incident I’ve had, although there have been many similar.  Nice house sold to nice couple.  Surveyor noted high meter readings along 7ft of one wall downstairs.  Buyer wanted it checked.  He called in two people to inspect and we had our own person go and check too.  I’ve never had a problem with the firm I trust.  There are likely many other honest people out there, so if you find a good one, please do let me know.

The three quotes came in as such:

Firm 1: Rising damp along entire back wall, under the stairs and there was a lot of work needed to correct serious problem and identified damp in another room downstairs too. Just over £5,500 quoted.

Firm 2: Problem with floor boards damp rising and plasterwork needs ripping off and re-doing. £750. They did identify the 7ft of damp on the wall that the surveyor noted and said rest of house is okay.

Firm 3 (our choice): Blocked cavity and unsuitable wallpaper.  Take wallpaper off, clear cavity and 90% sure the plasterwork will be fine too once dried out.  Not helping is that the neighbours shed guttering runs off directly at the spot where the damp reading was higher.

I was with each firm when they were carrying out their inspection.  I didn’t trust firm 1 whatsoever.  The guy barely looked at me, rushed round and kept trying to justify where he’d found each piece of new work that needed doing.  Lots of hissing through teeth.  Firm 2 were really nice.  I think they were genuinely honest but just didn’t have any confidence in identifying what the actual problem was.  Firm 3 knew what they were doing.  The old chap has clearly done thousands of these inspections and went and asked the neighbour about their shed and the shingle they’d put down etc.

I’m no expert, but to have such varying quotes (and this happens regularly) is really worrying.  So if you have a damp expert come out and say that there is a big money solution to the problem, don’t panic and speak to someone else too.  Often these ridiculous quotes are jeopardising sales going through.

I’ve no idea how these people sleep at night.  I’m very tempted to report one to Rogue Traders.  That would be a show I’d love to watch.