A few week’s ago, we were called out to a cottage alongside the River Wye in Chepstow. A pipe fitting beneath the upstairs bath had failed, eventually causing the living room ceiling to collapse.
The initial mess of ruined plasterboard had already been cleared by the owner, so our role was to assess the situation & implement drying measures so that this room could be mended & redecorated as soon as possible.
Step 1: Survey
The first thing to do was to investigate exactly where the water had travelled & what materials it had affected. In this case, moisture readings showed significant absorption of water in several of the walls, particularly where plasterboard was fixed over existing brick walls. The carpet was ruined & would need removal.
Step 2: Remove damaged/saturated materials
Once we had lifted the carpet & removed it, we could see the state of the floor beneath. In this case, the floor was OSB board over joists-
You can see in the image how clearly the moisture shows in this absorbent material. There was a removable panel in the floor (top right of the image) which allowed us to investigate the void beneath. This showed there was bare soil below.
Interestingly, as this property was on the river bank, we would expect higher than average moisture readings throughout the property, particularly as it was build before the era of damp proof courses & vapour barrier membranes.
Step 3: Apply anti-fungal solutions & install drying equipment
Once we had removed the carpet & underlay, we were able to spray the areas of damp with an anti-fungal solution to arrest any potential growth of black mould. This was not likely, given the low temperatures at the moment, but is worth doing as a preventative measure.
This video shows the initial emplacement of dehumidifiers & air movers-
Note how we have used ducting to channel the dry air into the small cavities between the plasterboard and brick walls.
Once the equipment had been installed, we explained to the home owner how to turn it off when needed and arranged a series of return visits to monitor the drying.
As we left, the stillness of the River Wye made for a spectacular reflection of Chepstow Castle.
Thanks for reading!