Damp & Timber | JW Surveys Ltd

JW Surveys carry out surveys and reports within the South East of England, Kent and Essex. If your property is suffering from damp, you are in need of timber treatment and you would like further advice regarding the cause, prevention and treatment then call JW Surveys.

Our impeccable customer care has grown over the last 20 years and has meant that we concentrate on individual needs and solutions.  Our main objective is to ensure your property is safe and habitable.  We base our surveys on evidence and facts and offer a comprehensive independent report.

Untreated damp or timber rot is destructive and can result in extensive repair bills.  Our fully qualified surveyors and technicians understand the nature and the extent of issues regarding damp and timber rot.  We can therefore offer information and insight to gain the correct diagnosis for you. Whether it is a diagnosis of rising damp, penetrating damp, dry or wet rot the diagnosis will be the correct one.  We will carry out a full inspection and produce your personalised report within 48 hours.

There are different ways in which damp can affect a property.  Rising damp occurs when ground water soaks up into unprotected brickwork, stone masonry or through the softer mortar.  Ground water contains salts which absorb into a walls base.  This can cause damage to your home and if left untreated can lead to timber decay.  Rising damp happens when the existing damp proof course deteriorates.  This then allows water to absorb through the waterproof barrier which has weakened.

There are several tell-tale signs that your property might be affected by rising damp.  These signs may include crumbling low level plaster, a band of salt that has drawn out of the plaster, tidemarks along the of the internal or external brickwork, stained or peeling wallpaper or flaky plaster.  Treatment for rising damp may be installing a new damp proof course or maybe re-plastering with a water resistant render.  JW Surveys will send a fully qualified surveyor to carry out a thorough inspection.

Penetrating damp is as a result of poor external maintenance.  This could be from damaged gutters which allow rain water to penetrate the buildings structure when the external bricks or renders are cracked.  There are various causes of penetrating damp.  From porous bricks and stones to driveways, paths, lawns and patios which have been raised above the damp proof course against the external wall.  Missing or cracked roof slates or tiles could be another factor along with faulty flashing. 

Signs of penetrating damp could be stained internal plaster, blown plaster, plaster falling off walls or peeling wallpaper.  JW Surveys can inspect all areas of concern and provide you with a suitable treatment to resolve your damp problem.  Sometimes no internal work is needed as once the source of the problem has been rectified walls may dry out naturally.  Although if plasterwork has been affected, it may need to be removed and re-instated using a waterproof rendering system and then a skimmed with a coat of finish plaster.  It is our aim to ensure that the dampness does no re-occur.

Condensation is mainly caused by warm, moist air from household activities condensing onto colder surfaces in the home such as walls, windows and ceiling.  These household activities include cooking, washing, bathing or even just breathing.  Condensation comes from water vapor being created from within a building that cannot escape.  Buildings that are poorly insulated walls are prone to this problem. 

The common sign of condensation is water collecting on the inside of windows or on the window sill. It is generally noticeable where it forms on non-absorbent surfaces, i.e. windows or tiles.  It can form on any surface and it may not be noticed until black mould growth and rotting of materials occur.  Other signs are decayed timer around window and door frames and water running down wall and pipes.  When sufficient moisture is present, species of bacteria and fungi can pollute the air in people’s homes.  Black mould can lead to an increase in respiratory problems such as asthma.  In particular the elderly and young children can be badly affected.

Condensation remedies may include background heat, additional ventilation, air vents, the use of fans and reduction of moisture generation.  At JW Surveys, we can provide you with an honest report and guide you in the right direction.
There are many different ways that timber can be affected making a need for replacement or treatment.  Every house uses timber in its construction or decoration.  It can last a long time if it is looked after.  There are two areas of timber rot found in the UK.  They are dry rot and wet rot

Dry rot is a wood destroying fungus which feeds on moisture and is often thought of as a building cancer. It is also known as Serpula Lacrymans.  It can be found in poorly ventilated buildings or water exposed timbers.  Once fungus spores germinate, fine strands of fungal growth sprout and spread, devouring wood. It will penetrate brickwork to get to more timber and cause  widespread, often unseen damage.  Dry rot is difficult to detect but can be diagnosed by JW Surveys.  Signs of dry rot include orange spores resembling fine brick dust, the cracking of joinery and timbers, fine red/orange spore dust scattered around or fluffy, cotton wool like strands that are brittle and develop under humid conditions. Dry-rot decayed timber can be crumbled between your fingers. The fungus leaves deep cracks running across the grain, and there is often evidence of off-white sheets of the fungus on the wood

Untreated dry rot is destructive and can result in extensive repair bills.   JW Surverys offer a thorough investigation and a detailed report.  You may need to remove the affected timber and any surrounding plaster.  Eradication of the moisture source will be important to prevent more damage and a quotation will be offered for treatment to the affected area.

Compared with dry rot, wet rot is hardly a problem.  Coniophora puteana is the most common type of wet rot.  Coniphoria can be found in most properties in some form within timber.   The higher the moisture content the higher the chance of wet rot decay.  Wet rot is typically confined to the area of dampness because the mycelium does not spread into walls.   Wet rot is not as destructive as dry rot, however can and does cause structural damage.  Signs of wet rot are cracks in skirting boards and is usually first identified when floor timbers start to bounce or have movement.  There may be a damp musty smell and visible fungal growth.  Wet rot can be caused by unprotected timber, possible leaks from pipes or domestic appliances and insufficient ventilation below suspended floors.

Whatever the type of Wet Rot, they all require the same treatment.  Try to find out why it’s damp and remove the source.  Make sure the surroundings dry out quickly and remove or repair damaged timber. Cut out damaged parts of the timber as they will not be strong enough to do their job. If the rot is seen in an enclosed area, you’ll need to increase the ventilation to ensure the area dries out quickly.  Our detailed reports identify defects found sp that they can be rectified.

Woodworm refers to the larvae of any wood-boring beetle, rather than one particular species. In the UK, the most common are the Common Furniture, Deathwatch Beetle House Longhorn Beetle and Powderpost Beetle. All invade and consume wood, and then leave when they have reached maturity.

Woodworm have a 3–4 year life cycle.  Therefore it may take years for an infection to manifest actual holes in timber or timber products.  Beetle eggs are laid into the crack in the wood.  The eggs take about 3 weeks to hatch and each egg produces a larva. They come closer to the surface when ready to pupate. The adult  make an exit hole by breaking through the surface.  This creates dust which is the first visible sign of an infestation.  So if you find crumbly edges to your boards or joints, find small round holes in your woodwork with a fine, powdery dust around each hole or find adult beetles emerge from the holes then call JW Surveys to investigate and determine the type of infestation.   It is important to identify the type of infestation as not all types of beetles require the same treatment.

To prevent future outbreaks causing damage to timbers ensure you keep humidity levels low and ensure wood is well-ventilated.  Remove infested pieces of furniture or timber to prevent woodworm spreading.  Kill emerging adult beetles by installing electric fly traps in loft spaces and under ventilated areas.  This will reduce the chances of infestation.

JW Surveys will provide you with a comprehensive report which will cover the envelope of the property to assess its general condition.  External observations including photographs of areas of concern as well as an internal observation.  You will be provided with conclusions including a full plan highlighting the work required.  Specification and budget estimates are based on current industry rates.

So if you live within one of the many towns or villages of the Kent, South East or Essex area contact JW Surveys.  We will arrange a property survey with one of our independent damp and timbers surveyors approved by The Property Care Association and provide you with a report and finding within 48 hours.

Our Services

JW Surveys carry out the following surveys and reports within the South East of England:

  • Independent Damp & Timber Surveys and Reports
  • Damp & Timber Pre-Purchase Surveys
  • Structural Waterproofing Reports
  • Structural Waterproofing Design to BS8102:2009
  • 7 Days A Week subject to availability

These are all carried out by our Independent Damp and Timber Surveyor who is approved by The Property Care Association.

PCA Membership

JW Surveys are members of Property Care Association


*Based on a domestic 2 bedroomed property

Limited Survey (Level 1) - from £195.00*

Suitable for clients with a specific limited area of dampness or decay.  JWSurveys will carry out a limited non-destructive inspection.

Property Condition with combined Timber & Damp Survey  (Level 2) - from £250.00*

This survey is suitable for most conventional properties, built as early as 1900s except period properties and those with a “Listed” status.


Period Property Condition with Timber & Damp Survey (Level 2a) - from £300.00*

Suitable for the more unusual property. Eg period properties or those with “Listed” status.


Reports Compliant with Civil Procedure Rules Part 35 - from £390.00*

Suitable for use as evidence for the purpose of civil proceedings in a court in England or Wales


Available Add-Ons

  • On site salt analysis - £15.00 per sample
  • Calcium Carbide Test - POA - (Note: - The calcium carbide test involves the taking of a number of material samples by drilling into the strata)

Click here to find out more about what to expect.