Are These Lurking In Your Property?

Are These Lurking In Your Property?

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Are you concerned that your property may be hiding some “horrors” that could potentially cost you thousands of pounds? Then see below for a brief guide to some of the most common.


If you spot a crack in your property, it doesn’t always have to result in a big panic – they don’t all cause immediate damage to the structure of the building.

After a building is constructed, it will very often go through a period of settlement which can cause hairline cracks to appear. Quite commonly these can be found around doors and windows and very often do not present a threat – although it would be wise to keep an eye on them.

Cracks often cause panic because they are linked to subsidence. If you spot a crack that you think may be as a result of subsidence, you should contact a professional immediately. It may well be that the subsidence is historic and no longer a concern, however advice from a professional surveyor would never go a miss.

Rising Damp

Damp is a defect that takes many forms and if reported on by a surveyor can scare a number of purchasers off as they think the effects are irreversible.

The presence of damp does not have to be a deal breaker and many solutions exist, some that focus on the underlying issues and some that simply prevent the moistures progress. They can include improving ventilation and heating, introduction or repair of a damp proof course and re-plastering with a damp resistant system.

Depending on the level of survey undertaken, a surveyor can often diagnose the damp issue advise as to which solution would be most appropriate.

Dry Rot

Despite its name, conditions of at least 20% moisture are required for the dry rot fungus (Serpula lacrymans) to form. This means that dry rot has the potential to be found in damp timber and unlike wet rot, has the ability to spread far within the building.

There are several potential signs that could alert you to dry rot including a musty damp odour, wood shrinking and darkening and fruiting bodies that are a soft, fleshy pancake or bracket with an orange-ochre surface and wide pores. If you think you have noticed any of these you should contact a local surveyor.

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed or Reynoutria japonica as it is scientifically known is a fast growing plant, which can grow to heights of 2m plus with deep rooted and resilient rhizomes. During its fastest rate of growth it can increase in by up to 20cm a day.

The reason it causes such a panic amongst homeowners and purchasers, is because it has the ability to grow through tarmac and paving and poorly laid concrete. In rare cases it will exploit weakness in the structure of a building and this can have devastating consequences to the sale of the property.

There are several solutions available that include digging out the contaminated soil or a long term treatment and Guarantee programme. However, if you believe the property is affected by Japanese knotweed, you should contact a specialist.


Although perhaps not a “horror”, moss still has the ability to cause damage to properties and its presence should be monitored.

Moss growth can begin with just a single spore that has been blown onto the roof or carried by a bird. The growth can be assisted by a number of factors including lack of sunlight, low pitched roofs and damp, which is why it is commonly noted on the north facing side of a roof, where direct sunlight is at a minimum.

Different roofing materials will be affected differently by moss but several solutions exist including a toxic wash or by installing copper wires across the roof surface that with every shower of rain creates copper sulphate – a natural killer of moss.

Our Surveyor for Bristol said: “The above highlight just 5 potential horrors that could be lurking in your home and should you be concerned that your house has any of them, you should contact a local chartered surveyor immediately.”

The content of the above blog is not intended to act as professional advice and should you have received a report with any of the above defects, and you are concerned as to what to do, contact your local chartered surveyor.

Phone: 0333 2414 413

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