13 Dec Common Issues Uncovered by Property Surveys
This article will highlight some of the most common issues found on property surveys and the implications for homebuyers. We also outline the next steps your surveyor will recommend to rectify any defects so that you know what you can expect to find on your report.
Asbestos can cause life-threatening health problems so can be incredibly harmful if it is present in your home. Due to its harmful nature, asbestos was banned in 1999, however, many homes may still harbour the substance without the owner’s knowledge and is most commonly found in insulation in roofing.
A property survey will detect whether asbestos is present in your home and, if it is found, an asbestos survey is recommended to further investigate the issue, before being removed by a specialist contractor.
Damp is a very common defect found in many properties. Your survey will identify damp and determine which type is present in your property – penetrating damp, rising damp, or condensation, before determining how to resolve the issue or recommending a damp survey.
Penetrating damp is caused by water from outside leaking into your house. It is identified by damp patches, blistering paint, mould, and rotting timber. To resolve this issue the moisture needs to be prevented from entering the property by identifying the source, whether broken guttering, missing roof tiles, or cracks in window frames.
Rising damp occurs as a result of water from the ground moving up into the house through capillary action and is due to problems with the damp-proof membrane or damp-proof course. This presents itself through damp patches in the wall or floor and requires a professional to repair the damp proofing and prevent further transfer of moisture.
Condensation is caused by moist air condensing on surfaces in the home and leaving water droplets on walls and other surfaces. This could lead to rot and mould so should be eradicated through installing a dehumidifier and double glazing, and improving ventilation.
Faulty drainage can lead to a host of defects including flooding, damp, rot, and water damage. Your survey will uncover any defects with drainage such as blocked, leaking, or damaged drains, and then assess the extent of the damage to determine the course of action.
You may be able to resolve issues through simple maintenance by keeping gutters and drains clean, clear, and in good condition. However, you may require a further CCTV drainage inspection to examine more extensive damage. You may also need repairs carried out by a specialist drainage company who can professionally unblock and clean your drains and fix any leaks.
Insulation is important in your property to reduce heating costs and protect the environment, however, your survey may uncover faults in your insulation if it does not comply with EPC standards.
Your surveyor may find your insulation to be insufficient in places, including your roof, piping and heating system, and cavity walls. Maybe areas are missing insulation or areas need to be more insulated or insulation may need fixing. You should be able to fix insulation issues yourself or you can hire a professional for tricky to access areas.
Japanese knotweed is one of the world’s most invasive species of plant and the most invasive in Britain. The plant can grow over 2m high and is highly destructive, rapidly causing damage to everything from drains and pipes to foundations and conservatories. This is not a plant that you want your survey to uncover.
If it is discovered in your survey, it will need to be eliminated by a specialist, but it is notoriously difficult to get rid of, with treatments taking up to 3 years to complete, and even then, there is potential for regrowth as it can lay dormant for 20 years.
Your survey can uncover multiple defects with your roofing, and flat roofs, in particular, may present more issues than pitched roofs as they are cheaper and not as durable or long-lasting.
Roofing issues range from smaller defects such as cracked tiles, wear and tear, moss, and insecure guttering to larger problems including leaks, sagging roof, sitting water, or even a roof replacement. Minor problems can be rectified by a handyman or DIYer, but more extreme problems will need a roof survey and the advice of a specialist roofing contractor.
Structural movement can pose a real threat to your property as any movement can weaken and compromise your home’s structural integrity, causing it to shift and eventually collapse. Structural movement is indicated by cracks in walls, sloping floors and ceilings, misaligned and jammed doors and windows, and gaps and spaces in the frame.
Structural movement may be caused by subsidence, heave, thermal movement, poor drainage, or tree roots. Your property surveyor will identify any warning signs as well as the root cause and offer advice on what action to take to prevent further movement, whether this is a specific structural survey or a subsidence survey.
Timber Decay & Rot
Timber decay and rot occur when timber in your home is exposed to moisture and becomes too wet. This causes fungus to grow and spread which decays the wood and weakens your home’s structure.
If timber decay and rot are uncovered by your survey, remedial action needs to be taken immediately to eliminate the moisture, eradicate the wood-destroying fungus, and re-strengthen your home’s structural timbers.
Woodworm infestations pose a threat to timber in properties. Woodworms are wood-boring insects whose larvae burrow into the timber and their presence is indicative by flight holes left in the wood when the larvae hatch and emerge from the timber.
If uncovered in your property, a timber specialist is required urgently to eradicate the infestation as soon as possible as, if left unattended to, the insects can continue to bore through and destroy the wood, weakening your home’s structure and risking collapse.
Book Your Property Survey
From asbestos, drainage, woodworm and damp to movement, Japanese knotweed, rot, and roofing, these are some of the most common issues your property survey may uncover, so be aware of which areas to look out for in preparation for your property survey.