Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Bye Bye Damp Patches!

As we shared with you here the importance of making sure your house is dry, warm and toasty, we had to put our preaching into practice back at the tail end of last year and get the damp proof course in the property renewed.  Makes for an exciting blog topic right, well not really, but I'll do my best!

The damp proofing was last done just under 25 years ago, which should have been amazeballs as it should have been covered under the warranty of the company who carried out the work, where repair and renovations due to material faults in installation or materials used are covered free of charge.  But alas, not not for us, as even though the company was still trading after all this time (somewhat rare in today's economic climate), and we had the warranty documentation, also rare between people buying and selling and coming and going, still no dice!

Why?  Well, some genius home owner(s) past, had, of course invalidated the magical warranty by doing lots of less than intelligent things as follows:
  • Used the incorrect plaster on the walls
  • Left a leaking down pipe for like ever
  • Put so much concrete around the building that was way too high that even a car park would be jealous
  • Not re-pointed the damaged brickwork
  • ....I could go on, but I'm boring myself half to death!
We did our due diligence and got a couple of quotes from companies we knew in the area, the previous owners even left us some quotes from their investigations (of course they never pulled the trigger), we did leave out at least one company who a friends parents had not been very happy with, and the quotes were pretty pricey let me tell you!  The company we went with is called Craft Preservation, who did the work 25 years ago...we gave them a second bite of the apple, as they couldn't be blamed for the warranty issue, and they were happy to let us do some of the work to keep our costs down.  All in all, we were very happy with the service and workmanship.  

The original quote came in at £3150 including tax for the entire footprint of the house, but after having a chat with them, we changed the scope of work as it is a major undertaking, everything has to be removed up to a height of 1.2 metres so it can dry out and they have easy access to inject the walls with the special goo, and we certainly could not cope without a kitchen until sometime in 2014.  Our revised quote for the main living areas, where we signed up to do the grunt work, which involved stripping out the plaster from the inside of the house, lifting the floor around the walls, digging a trench around the entire property, and removing our own rubbish, got it down to £1440.00 including tax.  RESULT!!  Obviously we are not done yet as we need to pay for the kitchen extension to be done at some stage, which we estimate to come in at around £800.

The first order of business was to dig the trench leaving a lovely drainage channel, and considering the entire building has thick concrete the entire way around, this was back breaking work, LITERALLY, so many weekends since the end of 2012 plus some vacay time was spent sledge hammering, digging, and bagging up over two tonnes of rubble!

Trench!  Exciting right?
The last bit we had to do was a total bugger so we headed on down to HSS Hire and picked up a drill thingy, which Matthew promptly got stuck in the ground, luckily they gave us two picks, as the spare was needed to get the other one out...Phew!

Trench, check, now the inside.  First order of business was to strip out the fixtures and fittings. The fireplace is a reproduction, and we plan to re-use it in the 1st floor master bedroom.  We had ripped up all the laminate, removed the skirting at various stages, plus knocked down the wall. 
Yum, spiders webs!
Next, the walls, which was the worst job we have ever had to do!  It's filthy work, and the dust is horrendous!  The 112 year old plaster is easy to remove but it turns to powder as soon as you touch it....Gross!

Certainly a flattering shot if ever I came across one!

Flattering shot number 2!

We soon figured that, 1.2 metres was a pipe dream, the plaster was blown on every wall, so it all had to come off in the end. much did this little lot cost vs. the original estimate, and was it worth DIYing some of the work?

Cost of Work
Craft Preservation £1440
Rental of jackhammer thingy £60.64
Rubble sacks £45
Rubbish Removal 2 tonnes, £165
Additional Plastering est. £200
Total £1910.64

Estimated Future Costs
Kitchen Damp Proofing £800
Total £800

Total Cost £2710.64

Original Quote - Total Cost = 
Saving £439.36

Ah, not a great amount saved, but we would have pinched a few extra pounds by DIYing the rubbish and shifting it to the tip ourselves, but we were time poor so we called in a very helpful chap named Sean (All Rubbish 2 Go) who quoted us £185, but agreed to knock off £20 if we helped load up the van...result!

So, was it worth it?  I'm going to go out on a limb, and say in this case, no the saving was not worth it at all!  Here's why...a week before I flew out to India in March, after all this work was done...I stopped being able to walk...I was pretty much stuck, and could only walk for short periods at a forward to a hospital visit in India, and a slipped disc diagnosis - deep joy!!...!

Injury Costs
Physiotherapy in India £98
Consultant, MRI & X-ray in India £250 (ok, so we don't include this as my lovely employer covered it)
Health Insurance Excess £100
Labour costs as I have been unable to pull my weight.....approx £500
Total £698

Saving £439.36 less £698 = £EPIC FAIL

Wow, that sucks big time....!  DIY usually stands for Do It Yourself, this time is more like Don't bother with It Yourself! 

Any times you wish you had left it well alone?  Share the wealth!!


  1. I'm two months in to re-doing our home's ceilings - scraping off the old foam-popcorn texture, mudding/spackling, sanding, priming and painting - and this is something I fervently wish I had the budget to hire someone else to do. Never again! Haha.

    1. That sure sounds like a horrible's the dust and the disruption, yuck!!! Good luck with it, keep me posted on your progress, we'll have a cyber glass of bubbles when the worst jobs are done and dusted....;o)

  2. That. Does. NOT. Look. Like. Fun.

    Sometimes it really does pay to have the professionals do the job even if it will cost more. That is why we did not attempt the roof or the windows ourselves. However, when you are low on funds and trying to renovate an entire house, it is hard to know where to draw that line. I hope your next project is a little easier! How is your back doing now?

    1. I wouldn't do it again that's for sure....!!

      My back is rubbish, I was much better give or take pins and needles in my foot with limited strength in my left leg...but went to a fair Monday, was on my feet for a couple of hours, and woke up Tuesday and couldn't move at all. Luckily already had an appointment at the hospital already booked, had a new MRI today and am back with the surgeon tomorrow


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