Damp marks on internal walls between terraced houses

Discussion in 'Job Talk' started by WillSE25, Jun 11, 2020.

  1. WillSE25

    WillSE25 New Member


    Just after a bit of advice on the way forward and if it needs anyone to look at it.

    On the internal wall between us and our neighbour, there are damp marks. It's a mid-terrace from the early 1900s. There doesn't seem to be any particular pattern as to when it gets worse, but we first noticed after we had plastering done when we moved in two years ago. They're halfway up the wall, so doesn't look like rising damp, and run in a line along the wall and in the storage space under the stairs (pic 2). Does anyone have any suggestions as to what the problem may be? I'm suspecting as it's an old house there might be gaps in the brickwork, and don't really want to call a damp proofer out.
    upload_2020-6-11_14-27-24.png Pic1

    upload_2020-6-11_14-27-47.png Pic 2

  2. Astramax

    Astramax Super Member

    Is it the same on your neighbours side of the property?
  3. WillSE25

    WillSE25 New Member

    It was originally when the marks first came up, but she doesn't have it anymore, it's just my side.
  4. Astramax

    Astramax Super Member

    Odd one, any pipework in wall, radiator on neighbours wall. If its on your side it is also on the neighbours surely?
  5. Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber Screwfix Select

    First thing, you don't need a 'damp proofer'. At all. Ever.

    Does the wall feel damp? If not, it could simply be an old stain that's coming back through the paint.

    One way to check if it's getting worse is to lightly draw round the patch in pencil and see if the patch then gets bigger.

    If it does feel damp, it's a case of locating the source of the water and stopping it.

    If you have wooden floors, you can take up a floorboard and have a look underneath to see if there's any water there.

    However as your neighbour hasn't got it, and the wall will be solid, it's unlikely to be water from the ground.
  6. Abrickie

    Abrickie Screwfix Select

    That’s because she’s tanked her side and sent it all your way ;)
    ElecCEng and Joe the Plumber like this.
  7. WillSE25

    WillSE25 New Member

    Thanks, not it doesn't feel particularly damp, although it's a little cooler to the touch than the rest of the wall. There is a pipe much lower down, but not really near this part of the wall and at any rate it's boxed in and the floors are concrete. The marks never spread beyond this particular pattern, they just keep coming through as shown inthe picture. Have been at a bit of a loss with it. I'lls ee if my neighbour has any radiator on that side.
    Joe the Plumber likes this.
  8. Astramax

    Astramax Super Member

    The first photo shows damp under the wallpaper causing the paper to bubble up. That area would feel damp to the touch, also will have a musty smell about it. The lining paper has been patched replaced at some time as a horizontal repair line within the damp area is visible, or has that repair to the paper just been done?
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2020
  9. WillSE25

    WillSE25 New Member

    Yes, we replaced that area of lining paper when we moved in, probably a 18 months or so ago. We removed an internal porch and built a new cupboard for the meters and replaced the lining paper as well around here where it'd got damp and ripped near the old cupboard. Dampness/moisture has come through again since then, causing the paper to bubble up. It looked fine after we'd replaced it originally. At a bit of a loss to what's causing it to do this though. The water pipe runs along the bottom under the stairs (we had it boxed off) so it isn't that, and there's no damp rising from ground level. Checked again and it's not damp to the touch now.
  10. Jord86

    Jord86 Screwfix Select

    When your neighbour had the leak and then it mysteriously stopped, what work was undertaken her side? How do you know she doesn't have any issue her side, have you been over to have a look, obviously politely rather than accusatory? How do you know it isn't a hidden long redundant pipe buried in the wall slowly leaking?
    kitfit1 likes this.
  11. kitfit1

    kitfit1 Screwfix Select

    To me that looks like a buried pipe, bearing in mind the age of the house, maybe even an old Lead pipe that for some reason is still Live. It dosn't take much to cause a lead pipe to start leaking, especially when buried within a wall.
  12. WillSE25

    WillSE25 New Member

    I knocked on and had a look a couple of days ago and the wall on her side is absolutely fine. She said her contractor wasn't sure how it'd happened but they just painted over it about a year or so ago and it hasn't come back since.

    These marks first came up when we had a lot of plastering work done and then they came back again the second time this happened, so thats why I was thinking it might be gaps in the brickwork trapping pockets of moisture in the air in the house. I think by virtue of covering this area with new, quite thin lining paper and painting over it again a few times, it's probably made it look worse than it is. The brickwork between houses on our road is not substantial, when we had the chimney breast knocked through on the other side to make a new fireplace, the builder found only one layer of bricks in the wall between us and our other neighbour. That's why it would be strange to me if there was enough space for pipework to sit behind the wall here.
  13. Astramax

    Astramax Super Member

    Are the bubbles within the lining paper a permanent feature due to poor application or have the recently appeared. If not paint over the stains with Zinsser Cover Stain as this will block the stains ready for emulsion painting over.
  14. WillSE25

    WillSE25 New Member

    I think they're a permanent feature due to application. The lining paper we used is also quite thin and I've painted over it a few times. Might be worth just getting the whole area re-done.
  15. Astramax

    Astramax Super Member

    Ok that's whats misleading. Apply the Zinsser Cover Stain, when dry emulsion over..............replace the poorly applied lining paper first though and If you hang it let it soak for 10 minutes prior to hanging it....(follow the hanging instructions).
  16. WillSE25

    WillSE25 New Member

    Thanks, should I apply this to the bare wall before rehanging the lining paper?
  17. Astramax

    Astramax Super Member

    Yes, ideal thing to do if you are stripping the wallpaper off. :)

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