Ill advice by media and govt.

Discussion in 'Just Talk' started by quasar9, Dec 15, 2022.

  1. quasar9

    quasar9 Screwfix Select

    I was prompted by an OP posting on this forum that his room was not heating up in this cold spell and another worried about the level of humidity when the heating comes on.

    this combined with daily reports from the press about damp mould infested flats that are not fit for living.

    I half suspect that before the insulation and cladding saga, many local authorities, housing associations as well as private landlords were trying to improve things by putting up double glazed window, putting up seals on doors and closing off vents to improve thermal efficiency.

    All done with good intentions.

    Unfortunately, a sealed building with no prover ventilation system, traps moisture which has nowhere to go but condense on the coolest spot. With people now being advised to keep the temperature around 18/19c things can only get worse.

    even in modern flats or houses, little input has gone into controlled ventilation such as heat exchanging exhaust fans. An average person loses around 400ml of water through normal activity plus cooking, bathing etc adds considerably more. This obviously needs to be vented.

    A new disaster awaits only this is more subtle and insidious
    stevie22 and arrow like this.
  2. dubsie

    dubsie Active Member

    What is needed is unthinkable politically because it's too expensive. You can't make 100 plus year old houses green unless your willing to spend tens of thousands doing it.

    Breathable insulation products like lime plaster, sheep's wool, limecrete and hemp are not readily available from merchants they also are more expensive. You have some amazing suppliers of state of the art products but many simply can't break into the market because the big chemical companies are pushing PIR and other sweaty products....I've yet to find one that is truly breathable

    I do believe British people are facing a grim future, plagued by failing infrastructure and poor investment and appalling political choices. Too many old vested interests holding back change.

    FUNDIMOLD Active Member

    I used to let out a flat in an old building (c1800) and it was/is a constant struggle to keep mould and damp at bay. The walls are of a rubble construction (about 2ft thick) with a mixture of cement render and plaster on the interior walls. My last two tenants used to suffer from mould incursion (not just the easy to clean black mildew) which was potentially a health hazard. A major cause of the mould was rooms being totally overfilled with furniture and belongings stuffed in to every space inc under beds which is a no-no in ventilation terms. I installed an Envirovent Atmos ventilation system plus kitchen and bathroom extractors which really help to control condensation levels. That said, I think people should pay attention to what sort of house would suit their lifestyles best and where possible adapt their habits to work with the building fabric limitations rather than fighting it.
  4. dubsie

    dubsie Active Member

    If you had lime plaster and breathable clay paint the walls would allow that moisture out ...these days paints contain mostly plastic which simply allows the walls to condense. It's all about matching the materials to the building...... problem is people can't afford to pay 200 quid to paint a room and lime plastering is a dying art
  5. quasar9

    quasar9 Screwfix Select

    indeed, its years of short term thinking and knee jerk reaction when things start to fail and comes to the attention of public and press. Often the issue is kicked into the long grass by using another problem. Some examples

    1. The entire road infrastructure has been allowed to rot but we are told this is a good thing as this will reduce the traffic which is bad for our health. Instead of repairing or renewing they are simply removed from use. Does nothing for introduction of electric vehicles. Sadly this disease has spread to rail network too as any attempt to put up new rail infrastructure is met with stiff resistance. The government now relies on NIMBYS and protest group to avoid spending any money.

    2. House building. Again the search for the elusive brownfield site continues, which is resulting in tiny flats (the smallest in Europe on average) built to the lowest standards usually with no social infrastructure like schools, surgeries, shops etc. Despite their isolation, there is no public transport and parking of any sort is frowned upon. Worse the density is so high that many flats do not get any sunlight and will become slums in a few decades as the poor build starts to decay.

    3. Energy planning - none ! You can blame the war in Ukraine but as we were supposed to go all electric using renewables within this decade, that cover story looks increasingly shabby.

    4. Facility and land for industrial use ! None - what little provision they had is being taken away in search for the brownfield site.

    Need I go on :mad:
  6. Knight Rider

    Knight Rider Member

    Hello, I'm new.
    Please allow me to correct you on a small technical detail:
    Breathable fabric of a building, does not 'allow the moisture out'. If it does it does so in a very minimal way. It is of course ventilation that 'allows moisture out'.
    What breathable fabric in a building does, is to allow the moisture to be absorbed into the fabric (and furnishings) of the building, (known as hygroscopicity of the material). This is not a one-way process. As the Relative Humidity (RH) of the interior atmosphere falls, that moisture in the fabric (and furnishing) of the buidling can be released back into the atmosphere.
    So breathable fabric in a building provides a natural regulator of RH in a buidling.
    There are publicised tables of hygroscopicity of normal building materials:

    It isn't just the existence of these materials that is relevant, it's the amount of them, and as you so rightly point out, lime rendered walls, with a breathable paint provides a vast area of 'buffering' with a non-energy absorbing application.
    quasar9 likes this.
  7. quasar9

    quasar9 Screwfix Select

    Agree, here is another paper

    DBCDIY Screwfix Select

    Then there's Gore-tex fabric for outdoor enthusiasts. It's been a phenomenal marketing success since its launch in the 60s. As a keen ski mountaineer I was sucked into spending hundreds of pounds on my first Gore-tex branded jacket - simply because I believed the hype:

    i.e. (Wikipedia) Invented in 1969, Gore-Tex can repel liquid water while allowing water vapour to pass through and is designed to be a lightweight, waterproof fabric for all-weather use. It is composed of stretched polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is more commonly known by the generic trademark Teflon.

    Although I'm sure SOME sweat does pass through Gore-tex the reality is that you soon discover - half way up a mountain - that the only way you can release the massive amount of moisture that's built up inside the to open under arm/front zip vents! Great for dog walking but limited success for the market it focuses on!

    On the positive side they discovered another use for Teflon - other than coating pans and taping threads :)

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