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How to tackle mildew?!!!

(31 Posts)
Grummy Sun 08-Dec-13 13:56:09

My flat was wallpapered and painted very nicely when I moved in. Hmmm, to disguise the damp problem I think. I have put moisture absorbers on all window sills and am using Dettol mould & mildew remover when black spots appear all over the place (this is hard work!) but it is on the wallpaper (how the wallpaper is actually remaining on the walls is a miracle) and I'm not sure if there's something else I could be using. The condensation is so bad it runs down the glass inside even though I have double glazing. I am quite new to mildew so all your suggestions gladly welcomed.

tattynan Thu 26-Dec-13 17:18:54

Check your lease to see what your landlord says about repairs. All the leases I've seen have outlined landlords responsibility to maintain property.

petra Mon 23-Dec-13 10:55:16

I have to say that our council here, Southend is really coming down hard on these Landlords. One recently was fined £20,000. Not that it hurt him, but at least it showed that they are doing something.

Grummy Fri 20-Dec-13 15:44:13

Thanks JessM and FlicketyB, good advice, I will follow that up.

FlicketyB Fri 13-Dec-13 17:52:24

Why not speak to the local council. If it as damp as you describe it could breach standards that housing should reach to be officially habitable. The Council can make it mandatory that the landlord fixes the problem or else have the flats declared unfit for human habitation. The EPC is also mandatory and if he did not have one done and give you a copy he is in breach of the law. Again speak to your local Council.

JessM Fri 13-Dec-13 07:32:09

Hi Grummy had a feeling it might be. As a tip, next time you are looking for a flat there is a legal obligation for the landlord to have an EPC - and energy performance certificate, done so that prospective tenants can get an idea of how energy efficient the flat or house will be. If it is an A or a B then bills are likely to be very low indeed.
We have recently rented, its a fairly new building and its an A - we haven't had to put the heating on at all yet, because the fridge, computers etc kick out enough heat to keep it plenty warm enough.
If the place is warm then you don't get condensation or mildew. Of course the letting agents don't offer to show you EPCs unless you ask.
So try to find somewhere in the A - C band and don't touch anywhere with an E, F or G.
Landlords in some areas might be able to get ECO grants or Green Deal finance to improve the energy efficiency of their property if they can be bothered.

Grummy Fri 13-Dec-13 07:19:45

Hi all, very helpful and sensible advice! However the flat is rented, all the flats in the block have the same problem, I am on a bread and butter budget and the landlord would not be interested in doing anything about fixing the mildew problem internally. So on I will have to go until the lease and I shall hopefully find a drier place to live!

annodomini Tue 10-Dec-13 20:10:01

It's an end terrace, so there would be three walls in each room! I will make inquiries but I'm not sure I can stand the upheaval.

FlicketyB Tue 10-Dec-13 19:45:46

Annodomini You can also fit internal solid wall insulation. A friend did that in a house with moulded cornices around the wall/ceiling joins. they took these off and were able to get replacement lengths of cornice made to the same pattern. When you are in the room it looks just as it ever did

Internal insulation is only about 3 inches thick and in a terraced house only one wall in each room will need to be done, so I do not think that the reduction in one dimension of the room will be significant.

whenim64 Tue 10-Dec-13 18:04:26

Both, Jess. A cottage built on minimal foundations. Pointing sorted the penetrating damp out, and after the front wall showed the damp had dried out, I had it sprayed with a damp protector. It was interesting to see earth when the old fireplace was removed! hmm

JessM Tue 10-Dec-13 17:10:18

penetrating rather than rising damp maybe when
anno the only alternative is dry lining but that reduces the size of the rooms, but worked OK on a spacious London terraced house I know of.

whenim64 Tue 10-Dec-13 16:58:18

anno I have an 1860 cottage with a single skin of bricks, and had the external damp-proof ceramic bricks fitted 7 years ago. I never notice them as they blend in with the original bricks, and they've done the trick in tackling mildew and damp. Much less intrusive than internal damp-proofing and re-plastering a metre up from the floor.

JessM Tue 10-Dec-13 16:12:15

Good advice from flicketyb. The cause needs to be properly identified - dealing with the mildew itself - its just going to re grow. Its a microscopic plant that needs a supply of water from condensation.
Is it rented grummy? If so public or private?

annodomini Tue 10-Dec-13 15:55:47

I have an 1891 brick built end of terrace. Windows are double glazed and the loft well insulated, but there's no cavity to insulate. I can't help thinking that external insulation would spoil the character of the house, so what more could I do?

FlicketyB Tue 10-Dec-13 15:47:19

Waterproofing stone will not seal the damp in. Any damp will gradually dry out through the inside walls. What the damp proofing does is stop any further damp entering the stone.

The ideal solution to the problem would be to fit external insulation to the wall, which will stop the wall getting both wet and cold and will reduce the occupant's heating bills significantly. There are grants, but if you do not qualify I would not think getting one wall of a terrace house insulated would not be outrageously expensive. But I accept one person's definition of outrageously expensive is not another's.

In the past in the area where I live houses with a wall facing into the weather often have tile or wood cladding on the weather wall to protect it from the worst of the rain.

Nelliemoser Tue 10-Dec-13 15:34:54

I would be worried that waterproofing the stone would be more likely to seal damp in and prevent the stone from breathing.

On a Geological walk in Sheffield my geology guru was saying that some older houses in Sheffield, built for the accommodating the labouring classes as quickly and cheaply as possible, have some very poor quality sandstone on them. We saw some of this where it outcrops on the west of the city.

In recent years people have attempted to clean the years of heavy industrial grime off the stone to clean it up. Cleaning appears to have made the surface deteriorate even faster. All the grime was probably holding it together. One needs to be very wary.

Mishap Tue 10-Dec-13 14:52:55

My son -I-L is in the process of removing the render from his old brick farmhouse as it is clear that the house needs to breathe in order not to encourage damp, mildew and death watch beetle (who love a damp place to reproduce in!). He is going to lime render it. Silicone sprays just make things worse I am afraid. He took advice from a friend who renovates old houses and knows about this stuff. We also received the same advice when we moved into our old stone cottage.

Galen Tue 10-Dec-13 14:22:27

I was warned against that with my similarity aged sandstone house?

Lyndysim Tue 10-Dec-13 14:06:32

I've got an old house circa 1850amd I have just had the outside silicone sprayed to make it waterproof. I do however still have mildew condensation on my inside plastered windowsills where the cold outside stone clashes with the warmth. Thinking of having it lined with plastic wood!

Bez Mon 09-Dec-13 17:09:46

Thompson do a clear liquid which penetrates the brick etc and waterproofs it all. They also do a product for painting walls on the inside which prevents marks showing through new paint. We had a house where a gutter down pipe had leaked - problem pipe was fixed but you could still see the mark the damp had made on the inside - after painting with the barrier stuff it did not show through the new paint I put on. DIY stores also make their own stuff but read any of the tins carefully to see it appears to do the job you need doing.
Lakeland do a spray which is great for any mould starting up in the bathroom etc - as soon as the first sign appears out comes the bottle!

FlicketyB Mon 09-Dec-13 16:53:00

Most DIY stores will sell suitable water proofing liquid and should be able to advise. Your really need to get advice from a builder. If you are on any benefit you may be able to get a grant to have insulating cladding put on the wall.

numberplease Mon 09-Dec-13 16:43:36

What do we use for water proofing? Sorry, I`m a bit thick about these things. The furniture isn`t actually touching the walls, but not really room to move it further out, only small rooms.

FlicketyB Mon 09-Dec-13 07:14:20

Try waterproofing the outside of the wall and move the furniture out from the wall so that there is more air movement behind it. Best of all, fit or get fitted, exterior wall insulation on that wall. That will sort the problem.

numberplease Sun 08-Dec-13 23:04:42

We have a lot of mould on our walls. It`s always on outside walls, where there`s furniture placed, so can`t be seen till furniture is moved. Have tried many products for mildew, no success. It`s an old end terraced house.

susieb755 Sun 08-Dec-13 22:20:45

Your local environmental health team will be able to offer some advice, and may have grants if you need work done

TriciaF Sun 08-Dec-13 19:39:30

Agree with Flickety.
We had a similar problem (though completely different situation, old damp rural house). Last owner had painted over with plastic type product.
Needs to be stripped back and dried out, then either insulated as F. says, or treated with an antimould product and replastered with a breathable plaster.