Penetrating damp due to deteriorated foam

The property featured in this case study is a bungalow, originally built in the 1980s. We were called out to take a look at a penetrating damp problem on some of the interior walls, which was causing issues for the tenants.

The damp issues were at their worst on the south-west elevation of the bungalow, where the outer brickwork, although it had been re-pointed, was not in a good state of repair. We inspected the cavity and discovered that the original urea formaldehyde foam had shrunk inside the cavity and was no longer functional. This had left large areas no longer protected. When we inspected the property inside, we discovered that these areas were adjacent to the penetrating damp patches that were causing the tenants concern.

Inspecting the cavity wall

We reported back to the customer on the cause of the damp, providing him with evidence of the problem. We then gave him a clear quote for the necessary remedial works. He was satisfied with our quote and impressed by our level of customer service and communication throughout – he was further reassured by our impartiality in comparison to other insulation companies.

 

The first task was to break down and remove the remaining urea formaldehyde foam insulation. This was done using compressed air, which ensured the redundant insulating material went to the extraction machine – there can be issues with removing old foam and sometimes it is necessary to use a special tool called a whipper to break it down into smaller pieces. While the foam was being removed, we ensured that dust from the urea formaldehyde foam insulation was prevented from entering the property; this can easily occur if builders have installed pipes through the cavity wall – a potential problem area is drainage and overflow pipes, for example. They may be neatly finished on the outer wall but unfortunately they are often not sealed properly on the inside, creating an escape route for the dust.

The customer was very satisfied with the removal phase of the project. After some further remedial work, we installed the cavity with a new bead insulation.

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