Having decided against the Alaska Buildings, I'm now looking at somewhere a bit further down Grange Road, near the Church.
Any kind soul living there/thereabouts (ie further up Southwark Park Road) want to tell me how they find life up that end of the world - if the buses are as frequent on the weekend as they are during the week, what the people are like, any particularly good shops around the Blue Anchor bit, whether it's a pain being that far away from the tube....?
Now had an offer accepted on somewhere by Bermondsey tube - now that really is SE16! And talk about project...the amount to do is terrifying (including damp-proofing - anybody with any experience of that, please tell me it's not as horrible as I'm dreading). Am sure I'll also be able to bore for Britain on the subject once I get going! :-)
Do nothing except to turn the heating up, install some ventilation (open some windows), and find out where any leak comes from (broken guttering, leaking waste pipe etc.).
Houses are designed to leak! The walls are permeable so that water vapour can get out. Sash windows fit badly for the same reason. When you block up fire places, and fill the walls with hideous waterproof chemicals & when you replace the windows with sealed double glazed units, there ceases to be anywhere for water vapour to get out. So you get condensation & mould.
The last thing you need is to fill your house with horrid chemicals that will do you no good at all. If yours is a basement flat, then you may have to talk to your 'neighbours' up stairs to get them to fix their leaking shower. Just remember there is always a reason for damp: either something isn't working properly so that water is getting in, or something isn't working properly so water is not getting out.
Hmmm...basement flat but the chimney is unblocked (the fact that there's an open fire is an estate agent selling point...most practical in a smoke-free zone), there's no damp-proofing been done before, the upstairs neighbour away working (and has been for some months), no double glazed windows and the place is in a flood plain (ie not that far back from the river). And the place REEKS of damp.
Will certainly raise the points you mention with the company I've got coming in to do a survey though and ask them directly if they can tell me where the water's coming from - I just assumed it was from the ground!
Who is coming to do the survey? If they're a professional damp-proofing agency, then, given that they make their money from selling wicked chemicals you can only expect them to recommend damp proofing!
I'd turn the heating on & leave it on for 3 months, with open windows, before doing anything else. The place doesn't reek of damp; damp doesn't smell! It smells of the mould that grows in a damp atmosphere. Drying the place out is no guarantee that the smell will go away, as the mould that smells will still be present.
I presume the basement floor of a Victorian house? When was it last lived in? Does it have central heating?
Yep, basement flat in a victorian 4 storey. Last lived in fairly recently I think by tenants and yes it does have central heating. Problem is, I need to do a rather large amount of work to the flat which will include redecoration - which as I understand it has be done after any form of damp-proofing as injecting those wicked chemicals makes a large amount of mess! That means I can't really afford to hang around for 3 months plus to see if the problem sorts itself as I do actually need somewhere to live...
I also have a builder (separate from the professional damp-proofing company who are indeed doing the survey for me) who's coming to see the place tomorrow. He's a good guy, and has no vested interest in me having this done one way or the other, so will ask his opinion. Also off to do some more research on the web about the whole issue. Thanks for the tip!