Ask a Tradesman
'dangerous' deposits on brickwork?
I live in a victorian terrace and the front gutter has been leaking for a while. A white deposit has started to build up on the brickwork under the leak (which I had previously been told was just salt deposits from the damp) and there is also some black mould on the internal walls.
I've just had a sales man out to quote for fixing the gutters and he said that the white stuff on the bricks and the internal mould are"more dangerous than asbestos" and I need to get all the work done urgently to keep my family safe. Is this likely to be true or just scare tactics to get me to sign on the dotted line?
Also, he has quoted £750 to replace a 5 meter length of gutter. It's the first quote I've had so I've no idea if that's about right but a bit of advice on that would be appreciated.
As it is a Victorian terrace it will be twin wall construction with no cavity, built using lime mortar. As there is no cavity, any water continually hitting the same spot on the exterior wall can penetrate into the interior wall - this can show up as black mould and can crumble the plaster. If the plaster is in poor condition, it will need replacing;
without looking it is not really possible to say exactly what the deposits are but it sounds like the salt in the brick, the black mould is either penetrating damp or condensation, it does need to be dealt with but the cause of the water ingress must be dealt with first.
You do not say what type of guttering is on the house and what type of guttering they are replacing it with. The price quoted to replace 5 metres of guttering is well excessive if it is only the guttering they are replacing. Even if they are replacing it with cast iron guttering,
my advice is post the job on the site and get a few local tradesmen who are used to dealing with the problems associated with older property round to quote, pick one get the job done properly and save money.
Best wishes, Alex
Answered 24th Apr 2013
The 'white stuff' is efflorescence and is completely harmless, anyone telling you its life threatening is pulling a fast one!!
There is nothing to suggest that bricks made and used during Victorian construction contain anything dangerous, if there was then the reclaim market would be dead and buried and its quite the opposite!!
The price seems high, avoid companies that send round men in suits (salesmen). You want to meet and see the guy who is doing the work. You need to know they are honest, trustworthy and above all can do the job, even something this small!! Avoid these guys and get some quotes from 3 or 4 reputable tradesmen.
Answered 24th Apr 2013