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Poor workmanship and damp issues
I'm after a bit of of advice. I bought a 2 bed, garden flat last year and did a complete refurbishment using a builder I found on this website. It took his guys months to finish the job and most of it was finally completed recently but I am not happy with the workmanship and the bigger issue of damp patches on couple of walls.
During renovations there were a number of things his men got wrong but one that's annoying me the most at the moment is the installation of the wooden flooring in the living room - The sub floor wasn't level so as agreed they tried to level using plywood and self leveling compound. But I think they did a poor job. There are 3,4 mm gaps between the floor and skirting boards in some parts. Also when I walk on the floor, it bounces in some parts and in one particular area, it makes an annoying squeaky noise in one particular area. I am pretty sure this is the area where there were 2 bits of underlay joining each other but there was a bump as the fitter didn't cut them to the right size when installing. I asked him about this bump in the underlay and the guy said it will be OK and will settle down with the wooden flooring on top, after a couple of weeks. It has been about 2 months now.
2. Last week I noticed signs of damp on the bottom of walls (next to the door frame) just above the skirting boards. The paint is starting to feel off and walls feel cold. I noticed this in my 2nd bedroom and the kitchen. The thing is I only just got a new kitchen and new carpet in bedroom so not sure if there's anything I can do without damaging them?
I had damp issues in my living room and I got it damp proofed but I didn't think I had any damp in my kitchen or the bedrooms.
I was looking at the pictures I took of the flat before the refurbishment and I can see signs of damp in the same spots (paint peeling off and previous timber door frames damaged)
I am frustrated that my builder and his men didn't advise me on the damp issues which would have been evident. Maybe they didn't know what they were doing or they didn't care. Also I know my builders men used bonding when re-plastering the flat and one of the builders that came to my flat recently said, bonding shouldn't have been used in damp areas and that they should have used sand and cement.
I haven't mad the final payment yet (about £1200) but wondering if I should withhold some of the payment because of poor workmanship shown and the fact that he didn't alert me to damp issues and used the wrong materials?
If I withhold the money, I know there will be a big argument but do you think it's fair to do this? if he goes to small claims court, do I have any ground for withholding money?
I want to be fair and don't want any trouble, but I'm fed up with all the poor workmanship I have encountered and think there should be a penalty.
Would like to hear your thoughts.
2 Answers from MyBuilder Restoration & Refurb Specialists
I'm sorry to hear of your misfortune with your builders.
I can only comment on the damp issue as that is my area of business.
The damp can be caused by several things, but most commonly it's one or a combination of the following 3 issues.
1) Rising damp.
If you have had a damp proof course (DPC) installed correctly or if there is an existing DPC, then you need to have it checked to make sure it has not been breached. If it has, then it can be fixed.
2) Water ingress (rain water penetrating through the brickwork).
This again can be fixed.
3) Condensation on the walls from inside the property.
If you have solid walls (no cavity) then you may be susceptible to this as the walls tend to be colder which causes moisture in the air to condense on the walls, creating damp issues.
You really need a survey to determine what the issue/issues are and what remedies are available.
I would always advise against the use of cement render as this will seal in any moisture (cement does not "breath") and cause issues with brick/masonry.
Hope this helps.
And good luck with your other issues, sorry I can't advise on those.
Answered 7th Apr 2016
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