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Nice things people say about us...

March 2017:

Hi Peter, Sophie and team,

I just want write to say thank you for your absolutely fantastic website and blog. I have recently purchased a wee terraced house with solid walls (1904ish) which is generally in good shape but needs a lot of TLC. Yesterday I was researching lime plaster and stumbled across your website. After reading through it I decided to take a look at an area that has been bugging me above the stairs where it looks like the paint is bubbling. Sure enough, someone has used modern gypsum plaster on the ceiling and wall down to the picture rail to cover a crack in the old ceiling plaster and the whole lot had blown and just fell off (with minimal prodding) to reveal patches of mouldy, rotten lining paper between the new and old plaster. The old lime plaster, despite being cracked is still intact. I still need to investigate to find the source of the moisture in case its not just condensation but I'm pretty sure that bit of the house is happier now it can breathe.

I also found the section on breathable insulation very helpful. There are a lot of DIY bloggers online showing how they have successfully insulated their old draughty Victorian homes. I would like to reduce my energy bills and impact on the environment as much as the next person but something didn't sit right with the way they were hermetically sealing their houses, as my limited knowledge of old buildings is that they are designed to breathe. Anyway, after finding your website the most I will be doing is using hemp lime and in the loft hemp fibre boards and sheepswool to replace the fibreglass stuff that's up there just now. (by the way your comments regarding sheepswool gave me a good chuckle)

My only disappointed with your website is that I didn't find it sooner i.e. I would have used you for my buildings survey pre-purchase! The surveyor I used, who at the time I was impressed with, I now realise has told me some very bizarre things - for example when I specifically asked if I would need to repoint with lime mortar, he told me no it would be ok to use cement :-/

So, a heartfelt thank you for making your knowledge and experience available online and for sharing your enthusiasm and love for old properties. 

Kind Regards


February 2017:


I’d just like to thank you for the information on your website regarding damp, especially rising damp!

We bought a 17th C cottage last February, which had damp problems, and fortunately looked on the net for info because the surveyor had said we needed a damp proof course!  Fortunately we spotted your site and having read the horror stories you highlight we dug into it a lot more and went on the SPAB homeowners course.

Following all that we have stripped the concrete render off the outside, removed the concrete floor and “damp proof” membrane from our lower than outside ground level floors inside, ripped off all the gypsum / tanking plaster and hey presto the walls are all drying out nicely, surprise surprise! 

We have a fair bit of work to do but should end up with a nice dry little cottage with lime plaster/render and limecrete floors.

I now use your site as a reference every time someone says to me "I've got damp in my old house".


Terry Collins

East Yorkshire


December 2016

Hi Peter

Just read your web page and a smile crept across my face like a cheshire cat! I have been banging on about the same things for years and people think I am mad, I laughed out loud at the restaurant wall by the river...answer that Mr damp man! I manage a large private estate of around 400 assorted houses mostly mid late victorian and am slowly and painfully reversing the carnage, keep up the good work


Tim Hunter

December 2016

Thanks Pete,

Your advice is much appreciated and it is refreshing to get facts rather than the speculation and conjecture that comes with getting normal builders to look at a problem. I've taken off a test area of the render and it comes off fairly easily so I've now got to decide whether to take on the whole house. Brickwork is stained with cement but hoping a chemical brick cleaner can remove that. I honestly think that the house is just absorbing moisture from the outside that is getting trapped behind the render and the moisture that is generated inside the house itself can't escape either. I'm already going to have to fit airbricks in the gables due to the fact I checked the loft in this our first winter and it was like it was raining indoors. No sofitts although insulation wasn't blocking the cavity at least.

Thankfully I put the screws to the surveyor and after months of letters with them starting out with an offer of £500 I got them to pay £5,000 to stay out of court.

Thanks again for your help.


P.S. if only your comment on PVC windows could get the same amount of coverage as they installers do!


I came across your website and was wondering if I could ask for a piece of advice. I live in a detached house circa 1910 that has had some problems with damp, including the odd patch upstairs. The house has been rendered and I'm wondering if this is perhaps part of the problem. The paint job on the render is starting to blow in a few places and having stripped a lot of the paint off one wall there are a few long small cracks and some larger ones that would need raking out a filling. I'm not sure what a cement render looks like but this looks like the grey of cement is places and is more sandy in others.

My question is should I just take the render off and allow the house to breath again? If so what is the best way without destroying the brickwork? I'm in no rush so happy to take it slowly with a hammer and cold chisel to carefully remove the render if that is a viable way to do it. Likewise does removing the render affect the UPVC window and back door fittings or would they just be fitted to the brick cavity and not the cavity formed by the render?

Sorry for all the questions but it is so easy to get bad advice or ripped off as I only learnt all this about damp after we had bought the property a year and a half ago and then on the surveyors say so paid for a number of sections of the internal downstairs to get a chemical damp proof course where there had been damp patches. As such, I'm really keen not to make the same mistake again.



October 2016

"Using his unique knowledge base and passion (and I do mean passion!), Pete Ward not only rubbished many of the generic recommendations of our mortgage company's appointed building surveyor, he also found several structural issues with our house which were not brought to our attention. 
Richard Williams was instrumental in bringing our complaint with the third party surveyor to conclusion, as a conservation trained surveyor himself, Richard visited our home and went on to expertly prepare spec sheets for the remedial works required. This gave us the tools to take on the third party's insurance company to a satisfactory conclusion.
If you are buying a historic home or have issues such as "rising damp", Heritage House should be your first port of call.

Steve & Kirsty"

November 2016


Last year I moved into a Victorian stone-walled cottage. The mortgage company insisted on a survey using their appointee, who did the "meter oh you've got rising damp need a PCA timber and damp survey" piece. Thanks to your website, National Trust, English Heritage and RICS own info, I was able to convince the mortgage company their appointee was incorrect. Now I've had the leaking gutter fixed, and removed the Anaglypta-stuck-on-with-Copydex-and-sealed-with-plastic-paint, the walls are drying out nicely. Fortunately most of the mortar is still lime, as is the plaster; the latter needs a bit of repair still, and there's a bit of concrete mortar to remove when I get rid of the plastic windows, but at least this house has a chance!

I also own a stone cottage in Wales, which had a roof leak where a chimney hadn't been removed properly in the past. Asked the agents to find a builder/roofer, but they got a damp-proofer instead who didn't even look at the cause but quoted for wrapping the house inside with impermeable material ( he said it's used on the London Underground so guaranteed to hold water back)!!! Obviously he didn't get the job, because I don't want the water trapped in the building structure.

So thank you for your website and keep up the good work. I'm actually amazed they can get away with this.




April 2016

Tom emailed me with a few questions about issues he had with his house.  I suggested a damp survey was a bit over the top and to let me know what the problems were.  A few pings by email and we had gotten to the bottom of most problems and shown Tom the way to go forward.  


Thanks so much for your free advice that you have given us. We have been sorting out damp problems on an 1890s property, and your advice has certainly saved us a lot of wasted money with cowboy builders. 

We would recommend you to anyone who has encountered damp problems in their homes, as your solutions and advice are sensible, pragmatic and not just a temporary fix. 

Thanks Pete. 


Regulated by RICS