What Is a Damp-Proof Survey and Why Would You Need One?

Do you suspect that your house has a dampness issue? If so, it’s time for a damp-proof survey!

A damp-proof survey will save you the hassle of assessing the moisture damage and calculating treatment costs yourself. Not to mention, if done early, it can save you the money of treating extensive damage.

But what is a damp-proof survey? We’ll tell you everything you need to know, including what to expect from the surveyor’s visit and how much it costs, so keep on reading!

damp proof survey

Everything You Need to Know About a Damp Survey

A damp survey is an investigation carried out by a professional to identify damp issues within a property. If the surveyor finds a problem, they should identify the cause, inspect the extent of the damage, and look for a pre-installed damp-proof course. After the inspection, they should write a summary of their assessment and the treatment needed.

Some surveys also include the identification of possible future issues as a result of the moisture and calculations of the treatment costs.

Why You Should Get a Damp Survey

Many people aren’t convinced of the importance of damp surveys, claiming they’ll identify the issue themselves when they see moist spots on their walls. However, they’re mistaken. Not all moisture problems show up on walls. Instead, your house foundation and timbers might be absorbing moisture without a single sign.

That’s where the importance of damp surveys shows, as experts can identify dampness issues, even if they aren’t obvious.

On top of that, if you have a damp survey early before the damage goes too far, you’ll save large amounts of money that you would’ve spent on treatments. Some problems, like leaky gutters and pipes, are trivial and can be fixed in no time. But if left for too long, they can cause more complicated issues like weak spots in walls and rot.

Lastly, a damp survey can save you from a catastrophic purchase if you’re buying a new property. Imagine buying a house only to find all its timber structures affected by moisture. In this case, you’ll need to fix the issue, paying much more money than you were planning.

Three Stages of a Damp Survey

A damp survey has three main stages that an expert should carry out. Here’s a brief guide to them so that you know what to expect.

Inspection of External Damp Issues

The first step the surveyor will do once they arrive at your place is to inspect external damp issues. To elaborate, they’ll take a look at the exterior of your house and see if there are any problems that can cause moisture, like a gap in the bricks or a faulty roof.

Many dampness issues can be traced back to such problems, and if left for too long without treatment, they can cause dry rot.

Survey of the Damp Problem

If the surveyor detects an issue in your house, they’ll investigate the surrounding area closely for any signs of moisture. As widely known, some types of moisture can penetrate walls and extend through many rooms, while others can rise from the ground up the walls. So it’s essential they take a close look and identify the type.

Misidentifying the type of moisture affecting your house will lead to the wrong treatment. In the end, you’ll have to pay more money to fix the damage. That’s why it’s best you leave the damp survey to a professional.

Summarisation of the Issue in a Report

The last step in a damp survey is to write a detailed report about the issues you have in your house. The surveyor might send it through email or any way you like. Also, they’ll give you a quick update right after they complete the survey. This way, you’ll know what to expect from the report.

Ideally, the survey report should include the identification of the issue in detail, the reason behind it, and the surveyor’s recommended treatments. If the surveyor has a specific treatment in mind, they’ll give you an idea about how much it’ll cost.

Why You Should Hire a Damp Survey Expert

We always recommend you leave these surveys to specialists and experts, and we’ll tell you why.

For one thing, an expert damp surveyor will be able to identify the problem and the reason behind it quickly. Experts are familiar with the three types of dampness, which are rising dampness, penetrating dampness, and condensation. So they won’t guess and give you the wrong theory.

Secondly, experts bring with them specific tools that they use during surveying, like damp meters. If you don’t own these tools, you won’t be able to identify the extent of the problem.

Last, their treatment recommendations are always on point as a result of their experience.

Damp meter

The Contents of a Damp Survey Report

While the exact contents of a damp report can differ from one dampness survey to another, the general idea remains the same. Here’s a brief roundup of the most important points of a report.

Property Assessment

A professional report should involve an assessment of your property, including details about its age and overall condition. Also, if the surveyor notices cracks in your bricks or faulty tilting in your roof, they should include this information to alert you.

Moisture Readings

After the surveyor uses a damp meter to measure the moisture content, they should record the readings on paper and include them in the report. This way, you’ll know the extent of the dampness issue in your house.

Lateral and Rising Dampness

The dampness in your house can be lateral or rising. Lateral dampness means that the water penetrates your wall in a horizontal fashion. Meanwhile, rising dampness moves from the ground up the wall vertically.

An expert surveyor is supposed to take measurements for both types and use them to identify the cause and type of the moisture problem. Then, they should include the numbers and details in the report.


After the surveyor lists all the issues in your house, they should write down their recommendations and the steps you should follow. For instance, they might advise you to remove your wall plaster, remove salts from your walls, and re-fit your electrical socket faceplates. They’ll also recommend the best damp-proof course for your house’s condition.

The Cost of a Damp Survey

The cost of your damp survey will ultimately depend on your house’s size and location. For example, dampness surveyors in populous cities like London charge more than in less crowded cities. Also, the more rooms your place has, the more space the surveyor will have to inspect. So naturally, they’ll charge you more money.

Generally, the average cost for a damp survey of a three-bedroom house is £180-£250. So you can estimate what you’ll have to pay based on this number. But a piece of advice, when hiring a damp surveyor, aim for professionals, even if they cost more money. Beginners might be unable to identify the problem correctly, which might cost you more money in the long run.


Damp surveys are essential if you suspect a moisture problem in your property. When carried out by professionals, they’ll help you identify the problem and the cause and provide recommendations on how to fix it before the damage escalates.

So book a damp-proof survey now and fix your moisture issue before it’s too late!

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