Property Index

  • Different type of dampness


    Raising damp: Ground water moving up walls by capillary action into building

    Penetrating damp: water entering the building

    Condensation damp: atmospheric moisture condensing out on cold surfaces

    Traumatic damp: caused by leaks / floods

    Construction moisture: damp caused by building work: wet trades, plaster, mortar, paint etc


    The wall of the property

    Cavity wall: a wall formed of two layers of brick with a space between them, as precaution against penetrating damp; common in buildings since the 1940’s

    Cold bridge: cold spot: specially at corners or concrete lintels / faming.

    Damp proof course: a horizontal barrier in a wall designed to prevent rising damp in solid floors the barrier termed a damp-proof membrane.

    Efflorescence: soluble salts collecting as white crystals on the face of bricks.

    Engineering bricks: dense/ hard bricks (sometimes used as damp-proof course).

    Footings: Foundations (in older properties sometimes formed of stepped courses of bricks).

    Hygroscopic salts: salts that form on contaminated building materials which absorb or attract moisture from the air.

    Perpend: vertical mortar joint / end face of brick or stone.

    Plinth: base of the wall / column (often rendered).

    Quoin: corner junction of brick walls.

    Render: a first layer of plaster or cement on a wall.

    Solid brick wall: external wall built of one layer, usually 9-inch-thick, common in pre-1940s buildings.

    Sleeper wall: wall supporting floor joists (contains gaps for ventilation and so sometimes called a “honeycomb” wall)

    Stucco: renter coating usually painted

    Stud partition: plasterboard on timber frame

    Systems building: non-traditional / prefabrication

    Wall ties: meta straps linking inner and outer leaves of cavity wall

    Weephole: omitting mortar joints at intervals above a damp-proof course to permit a cavity wall to drain



    Dished or settled roof: sagging of roof slope; often as a result of recovering with heavier concrete tiles without additional strengthening

    Fire break wall: Party wall continued up through roof space to prevent spread of fire in linked properties

    Firring pieces: Angled timber to support boarding and provide a self-draining slope on flat roofs

    Flaunching: cement render embedding chimney pots

    Nail fatigue: corrosion of slate fixings allowing slates to slip

    Verge: edge of roof

    Wall plate: timber along the top of a wall carrying rafters or joists



    Borrowed light: glazed panel in interior wall to introduce daylight from adjoining room.

    Crittall: steel framed windows.

    Espagnolette bolts: several bolts locking a door or window from a single handle /lock

    Friction hinge: Holds window ajar.

    Hoper window: small top lights or fanlight hinged on bottom edge.

    Spring action spiral / spring tape balances: modern versions of double hung sash replacing pulleys, cords, and weights

    Throating: drip details on underside edge of cills to prevent rain tracking back

    Transom: horizontal rail in a window frame

    Trickle vent: small adjustable vent in window head to provide background ventilation


    Service of heating and hot water

    Balance flue: combustion gas and air supply sealed from room (ie, from / to exterior via dual flue)

    (combinatiCombi on) boiler: heats the radiators and the domestic hot water in one box; does not need a hot water tank.

    Cylinder stat: thermostat on hot water cylinder

    Lockshield valve: valve on radiator used on installation to balance (set up) the flow of water in the system

    Rendall programmer: dated electronic mechanical timer / programmer for central heating and hot water


    Service to electrics

    Consumer unit: meter, main switch and cut out (fuse / circuit breaker)

    Junction box: covers ends of joints to conductors

    Spur: socket outlet from ring main (fused/illuminated versions)


    Service to drainage

    Bold sown or double seal cover:  second cover for a manhole inside a property to prevent odour and flooding from backing up into the property.

    Cone joint: flexible joint connecting WC flush pipe to back of WC.

    Inspection chambers: manhole allowing access to section of drain particularly where two or more drains meet.

    Rodding eye: point in pipe length were drain rods can be introduced (bolted on in cast iron pipes) Soil stack: takes sewages to drain system; top section continues above roof to vent methane.


    Other technical terms

    Bressemer (breastsummer): large heavy lintel, usually timber (older/ housing /shop fronts)

    Dry riser: duct rinsing in block of flats so which the fire brigade can connect water supplies for hoses on landings

    Floating floor: independence noise reducing overlay on an existing floor

    French drain: shingle filled trench.

    Garshey: waste disposable grinder in sink waste pipes

    Scarf joint: angled joint in wood

    Sempatap: thin foam sheet with fibreglass on one side applied like wallpaper for insulation

     Soffit: underside of stairs, arch, beam, window head etc

    Splay: angle (e.g cut brick, side wall of bay etc)

    Sponge effect: potential for furnishings etc to take up water vapour temporarily

    Tingle: a clip to temporarily secure loose slates

    Upside down roof: thermal insulation laid over (usually existing) flat roof

    U-value: thermal transmittance co-efficient, an indication of the thermal insulation value of an element (e.g. the external walls) limit specified by building regulations




    Expert’s equipment

    Borosccope: allows examination of cavity walls and other voids

    Carbide meter: on site test for free moisture in walls

    Current tester: detects current in wiring

    Fibre optic viewer: allows examination of cavity walls and other voids

    Data loggers / thermohygrometers:  sample temperature and humidity data

    Martindale: electric socket tester

    Protimeter: damp meters: conductance / search mode /deep wall probes provide an indication of the relative dampness of an element


    Written BY Mel Cairns MCIEH

    Source Oxford Dictionary of construction surveying and civil engineering, Oxford University Press 2012

    by: tenancysolved uploaded July 13, 2020