Our 1930's semi has a bay front (single bay spanning upstairs and
downstairs). The soffits extend past the bay (so its not a flat roofed
When we moved in, we noticed that the wall paper around the upstairs bay was
coming off. I suspected this may be due to damp. What I'm wondering is
what the constuction is of upstairs bays. I assume that the downstairs one
is a standard cavity wall (like the rest of the house) - but the upstairs
one is a bit of an unknown for me. Other houses in the street have rendered
bays, tiled bays etc - whereas the front of our house is stone clad (ewww!).
I suspect though that whatever construction it is - its a single thickness -
ie. no cavity and therefore possibly more susceptible to damp.
So - is there anything I can do to reduce any damp problems when
re-papering? Can I paint something on to stop it (I'm just after something
to stop the paper coming off as we've not noticed there being any other
problems with it)?
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I have a similar 1930's semi with a square bay and as you suspect the
lower bay is a cavity wall, but the upper is a single skin. You should
be able to tell for sure by looking at the thickness of the upstairs
wall below the window.
Mine is rendered and apart from the plaster being cracked in the bay
(it's actually pretty bad throughout that room, but not so bad it
needs replacing) I don't have a damp problem. Many of the other houses
in the street have had theirs tiled, which is probably the one sure
way of ensuring that water can't get through, although it must add to
Although you can get interior damp-proofing treatments (or gloss
paint) that stop residual dampness affecting decoration, if the source
of the damp has not been fixed, then you will just seal the problem
into the plaster, which could make it worse.
SBR latex polymer is probably a more efficient sealer than gloss paint.
Unless the water is entering at one specific point I reckon it can get out
the way it came in, throiugh the masonry. In my case I think the mortar and
plaster are acting as a wick, and lining paper is just an extension of that.
Shorten the wick and, hopefully, you reduce the amount of water. Sealing the
inside is always a bit of a gamble but attending to it from the outside may
not be possible.
I'm doing some experiments on my gable end wall at the moment so we'll see
how the latex stands up to the next lot of driving rain.
From what I can see, there's no obvious problem with the plaster etc (its a
little crazed/cracked - but then is most of the plaster in that room and its
very old plaster!) and the only sign I had that there may be a 'damp'
problem is just that the wallpaper had peeled away in places (especially
behind the radiator). Can't see any other sign of damp on the bay.
I'll be keeping an eye on it over the wet months, and possibly putting a
resistance meter onto that wall and see if its damp. Any idea of the normal
resistance one would expect? I tried it this morning on a few plaster walls
and they all were infinite resistance (well, my meter showed nothing!).
If I used a something like this "SBR latex polymer" - would wallpaper paste
have any difficulty in sticking to it? I tried wall-papering onto a
semi-glossy (more of a sheen) painted wall before and it was a pain to get
it to stick. Could this also have a similar effect? Incidentally, where
would I locate some of this wonder-stuff?
Actually that sounds quite normal - wallpaper is quite hard to press
down behind radiators (I find it to be anyway), so that could explain
the lifting there. In other places, perhaps it just wasn't well hung!
I would imagine that damp would show itself by staining the wallpaper
and/or plaster, so you may yet be OK. A good look at the state of the
outside should also give you a good idea of whether anything is
"Colin Swan" <colin AT nildram DOT net> wrote in message
Well, the 3 other walls were pretty much well stuck (there were some loose
patches that looked okay until we tried stripping it and then we realised it
wasn't well stuck and was probably already lifted).
The radiator was fitted after the wallpaper as the bracket was screwed
through the paper. The corners of the bay (either side of the radiator)
were also peeling off - so it may be that its was like the other parts of
the walls that had lifted, but because its on an internal corner, it showed
I'm not 100% sure its a damp problem, but with it being a single skinned
wall, I was maybe expecting it. My only concern is to make sure that the
lining paper we put up before painting DOES stick well and doesn't come off.
Maybe I'll try something like PVA glue or something! I remember reading
about someone trying to strip off a border stuck down with PVA and it being
a pain - maybe that would be less susceptible to damp once its stuck,
whereas paste is turns back to goop when it gets wet, hence peeling.
Better to just lay the palm of your hand on the wall. Try it on a dry bit
first and you'll soon feel the difference if it's damp. I've never found
meters very reliable.
It would have a similar effect but this is because the plaster isn't sucking
the paste. Nice and easy to slide the paper about and, when it dries, it's a
far better bond.
SBR you can get from most builders merchants but it's for sealing damp. In
your case PVA would do as well and is a lot cheaper.
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