Common problems

Explore solutions to the common problems that can affect old buildings. Topics include condensation, wood-boring insects and timber decay.

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Timber wall panelling

This article explains how to deal with timber panelling: from fungal decay to warping, and more.

Cold weather precautions

It’s often possible to take measures to protect old buildings against frost and snow damage – and the cost of doing so can be small compared to the expense of repairs.

Smoky chimneys

Guidance on the causes of, and remedies for, the emission of smoke and fumes from fireplaces into rooms.



The flood risk is increasing – but there are fears that damage to old buildings is being compounded by unsuitable responses promoted by many insurance companies, loss adjusters and contractors.

Wood-boring insects

Beetles can be a threat to old buildings but sound timbers and old woodworm holes are sprayed unnecessarily when a building changes hands.

Chimney maintenance

The chimneys of old buildings need more frequent maintenance than masonry less exposed to the weather but this is often neglected because of difficult access.

Timber-decaying fungi

A holistic approach to fungal decay – wet and dry rot – minimises damage, expense and the use of chemicals. This article explains how to fight an old adversary.


A few simple measures can often successfully restore a delicate moisture balance in old buildings. This article explains how unwelcome wet can be kept at bay.



Rain penetration

Damp is the most common and damaging cause of deterioration affecting old buildings and rain penetration accounts for much of this. Basic preventative measures are often neglected, and problems compounded by misdiagnosis and unsuitable modern treatments.

Rising dampness

The inappropriate installation of damp-proof courses to combat rising dampness accounts for much unnecessary work on old buildings. True rising dampness is rarer than commonly perceived but is regularly misdiagnosed.