Take a regularly flooded cellar, mix with woodworm infested timbers, add in an attack of Masonry bees, crumbling brickwork and rot â€“ and what do you get? A house that is quite literally falling down. In short, a catastrophe. But thank goodness for online downloads, otherwise I would have missed the first episode of this new Channel 4 programme.
The couple, who brought the featured Grade II listed Bakehouse, must be the unluckiest couple I have ever seen! Every homeowner’s worst nightmare in terms of woodworm, rot and damp damage â€“ they had it all! Oh, and a new one for me, an attack of Masonry bees?! Who would think that these bees prefer to nest in the masonry of walls, and over time it could cause huge structural damage?
Until I saw this new programme I had never seen the devastating affects that a serious woodworm infestation can have on a home. I have now been educated and it is absolutely no exaggeration when people say it literally could lead to the collapse of the building.
Did you know:
- That the Death Watch Beetle is one of the most destructive of all wood damaging insects?
- And that they prefer hardwood oak and elm to softer woods?
- And that it takes 10 years for these bugs to eat their way out of the timber, leaving behind their tell tale â€˜escape holes’?
- And that if a piece of wood has a moisture content higher than 16% it is more susceptible to a woodworm attack?
Where there is Death Watch Beetle there is often fungal decay i.e. wet rot or dry rot due to the hard wood being softened by the decay making it easier for the larva to eat the timber. Scary stuff!!! (Who knows, perhaps one day you will come across these questions in a trivial pursuit game)
Like the owners, believing that crumbling walls add to the charm of the property is something I would agree with too. My first thought would not be that it could lead to potential penetrating damp problems â€“ far too un-romantic viewpoint for my liking! And yet, serious defects in outside brickwork and pointing could mean your house is no longer watertight and at risk of major damp problems. Eeeek!
Next: an indoor well. That is a turn up for the books, but apparently a great necessity for bakehouses in the 17th century (the things you can learn from TV)! However romantic the notion of having your own well is, I would suggest having seen the programme, to opt for one in the grounds of your property, preferably as far away as possible from the main house! This was causing major rising damp problems. If you do happen to have an indoor well in your basement, then you really should invest in some damp proofing, also recommended on the programme.
I will be watching the next episode to see what other interesting facts I can find out! Catch it on Channel 4 online if you miss out, apparently the next episode features rat problems too – double whammy!