UKTC Archive

RE: Dampness caused by trees

Subject: RE: Dampness caused by trees
From: Howe, Ron
Date: Jan 02 2007 11:26:56
Jerry,

Just a few random thoughts on this topic.

Is the damp actually inside the building?

My response is usually that this is not specifically a tree problem. Damp is 
constantly present during the winter, so why does it not affect other parts 
of the building? Most likely cause if there is damp inside the building is 
that the integrity of the building is flawed!

Mostly the issue is related to moss and lichen growing on the outside of the 
building, paving and roof, and this can be attributed to many other factors 
as well, such as poor air flow, the building itself and the rotation to the 
compass points, as well as other vegetation obstructing sunlight. Lots of 
roofs have moss even where there are no trees and many paved areas not 
affected by trees can tend to be greasy. Trees are usually the easiest thing 
to blame.

All that a side trees can be responsible for shading, poor air flow etc., but 
they do not 'cause' the damp. Don't forget the ability of the trees canopy to 
intercept rain and soak up moisture.

Moss on roof tiles is a complicated situation associated with the correct 
conditions being present ... not too much sun and some shading conducive to 
the right percentage of moisture being present and, the right tiles that trap 
airborne dust.

Damp inside buildings is again caused by poor ventilation and poor heating. 
most of the moisture is produced by our own breathing and becomes trapped in 
a property at night when we have all the windows shut. We warm our houses and 
the warm air holds more moisture. As the air cools the moisture condenses and 
runs off of smooth surfaces and especially windows, which cool much faster 
than the surrounding air. Modern house are worse and houses with open fires 
are better because of the air flows are better.

ron ...

-----Original Message-----
From: Jerry Ross [mailto:trees@xxxxxxxxxx.co.uk]
Sent: Tue, 02 January 2007 10:51
To: UK Tree Care
Subject: Dampness caused by trees


How do others respond to the complaint that 'this tree is making the 
wall of my house damp?'
How much effect does wind-sheltering and light-shading (let's say by a 
biggish evergreen) really have on a building?
Does it actually result in penetrating damp?
How can it be demonstrated that a tree does or does not cause dampness 
without the practical (but rather final) experiment of felling it?
Has anyone carried out that experiment and if so, with what results?

And, is there any literature on the subject?
(Anyone know if the BRE book "Understanding dampness" would justify its 
£42.50 cover price, or is it all about bridged cavities and blocked 
airbricks?)

Jerry R


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