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A conservatory, like all parts of a property, are designed to withstand damp. Yet, as with other parts of the home, damp can become a problem over time.
One of the places damp is most often identified in a conservatory, is where it meets the house. In this article, we explain how to find the cause of the penetrating damp and how to fix the issue.
The point where your conservatory joins to the rest of the property is the most common place you will find damp.
If this is the case, it is likely the result of a failure in the lead flashing.
Lead flashing is the material on the conservatory roof that seals it to the main structure of the house. If the flashing fails, water ingress can easily occur. This could result in water entering your conservatory.
If this does occur, the most appropriate fix is to replace the flashing completely. But, before you do anything, it is important to precisely locate the exact cause of the damp.
Finding the Cause of the Conservatory Damp
A conservatory is a combination off various parts, all of which have the potential to leak and cause damp.
Generally, a conservatory is constructed from an aluminium frame. Sitting between this frame are glazing panels. The panels are either glass or polycarbonate. These are usually held in position by plastic caps. and it is also possible that there is internal conservatory insulation installed. Any of these elements can be susceptible to leaks.
Also, they provide guttering for removing any excess water that runs off the conservatory roof. But just like the guttering on your home this can fail and cause damp issues.
Finally, they tend to offer very good ventilation. This is key to preventing condensation, but it is not guaranteed, and high levels of humidity could still lead to condensation damp.
With all that said, the area where your conservatory meets your home, is still the main place that problems will occur. It is here, where leaks are most likely. This is why the roof is the most common source of leaks in conservatories.
Leaks in the Center of a Conservatory Roof
Although leaks are more commonly found around the edges, you may also suffer with leaks in the centre of your conservatory roof.
There are several potential causes of leaks that appear in the centre. Glazing panels can slip or crack. Problems can also be cause by a lifted ridge cap or failed sealant.
Most of these issues are straightforward to rectify. As it is quite easy to replace and reposition any of these necessary elements. However, you should bear in mind, that any work on a conservatory roof can be hazardous. If in doubt you should consider hiring a professional builder to help with the repairs.
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Certain types of conservatory roof are more likely to develop leaks over time. For example, glass and polycarbonate roof conservatories. Also, older conservatories will need more maintenance over time to keep them leak-free.
What to Do if the Leak is Where the Conservatory Meets the House
A leak found at the point where the conservatory joins the house can be a cause for concern. People will worry about internal damage that could occur to the house itself.
If left untreated, damp will only ever get worse. This can create even more problems as it spreads from the conservatory into the main property.
As we have mentioned previously, the most common reasons for damp where the house and conservatory meet are usually easy to spot. For example, roof panels might have slipped. Sealant that has deteriorated over time, both of which can lead to problems. But, failing or badly fitted flashing, is by far the most common cause.
Unfortunately, if this is the case, there is only one real solution. You will need to reinstall new lead flashing.
Installing new Lead Flashing
If you do need to install new lead flashing, it is likely you will need the help of a professional, as this is a skilled job. With that said, it may be achievable by a competent DIY enthusiast and some online video tutorials.
Just bear in mind, a poor job could make the problem worse. Again, if in doubt, hire in a professional.
Lead flashing will be available for reasonable prices at all major DIY retailers. It comes in rolls, ranging from 3 to 10 metres.
As well as measuring up to see how much you need, you should also look at the width and density of the existing flashing. The thicker the material, the more robust and protective it will be. If there are sections that are flat, the thickest option will be best. You will also need sealant and strong adhesive to bond the lead sheets in place.
The first step is to remove the mortar between the external brickwork and take out the old flashing. You will need to chisel out additional mortar to fit the new flashing. The area you chisel out will need to be a depth of about 25mm. As you will need to ensure there is enough room to fit the lead flashing sheet.
Next, roll the sheet across the top of your conservatory roof. Slide the top of the flashing into the gap in the mortar. If the lines look straight, you can fill the gap back in with new mortar. This will set the flashing into the brickwork.
Ideally it is best to do this on a dry day so there are no problems with the new mortar setting.