Common defects explained - efflorescence, damp and dry rot

From small and easy-to-fix problems to expensive and time-consuming issues, we see a wide range of defects when carrying out our surveys. Sometimes they're obvious, sometimes they take a little more investigating to find. This is why it’s so important to have a survey carried out before you complete on a property. 

When viewing a house for the first time, you could easily miss some defects. Having a survey carried out by a professional can prevent headaches down the line. 

Let’s look at some common defects and what they mean in the first of our new series of explainers.


We’re starting to see more problems with efflorescence when carrying out surveys. It seems to be a problem that’s gradually becoming more common. Efflorescence is the white salt found on the surface of external and internal walls as a result of issues with damp. The problem is often found on red bricks but can also affect light bricks too. 

Treatment for efflorescence can be as simple as brushing it off with a stiff brush. But the important thing to remember is you need to find what causes the problem in the first place. If there’s an issue with damp elsewhere, it’ll need to be addressed too. 


Damp is something we come across more than almost any other defects. As of 2020, 3.4% of dwellings in the UK have issues with damp. That may not sound like a lot but when you do the maths, it works out at around 800, 000 residential homes with damp issues. 

The severity of the issue when it comes to damp can vary wildly. When damp is found it’s important to deal with the issue quickly and effectively as it can cause further damage as it spreads. 

Dry rot

High humidity and poor ventilation can cause dry rot. Condensation in windows can be an early sign of dry rot. The issue is often found in hidden areas under floorboards or behind walls. It’s caused by fungal spores in timber. This can easily spread when the right amount of moisture is present. 

The sooner dry rot is found the better. It can spread fast and can cause a large amount of damage if it’s left to spread throughout the property. Taking care to properly ventilate your home can prevent the spread of dry rot. 

We’re here to help

Just like anything else in your house, if you’re unsure of something it’s best to seek the advice of a qualified professional. 

A survey from a chartered surveyor can put your mind at ease and give you a clearer picture of the condition of your property. 

We’re always on hand to answer any questions you may have. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you, speak to us today. 

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