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Discuss Is this residual water dangerous? in the Plumbing Forum area at

  1. Brimble

    Brimble New Member

    Could damp walls resulting from a pretty serious leak be dangerous to the flat below mine later? Let me explain:

    3 weeks ago a leak was identified in my flat. The water was gushing out of a pipe in the water cylinder cupboard pretty seriously, and we’ve no idea how long it had been like that (tenants were on holiday). Obviously we turned off the water, and next day a plumber came to fix the pipe. Visibly there was no damage in my flat, but in the flat below the lady apparently needed to have her hallway ceiling repainted, and her electrics checked. (It’s a leasehold block of flats, so of all of that would normally be managed via the buildings insurance taken out by the managing agent – or at least that’s how it should happen I believe…).

    3 weeks down the line, my hallway now has damp marks – 4 pictures here:

    (Please let me know if the pictures don’t work).

    So I have a few questions:

    · How bad is the problem – can you judge by the photos?

    · Given that the amount of water leaking out was pretty significant, where will it all have gone? Is it all sitting in the ‘crawl space’ between my floor and the flat below’s ceiling? Or must it have drained off elsewhere somehow?

    · Is it dangerous? What is the likelihood that the ceiling of the flat below will suffer future damage resulting from this water, possibly even cave in altogether?

    · With regard to insurance, is it too late now for me to claim my damp walls on the same insurance claim? I believe the managing agent was reluctant to make the claim, saying that the damage to the flat below was only £200 so no point in bothering, but presumably it could end up being a lot more given the above…

    · If I ask the managing agent to claim for my damp walls, and any repairs / water removal resulting, and they refuse (which sounds likely), who will be responsible if there is a bigger problem relating to that water in a few months time?

    · If they agree to make the claim, will the insurance company say that we should have told them 3 weeks ago? (Even though there were no marks on the walls then).

    · What would you do? I have a few options:

    1. I can run a couple of dehumidifiers to see if they dry the walls.

    2. I can pay for a professional tradesman to look at it (a plumber? Or another trade?)

    3. I can request the managing agent to get their insurance to deal with it. (But they are already annoyed with me because the leak happened at all – as though it was my fault! :/ )

    Would welcome any assistance or advice that anyone could provide, nomatter how minimal, and whether from a professional or a homeowner. Many thanks. :)
  2. ShaunCorbs

    ShaunCorbs S. Mod Trusted Plumber GSR Top Contributor!!

    i would see if it drys out, if it does a decent decorator should be able to sort the issues out
  3. Brimble

    Brimble New Member

    But can I be sure that the whole ceiling on the flat below won't suddenly cave in in the meantime? Where does all the water go when such big leaks happen?

    If I do let it dry, how long will it take and how will I know it's drying? Presumably the 'tide marks' won't go away will they?
  4. Riley

    Riley Plumber GSR Top Contributor!!

    Problem is there are a lot of unknowns there that we can’t tell you without eyes on. The water will go to the lowest point it can access we can guarantee that. Now if that’s a space between your two flats or whatever then you’re really going to need a plumber or a specialist leak expert out to assess and make recommendation
  5. Chester

    Chester Member

    Problem is when the insulation gets saturated if Rockwool type (fluffy) and being in a dark cool cavity it can take a while for it to dry out. Dehumidifiers do work quite well but having to draw it out through a ceiling etc will still take a while. I have seen it before where a small patch of mould just keeps coming back.
  6. Murdoch

    Murdoch Active Member

    Not sure I agree with the bit about insulation between walls drying out ... They are unlikely to dry out unless the area gets plenty of heat AND ventilation ... I am commenting from personal experience .. A total strip out then happened.
  7. Chester

    Chester Member

    Yeah I mean ideally a strip out is the best way to go.
  8. justlead1

    justlead1 Trusted Plumber GSR

    Are you in position to lodge facts with insurance company to keep case open to accommodate your concerns. It is also worth remembering that gallons upon gallons of water are used in construction which includes plaster on ceiling etc. They will dry with time and in most cases cause no structural damage, decoration being another issue.
  9. Brimble

    Brimble New Member

    Thanks very much to all who have responded. The managing agent refused to notify the insurance company, but instead (eventually) sent their own maintenance man round to take a look, and he reckons it just needs a repaint (which he will do) and then will be fine. I've emailed the managing agent to basically say on their heads be it - I've notified them, if they say it's fine then it later turns out not to be, it's their problem. Thanks all. :)
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