Dry Rot Treatment and Refurbishment of Hartsdown House, Margate, UK
Built in 1897, Hartsdown House is one of three mansions located in parkland in Margate, all built in a similar style and to a very high standard. The owner of Hartsdown House owned the land between the property and the sea, and could therefore control development, so not to obstruct the view from the house.
All three houses were purchased by the local district council, who, unfortunately, could not afford to maintain the properties. In the case of Hartsdown House, the building was allowed to run down, and, prior to boarding up, the roof was renewed due to severe water ingress.
Unfortunately, water had entered the property prior to boarding up and the building was unable to dry out due to lack of ventilation. This environment led to five separate outbreaks of Dry Rot occurring in the building, resulting in major structural damage from roof line to basement.
In late 2000, the house was purchased at auction by Fire Technology Ltd., a Margate-based company who intend to restore it to its former glory to be used as a Fire Training School.
Stonehouse Property Care of Henley-on-Thames were called in to survey the property prior to purchase. According to Managing Director, Graham Stone, the survey had to be carried out by torchlight, as the windows were boarded up and the electricity was not connected. After supplying a report, specification and quotation for the specialist works, Stonehouse were awarded the contract for the works, which were completed to budget.
Work Carried Out
The first priority was to dry out the structure.
- Repair the vandalised roof.
- Remove boarding from windows.
- Overhaul downpipes and gutters.
- Strip the ivy back.
- Reduce front and side ground levels which had steadily been increased due to the laying of successive layers of tarmac.
- Ventilate, allow the building to “breathe”.
All outbreaks of Dry Rot were traced, and all affected timbers were carefully identified, removed, and replaced with pre-treated softwoods. The wall and timber surfaces were then treated using Safeguard’s “ProBor” range of wood preservatives.
The building had originally been constructed without a physical DPC, and all interior walls had been lined to disguise the effects of rising dampness and salting on the wall structure. Stonehouse assessed the dampness and recommended the use of Dryzone Damp-Proofing Cream which was utilised throughout the building.
The work has now been completed, and has been covered by a long-term guarantee which is protected by insurance provided by Property Guarantee Administration (PGA).