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"Preserving the past for our future"


Please use this glossary of terms as an aid when reading the inspection report.

Air Vent (brick)

A perforated block or grille built into a wall for ventilation.

Anobium punctatum (Common Furniture Beetle)

The larvae of this beetle are often referred to as wood-worm.  It is the most prevalent wood boring insect found in buildings in Britain. Attacking a wide range of timbers, most notably the sapwood of softwoods.  It also occurs out of doors in dead wood on trees, in fences etc. The adult beetle is dark brown in colour and approximately 2.5-5.0mm in length.  The adult usually emerges from infested timber in June and July leaving a tell-tale exit hole of 1-2mm diameter and lives, without feeding for some 3-4 weeks.  During this time the female lays eggs in cracks or on the rough surface of timbers, which hatch into larvae in 2-4 weeks.  The larvae feed within the timber for 3-5 years before pupation and emergence as adult beetles.


Metal bead attached to outside wall, and then rendered over to form a lip to deflect surface rain water away from the damp-proof course.

Chemical Damp-proof Course

A form of damp-proof course introduced into a wall by injecting or diffusing a liquid or slurry into the structure to form a continuous barrier.


Water droplets which are often found on cold surfaces, such as walls and window panes.  When warm damp air comes into contact with a cold surface, it is cooled down so that it can no longer hold as much moisture and so deposits some of this as water on the cold surface.  The conditions associated with condensation often result in superficial mould growths on decorated surfaces in poorly ventilated areas.  They can also lead to timber becoming damp enough to support rot.

Coniophora puteana (Wet Rot)

Rot occurring, in wet wood in very damp situations - both indoors and outdoors.  Timber usually tends to crack longitudinally and is darkened, becoming dark brown to black in colour.  A number of basidiomycetes can cause wet rot to occur, the most common being Coniophora puteana.

Damp-proof Course

A continuous waterproof barrier in a wall designed to prevent moisture from the ground entering the fabric of a building.

Damp-proof Membrane

A continuous waterproof layer which prevents moisture from rising through a solid floor.


A machine which removes moisture from the atmosphere.  


Powdery white salts, sometimes hygroscopic, left on a wall surface as it dries out.  Found on new brick/plaster work and after the treatment of moisture ingress.

Euophryum confine (wood boring Weevil)

One of two common wood destroying weevils, the other being pentarthrum buttoni, associated with damp decayed timber.  The adults are reddish brown to black in colour and 2-5mm in length.  The adults exhibit a characteristic odour.


The attraction and absorption of moisture from the atmosphere.  

Hygroscopic Salts

Moisture attracting salts commonly found in damp walls or walls which have suffered from dampness.  

Hylotrupes bajulus (House Longhorn Beetle)

Internationally, this is one of the most widely distributed and destructive insect pests of seasoned timber. Fortunately, in the UK, its occurrence is restricted.  The adult female beetle is up to 25mm in length, and is greyish brown to black in colour.  The larvae live within the timber for 2-10 years, the adults emerging through oval exit holes approximately 8mm wide, during the period from July to September.


A timber which supports floorboards and ceilings.  

Lateral Moisture Penetration

Water which penetrates through the side of a wall.  


The vegetative non-sporing growth of a fungus.  


Chemical reaction between layers of material.  Moisture penetration and thermal effect causes expansion and splitting of layers.


A sand and cement render at the base of a structural wall, covering from the floor up to three brick courses.  


Instrument for measuring the levels of dampness present in brickwork and plaster etc.


A timber which runs horizontally in a roof, resting on the principal rafters and giving support to the common rafters.  


Inclined timbers which give the shape to a roof, and provide support to the battens and covering of the roof i.e.; slates, tiles etc.

Rising Dampness

Moisture rising within a permeable wall structure resulting from the water travelling up capillary paths from the ground.  Internally, rising dampness invariably results in the breakdown of plaster and decorations.

Serpula lacrymans (Dry Rot)

A wood rotting Basidiomycete.  The affected timber is darkened and cracked into characteristic cubes.  This fungus attacks damp timber, and is particularly destructive due to its ability to penetrate masonry and brickwork etc., in search of timber.

Sleeper Wall

Wall providing intermediate support for a suspended ground floor.

Specialist Replastering

This is necessary where the existing plaster or render has been damaged or has degraded, due to dampness.  It is customary that the walls be allowed a period of drying time before the precise need for this is assessed, unless the damage is evident.  To allow a wall to dry following treatment, as a rule of thumb, at least one calendar month per inch thickness of walls should suffice.  The use of a dehumidifier can speed up this process, details upon request.  Our standard specification for this re-plastering is enclosed, as relevant.


A single celled reproductive unit of fungi etc.  


The spore bearing or fruiting structure of fungi.  

Tanalised Timber

Timber that has been pressure treated to guard against the effects of insect attack and fungal decay.  


Term applied to the prevention of lateral moisture penetration of water.


A horizontal timber resting in or on a wall, and carrying floor or roof timbers.  


The generic term under which all wood boring insects are known.  

Xestobium rufovillosum (Death Watch Beetle)

The larvae of this beetle attack mainly hardwoods, with a preference for timbers which have been partly decayed by fungi.  The larvae feed in the timber for up to 10 years before pupating and emerging as adult insects in the spring, leaving exit holes of approximately 2mm diameter. Adult beetles are 5-7mm in length, dark chocolate brown in colour with yellow patches, and tend to be slow moving.


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