It’s amazing, the power of kindness.
This week, out of absolutely nowhere, we appeared in EIGHT separate regional newspapers, all because we helped someone out online, a lady whose home was absolutely riddled with damp and mould. The story which originally ran in the Plymouth Herald told of a single mother, down on her luck, living with her young children in a home that was riddled with damp.
Let us tell you the story so far…….
We are the one of the few exterior wall coating and damp proofing companies to have an active role on Social media, with our Twitter page and our Facebook account. And unlike many of our competitors, who simply view the platforms as somewhere to post advertisements, we engage and interact with people all the time and no, not to sell them stuff.
We were alerted to a story of a local woman with very bad mould growing in her home, and soon as we saw the pictures, and what type of mould it was, we stepped into action to alert the woman how serious it was, as you can see from this photo of the actual mould in her house.
We had no other motive, apart from offering help and expert advice. The lady is a tenant, and we only deal with home-owners, so it wasn’t us going after a sale, we offered advice purely out of being professional and wanting to help a fellow human in need, and that is it.
The free advice we gave could help save the health of the woman’s family.
We knew immediately that this type of mould was probably Stachybotrys chartarum, a deadly strain of mould which if left unchecked, can cause serious health problems. As a damp proofing company since the 1980’s, we have seen this issue before, however this was one of the worst cases of damp we had ever seen.
We approached the lady on Facebook and said.
……….. my company would gladly offer you a free survey of your house, no charge at all. Whether your landlord would actually dip their hand in their pocket is another matter. As a parent, and a grandparent of 2 adorable little girls, to see your kids suffer like this horrifies me. I cannot stress enough how dangerous the mould is………..
The Herald newspaper saw our comment and a journalist contacted us, with the view of writing an article about it, which is what initially happened.
In the mean time we stayed on the Facebook post about the damp house and we were horrified with some of the public’s less than helpful comments….
The responses from the public were less than helpful
It seems everyone online suddenly becomes an expert on a topic when it suits them, and I am sure if you are on social media you will have seen evidence of this all over the internet, but the advice that was being dished out was dangerous and we had to step in.
It was very evident that the general public may be a bit flippant about mould and it’s ill effects on health as we read comments from the public to “cure” this terrible mould with responses such as…..
It’s condensation Damp, nothing to do with failed render or water ingress…
Always someone else’s problem, wipe it off as soon as it appears ( looks like that’s not been wiped at all ) with anti Mould solution which you can pick up in most supermarkets, DIY shops AND ventilate, open windows or put them on the vent bit. Sorry you had to use some of your own money but then the majority of us have to as well
WRONG (AND SARCASTIC TOO)
…….You just need to open your windows more often…..
IF MOULD WAS THAT EASY TO GET RID OF, WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING FOR A JOB SINCE 1986?
99% of these issues are ventilation. Trickle vents would solve it. Its the time of year. Coming in with wet coats, closing windows to keep warm and turning heating up. Condensation. What difference would re-render and weather proof paint do when there is a cavity.
WRONG AGAIN, AND HER HOUSE HAS SOLID WALLS, NOT CAVITY
so i was told, by my landlord and by council – that i had to keep windows cracked or fully open 12 hours a day, every day through the year especially in winter and have the heating on at the same time. i was told to bleach the areas (when no kids on the house or animals) which are affected, and to wipe down all the windows every single day of moisture. i was also told i had to buy multiple dehumidifiers and keep the fan on in the bathroom 24/7. now i know a lot of it is rubbish but because ours got SO bad, i followed every single bit of advice. my heating bill for a month was something like £400 so i told the landlord it was impossible and i needed a new boiler and they told me that i was never told to do that with the heating or the windows etc.
I then stopped and 2 months later they told me to do it again. when I moved out THEY CHARGED ME for clearing the mould. it was ridiculous!!! so happy I moved! (note i actually spent an entire 33 hours – I counted – cleaning and bleaching and sorting the mould out the week before I left)
I’M GLAD I DON’T HAVE HER LANDLORD…..
…and then we had this rather weird response
At the end of the day if you get mould then clean it , if it comes back you clean it not wait until it’s eaten your house and you now think your in an episode of stranger things in the upside-down world , remember there is always Barry Scott ready to help . BANG ! and the mould was gone
……and so it went on, with many people telling the woman to simply open her windows and stop drying clothes on radiators!!!!!
That will cure damp and mould will it?
So what advice about damp and mould did I offer the newspaper?
Although I cannot and will not copy and paste the entire article as that would be unfair to the journalist who wrote it, but basically I said that……
“First and foremost, damp, especially in an extreme case such as this, cannot be fixed quickly or cheaply.
“It is evident that work is needed to the property by the owners. Sadly, with our current housing crisis, cases like this are in the news each and every week and prosecutions against bad landlords are rare.” (C) Plymouth Herald.
We went on to point out a few myths such as the fact that if you have damp and mould, household bleach will NOT cure it, in fact as it contains water as well as bleach, it will actually make the problem worse.
We said in no uncertain terms that the remedy would be quite major as the problem had been left to become a very bad problem. The exterior would need re-rendering and a good coat of weatherproof paint applied. Then internally the plaster would have to be taken off, the walls allowed to dry out, and then it would need re-plastering.
We also pointed out that the main cause of the damp and mould in her home was neglect by the landlord of the property, something we were unable to highlight fully as the landlord refused to answer our questions and to be honest as the lady is not one of our customers we had to tread lightly as I am sure you can understand.
I don’t think the landlords of the property were happy that their name and their bad practices were splashed across eight major regional newspapers!
It is an uncomfortable truth that if you do not look after your house, it will not look after YOU.
All to common we come across properties with cracks, flaky paint, mould, windows covered in condensation, rotten fascia boards, and so on and you wonder what planet some of these people are on?
If your house is worth something like a quarter of a million pounds, do you really object to forking out a few hundred quid more now and again, to keep it clean and looking nice???!!!
So what other newspapers picked up on this story?
As the Plymouth Herald is part of group of papers (including the Daily Mirror), some stories are pooled around other titles, and that is what happened in our case, both online and in print.
Great! Free advertising, without even trying! LOL! I am so glad we were able to offer advice that people can really relate to, and act upon, as after all, having a mouldy home is no joke.
It may well be that the story will appear elsewhere so if and when it does, we will update this article.
Never Paint Again: Britain’s mould experts
We are pleased to be finally recognised by the media as experts in our field and hopefully, if your home suffers from damp, your first point of contact will be ourselves, after all if your home has damp and mould, who are you going to trust, a registered and professional damp proofing contractor, or some armchair warrior on Facebook?