Q. My builder uses fairy liquid mixed in his mortar as a cheaper alternative to mortar plasticizer and says that its just as good but cheaper. Is this true?
A. Untrue, any washing up liquid used will contain undesirable contents such as salt which will corrode metal ties and could result in efflorescence.

Q. After a period of frost some of the surface of my external brickwork is flaking off, is there a way of painting on silicon waterproofer to prevent any further flaking?
A. No, whatever manufacturers claims, waterproofs clear compounds are at the very best ineffective, either cut out and replace damaged bricks to comply with BS3921 or consult a proffessional who will advise on appropriate external finishes.

Q. I have used a local building firm to re-point my house and now the pointing has started to crack, they have used a sand/cement mix of four parts sand and one part cement is this right?
A. If the pointing has started to crack it would seem that the mortar mix is too rich in cement. A more ideal mortar mix would be six one one, sand, cemet and lime.

Q. My house is rendered externally and cracks have started to appear, in the past i have used textured paint but after a while the cracks re-appear, what is the solution?
A. You need to hack off the offending render in the affected areas to investigate exactly what is happening, if there is cracking in the brickwork beneath this will need to be primed with a SBR bonding solution and reinforced with expanded metal lathing prior to re-rendering.

Q. My house is pebbledashed externally with cracks and blisters starting to appear, i am now concerned that chunks are now starting to fall off, what should i do?
A. The affected areas should be hacked off but if the damage is widespread then it would make more sense to remove all of the pebbledash and start again. Call in the experts.

Q. I live in an old property where the floor level in parts in 2ft below the outside ground level, at some time a reverse osmosis electrical plug in type electrical damp proof course has bee installed, dampness is still apparent, is this a con?
A. Over the years, several types of electrical plug in type damp proofing systems have been produced, some of these have been independently tested and found to have no effect whatsoever on the moisture content in the walls even some of them carried a 30 year guarantee. There are remedys available, call in the experts for advice.

Q. There are black marks appearing on my bedroom ceilings and walls, i called in a local so called damp/preservation expert and he said that i needed a full damp proof course quoting in excess of three thousand pounds, is this correct?
A. It is unlikely to be rising damp as dampness is not inclined to rise much above one metre from the damp proof course level, it could be either a problem with the roof resulting in raining in, or more likely to be condensation which is a result of warm damp air, ie moisture, condensing on a cold surface feeding a black mould growth which is growing on the ceiling and walls. A simple cure in cold weather is to keep the heating on with the temperature turned down on the boiler to provide a constant gentle heat with plenty of ventilation.

Q. My lounge ceiling is finished with artex, what can i do to acheive a plain finish which i can easilly paint?
A. Remove as much of the artex finish as possible by scraping or purchase a readily available artex removing compound, http://www.ecosolutions.co.uk always remember to wear a mask as artex can contain asbestos fibres, then treat the surface with a strong SBR solution and re-plaster. A job for the experts.