A Worcester Plastering story of burst pipes!
This is the second cold snap we've had in three months. The Beast from the East brought with it snow and ice and a wind chill that reduced many parts of Worcestershire to near double digit minus figures in the night.
In our profession as professional plasterers in Worcester, we often work with other trades on larger projects: mainly things like renovations, the odd new build, and on some cases larger housing developments too. We have a great list of all sorts of trades that we sometimes ask for advice and just as often provide it too. And gossip this week has been warm from those plumbers we know - who would often shake their heads in a sage like way when we discussed the forecast and comment on how many burst pipes would result.
They had some genuine horror stories too: such as the house that suffered a burst pipe when the home-owners where away on a long holiday, only to return to find the ceiling caved in and the ground floor flooded. Being a relatively isolated farm house in rural Worcestershire, the leak had gone undetected for some time. The only saving grace for the home-owner was that their water was billed on rates, not quantity, so at least the monthly water bill wasn't any more than usual.
For us as plasterers, we are usually second in line for dealing with these problems after the plumber brigade has been in to repair damaged pipework or re-seal broken seals. What is more, we usually are only involved in the more severe leaks, where the home-owner has decided that just letting the plaster dry out is no longer an option and has decided to re-decorate after we re-plaster. One particularly unfortunate story we were involved with involved a flat where the rooms above had leaked through from some pipe damage. I feel a particular sympathy for people in such drenched plight - even though they might have chosen to turn off their water water clocks in a cold spell, they've still fallen victim to someone else's lack of foresight.
But what should you do if your walls and ceilings do get saturated in water from a burst pipe? In some cases, where there isn't much damage, you can leave it to dry and out then paint over the stains with a primer first before adding the paint itself, but in those cases where get involved, the situation is usually too serious for that. Saturated plaster will flake and peal and there is the possibility that mould can take route as well, and the plaster itself might need to be removed to let the brick work behind dry out properly. In many cases where the burst pipe has leaked for any length of time or it is a mains pipe, then the plaster board itself might have to be replaced too.
Often, when we first visit a property to evaluate the work we need to do on the plastering, it is at the request of the home-owner who has been asked by their insurance company to get a reliable quote.
So please don't be offended if we say that we hope not to see you in such circumstances, but rest assured we can help you if you are unfortunate enough to suffer from burst pipes and soaked plaster work.