We hadn't thought we would be doing this straight away, but because of all this damp, we are tackling the kitchen head on.
Under the terracotta tiles, which are nice in principle, but only laid up to the appliances and not fitting well at the edges, is chipboard.
The chipboard is wet in places, and totally rotten under the sink.
The damp patches we could see, even without taking the tiles off, are under where the cooker stood. They are also under the fridge, which is on the other side of the room.
All the walls are dry-lined, and we wonder how bad the damp is behind. It also turns out that the stopcock we were looking for a couple of days ago is behind the dry lining.
We had a visit from M&S Water Services, asking them for a quote to renew the water mains. It turned out that their surveyor had been in this house about 7 years ago, before it was all dry-lined. He seemed very certain that the stopcock was next to the window in the kitchen, but now hidden behind all this plasterboard.
He has already come back with a quote and I think we will be going ahead. A new water mains should increase the water pressure in the kitchen. This also means we will have a greater choice of boiler systems we can put in.
But back to the damp - the cause appears to be water ingress from the ground level outside the kitchen, which is higher than the inner floor level. The dining room lies even lower than the kitchen, - here the difference is about 30cm.
We are in phone contact with a company in Shropshire, which advises on how to tackle this without all the Damp Proof Course non-solutions, but we yet have to schedule a visit with them.
The idea is to lift the blue pavers on the path and dig the back of the kitchen out, then put some other form of drainage in.
Anyway, we are taking out the kitchen. My other half started hacking the tiles off, and I took out the bottom units of the fitted kitchen, which was built around the chimney breast. The wall under that bit looked surprisingly sound!