In this blog I’ll explain a bit about what red ash is, how and why it might affect your property value and the options available to make your house saleable.

In some Staffordshire areas such as Stoke on Trent where coal mining used to be so prevalent the use of red ash as infill material in houses is unfortunately a common problem.

Red ash is the term used to cover various types of industrial waste material from Coal Mines, Steelworks, Foundries and Power Stations etc. During and after the Second World War (between 1940 and 1972) when building materials were scarce they used these materials as infill instead of hardcore predominantly because it was extremely cheap or even free waste material from local industry, at the time the problems with this material where not yet known and it was building regulations compliant.

However as time went on it became apparent that there was a problem, some of this waste material contained high levels of sulphate which when allowed to get damp can cause it to expand this unfortunately can cause structural problems to the property. If the infill has remained dry there may not be any visible signs showing but if it has it may become apparent because the floor might have “heaved” or “crowned” cracks may have appeared or skirting boards lifted.

For this reason if your property is in an area where red ash is known to have been used such as Stoke on Trent then a mortgage company may ask for a test to be done before they will lend. This test is conducted by a local professional and consists of taking core samples from the floor material(drilling small holes and taking some of the material out for testing in a lab).

If it’s found to contain red ash more often than not the banks will not offer a mortgage on the property until the problem has been rectified, the only way to fix this problem is to dig out the floors remove all the infill and replace with a new floor that complies with modern regs and has the added benefit of insulation, once this is done and building control have signed the job off the property is considered mortgageable again. Jeffries property buyers frequently purchase property with red ash and the last property we brought with this issue (a 3 bed semi) had quotes ranging from 10k up to 16k to dig out and replace the floors on top of this cost there may well be the cost of replacing fitted kitchens that had to be removed and floorcoverings as well. As a homeowner you may also have to consider where you and your family are going to stay whilst this work takes place.

Once the works complete your property can be sold easily again and banks will once again lend against it allowing buyers to get a mortgage when purchasing should get you full market value and therefore the best price for your property, However if you decide you don’t want to do the work yourself perhaps you don’t want to lose the house you were hoping to buy from the proceeds, or simply don’t want the hassle and mess another option available to you is to sell to a cash buyer, a local cash buyer like Jeffries property buyers does not need a mortgage which allows them to simply adjust the purchase price to reflect the works required and complete the purchase quickly and without fuss so you can get on with your next move and we can organise the remedial works at a later date.

If you’d like to discuss the options for your property please contact us on Telephone: 01785 817113

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