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Cement Floor in a 180 year old House


M S E Refugee
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M S E Refugee

Our Sandstone Fireplace is damp and crumbling in places, the floor surrounding it is cement, and there is damp were the floor and sandstone meet.

Is there a way to remedy this without taking all of the floor up?

I wish fucking builders that know fuck all about old houses would just leave them alone.

 

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Caravan Monster
17 minutes ago, M S E Refugee said:

Our Sandstone Fireplace is damp and crumbling in places, the floor surrounding it is cement, and there is damp were the floor and sandstone meet.

Is there a way to remedy this without taking all of the floor up?

I wish fucking builders that know fuck all about old houses would just leave them alone.

 

Very common problem, not much you can do short of major work. Older houses worked with very breathable or suspended floors, put a plastic sheet under the floor and moisture will get out wherever it can.

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Chewing Grass

If it was me, I'd bite the bullet, dig the floor up and put a suspended one back in.

Houses that old were never designed for solid floors and all the walls including the chimney will wick moisture with a concrete floor in place especially if the builders chucked a plastic membrane in.

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Caravan Monster

ETA: re limecrete by fireplace Probably not worth doing, doesn't address the source of the problem. It's normally most evident around fireplaces and doors iirc because of the cooler temperatures in openings. It'll be in the walls too, trapped behind the PVA they slapped on the masonry before plastering.

Edited by Caravan Monster
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Bricks & Mortar
47 minutes ago, M S E Refugee said:

Our Sandstone Fireplace is damp and crumbling in places, the floor surrounding it is cement, and there is damp were the floor and sandstone meet.

Is there a way to remedy this without taking all of the floor up?

I wish fucking builders that know fuck all about old houses would just leave them alone.

 

Don't jump into anything prematurely.  The cement floor is a possibe culprit... if it's holding the water down underneath itself and thats making its way out through the sandstone.

But, chimneys are often on extrnal walls.   Any chance the water comes from there?

And the top of the chimney is usually exposed, on the roof, with a big pipe straight to the affected area.

If the damp was coming from an external wall, or down the chimney, I could imagine in wouldn't be able to get out of the sandstone into the concrete, so you'd see the evidence where the sandstone and concrete meet.  Despite the damp source being elsewhere.

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M S E Refugee
3 minutes ago, Caravan Monster said:

Very common problem, not much you can do short of major work. Older houses worked with very breathable or suspended floors, put a plastic sheet under the floor and moisture will get out wherever it can.

I thought as much.

Could we cut away the floor around the fireplace and use something more breathable like Limecrete?

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M S E Refugee
3 minutes ago, Chewing Grass said:

If it was me, I'd bite the bullet, dig the floor up and put a suspended one back in.

Houses that old were never designed for solid floors and all the walls including the chimney will wick moisture with a concrete floor in place especially if the builders chucked a plastic membrane in.

I think the floor may have originally sandstone flags.

We want to take the house back to it's original state and remove all of the gypsum plaster inside the house and also remove the external cement render.

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M S E Refugee
2 minutes ago, Bricks & Mortar said:

Don't jump into anything prematurely.  The cement floor is a possibe culprit... if it's holding the water down underneath itself and thats making its way out through the sandstone.

But, chimneys are often on extrnal walls.   Any chance the water comes from there?

And the top of the chimney is usually exposed, on the roof, with a big pipe straight to the affected area.

If the damp was coming from an external wall, or down the chimney, I could imagine in wouldn't be able to get out of the sandstone into the concrete, so you'd see the evidence where the sandstone and concrete meet.  Despite the damp source being elsewhere.

The fireplace is in the centre of the house with a Log Burner in one room and an open fire in the next room.

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jamanda

Our house is around that age.  We have wooden floors downstairs and concrete floors upstairs.  Plumbers and electricians love us!

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Bobthebuilder
21 hours ago, M S E Refugee said:

We want to take the house back to it's original state and remove all of the gypsum plaster inside the house and also remove the external cement render.

I had all the pebble dash removed on mine and had the bricks restored with new lime mortar. Cost a bloody fortune.

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One percent
3 minutes ago, Bobthebuilder said:

I had all the pebble dash removed on mine and had the bricks restored with new lime mortar. Cost a bloody fortune.

Maybe steer clear of the curries for a while. :)

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21 hours ago, M S E Refugee said:

The fireplace is in the centre of the house with a Log Burner in one room and an open fire in the next room.

That points back to the fireplace / chimney somewhat then. unless the ground is sodden.  Once mortar has broken down it is very effective at carrying moisture a long distance -especially downwards -any signs at all of damp higher up the stack on internal walls?

 

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M S E Refugee
2 minutes ago, onlyme said:

That points back to the fireplace / chimney somewhat then. unless the ground is sodden.  Once mortar has broken down it is very effective at carrying moisture a long distance -especially downwards -any signs at all of damp higher up the stack on internal walls?

 

No problems that I can see further up, it seems dry.

The previous owners had blocked up the chimney so we reopened it to let the air circulate.

We have also knocked off some plaster that was covering some of the Sandstone which has helped.

It just seems to be damp where the floor meets the Sandstone.

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M S E Refugee
32 minutes ago, Bobthebuilder said:

I had all the pebble dash removed on mine and had the bricks restored with new lime mortar. Cost a bloody fortune.

We are having one Wall repointed this year which will cost around £6000,also included in that price is a new Sandstone surround for the window.

For rest of the House I might just go for Lime Bagging which is far cheaper than repointing and cheaper than Lime render.

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Bobthebuilder
2 minutes ago, M S E Refugee said:

We are having one Wall repointed this year which will cost around £6000,also included in that price is a new Sandstone surround for the window.

For rest of the House I might just go for Lime Bagging which is far cheaper than repointing and cheaper than Lime render.

Yeah, it's not cheap but, it looks really good once done.

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1 hour ago, M S E Refugee said:

No problems that I can see further up, it seems dry.

The previous owners had blocked up the chimney so we reopened it to let the air circulate.

We have also knocked off some plaster that was covering some of the Sandstone which has helped.

It just seems to be damp where the floor meets the Sandstone.

Any other walls wet? What is the ground level like round the house - elevated  above wall base height / DPC level )not that there is likely t be a functional one often) anywhere ? Really should be that wet beneath the house. 

Edited by onlyme
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M S E Refugee
17 minutes ago, onlyme said:

Any other walls wet? What is the ground level like round the house - elevated  above wall base height / DPC level )not that there is likely t be a functional one often) anywhere ? Really should be that wet beneath the house. 

Everywhere else is fine, we have dropped the ground level outside the best we could and there's House behind us that is higher than ours.

There is some damp on the walls but that is just from the dot and dab.

 

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On 17/03/2021 at 18:51, M S E Refugee said:

Everywhere else is fine, we have dropped the ground level outside the best we could and there's House behind us that is higher than ours.

There is some damp on the walls but that is just from the dot and dab.

 

Sounds like you are well up on the issue, on slopes it is surprising where groundwater comes to the surface,  absolutely election is not the whole story, all depends on the strata of relative permeable and non permeable soils/rock.

Options I suppose are letting in a damp course into the stonework in the fireplace - chase out and slate preferable I suppose rather than plastic,  or even inject.  Have resorted to the latter in areas with very think rubble filled walls with some success where letting in not just practical, not purist but if it works.

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Repointing is something you can do yourself. If it's lime mortar you can get one of those drill bits that rake it out very easily. 

It takes ages but it's not hard and quite relaxing. I'd wait till at least June though personally..

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