This isn't DIY as such (although some DIY will be required once work
starts), but your advise and suggestions for options in how best to approach
fixing this problem would be appreciated.
My house is a 100 year old mid-terrace with no foundation (just a few
courses of bricks on to the ground). I assume that the basement *was*
wash-room - it has a sealed up fireplace and *had*
an open drain
(effectively the room was open to the elements). It is about 2/3 underground
and about 6ft 6" high.
About a year ago it was extensively modernised with the intention of
creating extra living space. The coal shoot space was converted in to a
bathroom (shower, toilet+macerator, sink), a space was dug out beyond the
area of the existing basement to create a kitchen, the open drain was walled
up and sealed and the entire space was wired for electrics, plumbing,
central heating etc, carpeted, plasterboarded, smoke & heat-alarmed etc.
Unfortunately, the work was carried out without proper consideration for
damp (it wasn't tanked) and the plaster in the main room and corridor areas,
plus the woodwork in the kitchen are showing indications of the presence of
damp (mould appearing from ground to about 50 cms up). And there's a
persistent dank smell. The mould is popping up in areas where the
plasterboard walls are in contact with the ground, around the window, on
side walls, by the stairs leading to the ground floor - effectively the
moisture seems to be being sucked up from the ground. Further, the builder
chose to paint the original brick walls before fitting the plasterboard with
some sort of tar and then mounted the plasterboard on to horizontally
mounted batons, off the wall.
The kitchen and bathroom walls were covered with plastic cladding which
therefore aren't showing signs of damp, but the MDF carcasses of the units
fitted in the kitchen area are showing signs of mould, again presumably
being sucked up from the ground in which they're in contact. The bathroom
having a tiled floor and usual bathroom-type, non porous fittings, shows no
indication of damp.
I have been advised that the fix to all this is to strip walls and floors
back to bare brick/concrete, have the tar sandblasted off and refinish these
surfaces. A couple of options have been suggested by different people:
1) Tank floor and walls up to a height of about 1 metre throughout and fit a
water-well-type-thing at the lowest point, connected to a pump (this in case
of emergency flooding). Then refinish walls and floors.
2) Have DPC installed around lowest possible point of wall around rooms and
tank floor and very bottom of wall up to level of DPC. Walls could be left
as bear brick or resurfaced, at my choice.
Either way I've been told that the wall surfaces have to be refinished up to
the ceiling, as these must be ripped out so that the tar can be removed
(this is preventing moisture trapped within the bricks from escaping, I'm
told and the horizontal batons onto which the plasterboard is mounted are
prevent air from flowing over the wall, between the bricks and the
I would like to leave the bathroom space be and have been told that it
be OK, but likely would simply need work doing after a few years
anyway (tiles might start to pop up off the floor and suchlike) - not sure
whether to take a chance on this or not.
It all seems such a waste given the otherwise finished state of the space,
but I know that it cannot be used for its intended purpose until the problem
is put right. I just want to keep the cost to the minimum necessary and
avoid ripping out as much as possible.
I know you cannot see the area for yourselves, but from what you've heard
and with whatever experience and knowledge you guys have, what would your
advice and recommendations be?