We have lived in our Victorian farmhouse for 2 years and the cellar has
always been bone dry.
In the last two weeks it has suddenly started flooding - groundwater flows
into an external sump which then backs up into the cellar. We have blocked
all the major sources of water ingress, but we are now finding water seeping
through joints in the floor which is made of brick sized blocks.
We don't know why this problem has arisen, but is there an effective way to
seal the floor? At present water is pooling on the floor.
The cellar walls are in good condition and water does not seep through them.
In case anybody asks, the sump is not deep enough to permit the installation
of a pump and float switch.
Thanks in advance
I saw a self build on TV, where there was a problem with water filling
an underground habitable room. They solved it by building a sump at the
lowest point and fitting a sump pump to pump it out. The interesting
part was that they laid a new floor on top of the old one. The new
floor comprised a layer of what I can best describe as a plastic roll
material, a little like egg boxes in shape.
The egg boxes raised the floor up away from the water and allowed the
water to freely drain into the sump. The new floor was then laid on top
of the plastic.
We had a similar problem about 15 years ago. No cellar,
but suddenly the two old cottages started to be wet
around the walls. The cottages were on mildly sloping
ground, with a ditch uphill, about 200 yards away.
Turned out that the ditch was overflowing, and a clever
system of land drains that were there to channel any
overflow away from the cottages was in a state of disrepair.
So could it be worth investigating why the water has
suddenly appeared.... something blocked up on the exterior
land somewhere, and/or why that sump isn't draining away?
That's the first thing to do.
Check ditches and gutters and any recent work some neighbour or fly
tipper has done. Have you lost water pressure lately? Does your
chewing-gum lose it's flavour on the bed post overnight?
Always take the nails out of the pipes before repairing the leaks; ditto
for nails in wires before replacing blown fuses.
Then you can start thinking about hitting yourself over the head with a
damp bank manager for the next few decades.
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Thanks everyone - I'll look into the suggested systems - did they work?
Regarding why, I've already checked the mains water supply - no problems
there. We do live in a clay area and the water table can be high - well
above the cellar floor.
The sump itself, which is outside, has a deep drain running from it into the
landdrain system. The latter is OK - I've checked it and it works fine. The
drain from the sump is a bit odd as it is a few inches above the level of
the drain from the cellar to the sump - there is no way that the drain can
remove all the water from the cellar. Anyway, I have reason to believe is it
totally blocked and I know there is no backflow from the drain into the
When we bailed out the sump - it is about 7 feet deep! we could see water
welling up into it from the centre of its floor really quite vigorously -
after heavy rain it keeps our pump going quite steadily!
Anyway, there are two possibilities.
1. The crack is old but for some reason the ground water has risen
recently. I don't believe this personally but I suppose the clay sub-soil
may have cracked allowing a new water path into sump.
2. The sump floor has recently cracked, again perhaps triggered by the dry
I suppose I could try cleaning out the bottom of the sump and putting a new
concrete base in, but I would have thought that the incoming water would
prevent a seal from being formed.
All thoughts are welcome.
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