Renevation in an old building

Hi. I am moving to an old building that needs modernising, I am keen t
do it in a simpathetic way and would welcome advice. The house needs complete re-wire, the walls are plastered by lath and plaster, can chase these walls out in order to re-wire and having re-wired can apply a lime plaster over the existing lath and plaster to make goo the wall. Also one of the rooms is converted from an old cowshed, i is below the main house building and suffers from a small amount o damp, the surveyor recommends "tanking" this room, I have read a littl on tanking but would I need to tank the whole room or just the wal suffering the damp problem, can I do this myself or would I be bes employing a tradesman to do this work. Many thanks for any hel
-- David Callister
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David Callister wrote:

this is the place to start: http://www.periodproperty.co.uk/discussion_forum.htm

yes, but dont go deep enough to cut thru the laths. L&P walls also generally mean hollow walls, so it may be easier to thread the wire into the cavity and out wherever you next want it... maybe.

yes. (I assume you know limelite is not lime.)

If youve got L&P walls, what construction is this, wood frame? Tanking old properties is something of a bad idea generally, but tanking wood frame is a no-no. This forum is a great all rounder, with lots of specialist knowledge, but really not the place to ask about damp and old properties. Try the above place for suitably tailored advice.
NT
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> > Tanking old properties is something of a bad idea generally, but tanking wood

Yeah, people are always tanking their houses. Anything other than lime will cause your house to fall down and the occupants to suffocate
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Stuart Noble wrote:

Anyway, its a cowshed. You have to use bits of cow hair combed out at midnight of the new moon, and cow dung gathered only from selected cows that have been driven widdershins round a stone circle and fed on grass nearby.
And without a black cat skeleton in the eaves, you haven't got a chance of it standing more than a fortnight anyway.
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The Natural Philosopher wrote:

You wouldn't be trying to wind someone up by any chance?!? ;-)
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Lobster wrote:

I am just quoting proper traditional methods of building, that every *proper* restoration person should always adhere to to be authentic.
I didn't even insist that you had to be suffering from chronic malnutrition, TB, and have a starving wife and 14 children at home in your hovel either.
Which, according to the best tradition, is how the authentic tradesman of 300 years ago lived..
I mean, if we are going to be serious about period properties, this is all utterly relevant. You can't possibly have a period property without damp, rot, mould, mice, rats, no sanitary facilities or running water, electricity oil or gas...and the necessary effects these would have on the workmen building the place.
Pissing in the plaster was probably a lot quicker - especially after a couple of gallons of cider - than walking half a mile to the well to get a bucket of water.
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David Callister wrote:

Be extremely suspicious of advice you receive from Meow. He is a period property evangelist, not a sane sensible practical engineer.
The first thing you have to do is establishe teh ground rules.
Is this a museum restoration, in which you wish to retain the original structure, warts and all, as much as possible?
Or do you want a restoration that reflects the spirit and character without the problems?
Take the cowshed. Chances are its timber framed on a non DPC'ed brick plinth with very little foundation to it.
You can
1/. Underpin it to stabilise the foundations, stick in a real or injected DPC, dig inside it and lay a proper DPC'ed floor, and then make good any rot in the frame.
2/. Tank the inside of the brick plinth, which will drive the rising moisture outwards. BUT it will reach higher, and unless you put a DPC under the wood frame, it will rot faster this way than it probably is already.
3/. Use a lot of heat and ventilation and porous coverings to control the damp by internal evaporation. And maybe dig a french drain around the outside to channel the water table lower around the building, and lower te problem.
4/. Knock it down and build a cowshed on proper foundations with UFH and full DPC using nice bits of oak frame etc etc. And of course double glazed and fully insulated.
1/. is the best if you have a listed building probably, 4/. is the best if its not. 3/. is the worst, but the most 'purist' museum approach. 2/. is a reasonably cheap bodge that will get you most of what you want for a while.
It's perfectly possible to build a modern house that *looks* just like an old one. And to current building regs to.
It won't *feel* like one though. It will be warm dry and not smell musty, and last longer because the moisture is controlled properly. It won't have steep narrow staircases either, or floors that bounce up and down and are distinctly non flat.
The choice is yours.
Remember cowsheds were cheap building knocked up to put cows in. Not Bijoux Period Residences constructed for comfort and appearance and character.
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David Callister wrote:

You'll be unlikely to be able to chase out slots for cables in lath and plaster wall because almost by definition, if you have lath and plaster walls they are very friable, with the plaster shot and coming away from the laths. You say yours is an old building so almost certainly that'll be the case: make a hole in a l&p wall and almost guaranteed you'll be able to pull off all the plaster with your fingers. You'll certainly find a lot of patching up will be needed.
You might have some success routing cables within the cavity (ie behind the laths) but it's problematical getting through horizontal and vertical timber studwork within the cavity (you might be able to use existing old cable in there to pull it through?
David
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Lobster wrote:

Oh dear. That must be why my old house was full of such..
You say yours is an old building so almost certainly that'll

Yep, old houses need patching yup whether or not you cut channels in the lathm or not.

Indeed. Rip the bloody lot down and put up plasterboard.
If you liked the ripply crumbly rough textured lath, soak the plasterboard first till its like a wet pack of porridge, and put it up like that, and skim it with boning plaster with a bit of sharp sand in it. Use hands to pat the plaster in place. No one will know its not been done by a drunken 17th century tinker.

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It's very easy to get a biased opinion through polling on uk.d-i-y.
You might like to contact the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (http://www.spab.org.uk /). They do reasonably priced weekend courses (recommended), where you will get to meet lots of people at different way-points in building restoration - and presentations from trade professionals - including the opportunity of free brief consultations. Take along photos and material samples from your place. Whilst some elements of SPAB can be excessively purist, you will also find much pragmatic advice.
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