I live in a stone house, built around 1880 as a slaughterhouse, but
rennovated in 1993 into a house. I've had all kinds of damp problems,
many of which I've fixed. I live in the High Peak and the house is built
using local stone.
What I've yet to get to grips wtih is water coming in above the windows.
The arrangement on the outside is a stone lintel supported by stone
bricks. On the inside the walls are plastered and, usually, a piece of
plasterboard has been put in at the top (presumably to square it all off).
Virtually all the windows have some kind of water penetration and some
have it at the sides too, and not just at the top (during heavy
prolonged rain, water actually drips at the top of the kitchen window).
Has anybody any experience of water problems with stone houses? What
kind of solution have you found?
I think cavity wall as for brick was invented decades into the last
century so you are right. However stone does have cavities but not for
the same reason.
Slaughterhouses have no windows. It sounds like a botched job to me.
Get us some photos. And get a friend to help you remove a window and
then get us a description of what you found (and photos again.)
Before you do any dismantling check that the lintles are adequate, as
a stone wall could collapse if you remove a large unsupported section.
I hope I have not frightenend you off. The remedy is simple and
straightforeward, just daunting. (And possibly strenuous.)
Free photo sites such a msn groups can be set up quite easily, then
post a link to it here.
Not so. My parent's house has partly cavity walls and it was built around
1890. The walls change construction all the way up.
Lower ground floor: Single outer skin, cavity, double inner skin.
Upper ground: Triple brick solid.
2nd/3rd floor: Double brick solid.
Inside you can actually see where the construction changes, because on the
stairs, there will be a useful full length shelf between floor levels, or a
less than neatly rendered "ramp". The exterior of the house shows no sign,
except the deepness of the window frames.
The house is built on a steepish slope such that the back door is on the
lower ground floor, with steps down to the ground level, whilst the front
door is on the upper ground floor level with the street. I presume the
cavity wall was required to ensure lack of damp in the lower ground floor,
which is a proper full height floor, not a cellar, despite being buried at
the front. There is an additional cellar underneath! It appears that the
Victorian builders saw no point in the cavity above rising damp level.
Presumably they hadn't invented cavity insulation by then. The house is
essentially dry throughout, except for occasional guttering or roofing
I dont know what the odds are, but certainly Victorian cavity walls
are well known. Half inch cavity was common a century plus ago. Also
ratbond brickwork was in use, which is a cavity type of wall.
I know a lot of us have been led to believe there were no Victorian
cavity walls, but in reality they were quite common.
From the chaotic regions of the Cryptosphere, John Armstrong
Possibly rubble-filled walls? If so, then a cavity tray should have
been installed over if the windows were installed as part of the
As an aside, I have seen Victorian or Edwardian houses in Southport
"You know, I'd rather see this on TV,
Not directly, but analysing the construction/problem a little more
might help you.
Does the water come across the top of the lintel? Around the frame?
Some other route?
If the sone lintel is set notionally flush with the wall's face but
actually protrudes a little you can imagine water coming down the face
hitting the lintel and seeping into cracks in the mortar across its
top, and then running through to the inside of the house. Either
dressing some lead from the course of bricks above or just a good dose
of frame sealant might help this one.
If the lintel's 'underside' from the face of the house to the face of
the window frame provides a slight slope from high to low then water
will tend to cling to this surface and run to the joints between the
house and window frame. Adding a drip strip made from a bead of
builders silicone might help this. Like this (F is window frame, b is
bead of mastic)...
Do any of those sound useful or consistent with what you can see?
This construction generally relies on initial weather resistance of
the stone face and pointing, thickness of the walls, and any moisture
that gets through to the inside is evaporated from the bare surface
due to internal heat.
The wall may be OK under normal rain periods, but the weather
resistance fails under prolonged rain as the wall is "overwelmed" by
Common problems are that
the stone becomes more permeable due to age
the mortar pointing breaks down and becomes permeable
cracks appear in the wall
the internal surface is obstructed thus denying evaporation.
Friable stone should be cut out and replaced, defective mortar
re-pointed and the whole wall given a few coats of good water repelant
(Thompsons etc. Point up any obvious cracks.
Also check and seal with silicone mastic at the frame/head/reveal
junction - this is a common source of direct water penetration
Internal wall coatings (ie plaster and paper such as blown vinyl) may
hamper evaporation, so consider a more permeable cover.
Hi, I've had exactly the same problem. Also in the Peak Nat Park and with a
stone house with windows set in just like yours. I've found that the
original windows, from hundreds of years ago when the house was built, don't
leak. But the windows that have been added since, leak in the way you've
described. Water drips down from the top of the frame mainly, but I can't
easily put something to catch it as it drips onto the bottom of the frame -
just have to put up with wet carpets. There was some cracked pointing above
some of the windows, and fixing that seemed to help a bit, but otherwise
I've been told by the family who converted the bit of the house that used to
be the barn, that the lintels were put in wrongly and cheaply, and need
redoing. Can't afford to do that unfortunately. I'd love to know another
answer to this.
If your windows are a more recent addition, wouldn't they be covered by
building regs? Though obviously it depends how recently the windows were
Incidentally, my walls are about 2ft thick, constructed from 2 layers with
rubble and junk and bits of plastic sheeting between. Very strange.
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