Smell and Damp From Victorian Property Hallway


Postby TheGlobetrotter » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:06 pm

Hi,

I'm completely new to DIY and to this forum as well so please bear with me.

My mid-terraced house in North London (built around 1905) has a lovely Victorian hallway with original tiles. Problem is, the section near the front door (about 1sq metre) is very damp (the readings are ridiculous, like 30-40%) and there's a strong smell of mould/must emanating from it that propagates to the rest of the house and sticks on the clothes. The hallway itself is solid (as opposed to suspended), but this particular section I'm talking about sounds hollow when you tap on it, whereas the rest sounds solid. There are also patches that may or may not be due to damp (not sure), but they are definitely only present in this area of the hallway.

There are no leaking pipes anywhere (I got a specialist around who tested the whole house). The front patio (just outside the front door) was redone to a high standard recently. So the only thing I can think of is that the concrete/screed/whatever is underneath the tiles is rotten. An obvious solution would be to pull up the tiles and check but as you can imagine I'm very reluctant to do so. I rang a specialist tiler and he basically said he doesn't want to do it because he wouldn't know what to do once the tiles are removed.

Has anyone ever come across anything like that? Any suggestions whatsoever?

Thanks very much
Andy
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Postby welsh brickie » Fri Jul 22, 2016 7:35 pm

the floor would have to be removed, and dug out insulated and concreted before tiling. A depth of at least 300mm is required for this process.
Or a 40mm,ashphalt floor can be poured on the tiles to stop the damp, but I don't know if you want to go down that road
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Postby TheGlobetrotter » Sat Jul 23, 2016 12:17 pm

Hi welsh brickie,

Thanks for your reply. A couple more questions for you if I may:
1. Who would be the right trader for that job? As I said, the Victorian tiles specialist basically refused to do it (well he resisted so much that I stopped asking). I guess he doesn't want to take responsibility to fix whatever lies beneath the tiles. A normal builder I'm afraid would just rip up the tiles without trying to salvage them so I'd have to re-buy all of them.
2. Any idea of the cost per sqm? Just an order of magnitude would do, obviously I'm not after a precise quote.

Many thanks again
Andy
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Postby welsh brickie » Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:23 am

I would photograph the floor first, measure the tiles for size and see if you can match them. Then measure how many you need.
If the floor is as bad as you say then they should come up quite easily.
The cleaning of them will be harder, To save money you could clean them yourself.
If you cannot clean them then sell them, they are expensive to replace.
The process
the floor must be excavated to a depth of at least 300mm
A layer of crushed stone will be laid and compacted with a machine
Insulation cut and laid on top
A DPM membrane laid
A minimum of 100mm concrete laid on top.
Then a sand & cement screed, laid level ready for the tiles.
The floor then must be allowed to dry naturally which could be 4 weeks
then its ready for tiles.
As for cost I cant comment, its up to easy of access, skip costs, local prices of materials etc
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