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Breathing Walls and Damp Proofing Walls - What to do!

Postby realslyshady » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:55 pm

Hi everyone. I hope you can help, because I feel like I'm losing my mind. My wife and I have just bought a 3-storey semi-detached Victorian house in need of total renovation. We knew it needed the works, and it does. Rewiring, replumbing, repointing, everything. Fine. But I'm going crazy trying to navigate all the advice on damp proofing walls vs. breathing walls. Two lots of builders came round today to quote for the work, and both insisted that we should point with concrete outside, and tank the walls inside before lining with insulated plasterboard. Mentioned tanking to a friend of mine with a similar property and he said not to do it under any circumstances — which is the same advice I've had on another forum. Everything I've read and learned says to use lime mortar and encourage moisture to evaporate naturally from the walls, but these builders today are from reputable local firms. Is there anyone here who understands walls better than me?

Some key info:
* Walls have previously been pointed in concrete, which is now shattered and cracked everywhere, top to bottom. Rain water is clearly penetrating.
* There have been longterm damp issues inside, with old plaster crumbling to fingertips.
* Timberwork in the dampest corner is shot, but everywhere else in the house is fine. Only poor condition in contact with the wall.
* There's a bone-dry void beneath the ground floor. Actually posting something different about that on the flooring forum...

My feeling is to hack out the concrete, repoint in lime, and keep the building as ventilated as possible. But the confidence of these guys today has me very uncertain. All advice welcome please folks. Thanks!
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