DIY Doctor

saturated wall

Postby charl4ravioli » Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:13 pm

my house is the first in a row of terraced houses that 'climb' our steep hill. therfore my neighbours ground floor is approx. 5ft above my ground floor.......their neighbours approx 5ft above them etc. my house is different from the others in that the frontage is set approx. 10ft infront of the rest of the houses. my neighbours have paved areas infront of their houses which extend to meet with the front of mine. i guess they did it like this to be pleasing to the eye.
my problem lies in the earth under the stone slabs in my adjacent neighbours paved area! They haven't sealed between the slabs(i guess to allow any rainwater to drain away)......
my cellar of course is underground and the earth from my neighbours is approx. 5ft up my kitchen wall. if we have bad rainfall it takes less than an hour for the water to run down through the neighbours paved area, and through the kitchen wall.....the floor boards against that wall are saturated and now rotten. Any plaster to the 'wall to earth' wall has blown off. It's just the old render on the brick wall. The connecting front wall is also affected with all metal brackets/fittings now rusted. Externally the corner stones have large dark wet patches....spreading too.
It's obvious that the water that drains through the slabs next door would soak through the earth and into my 'buried' kitchen could never go anywhere else.
What on earth do I do?
A trench dug to reveal my buried wall?....a retaining wall to hold my neighbours earth? Some kind of drain? If i did a retaining wall, could my neighbours flag over the 'gap'.....nothing would appear different to them BUT my wall would be breathing and drying out....
Anyone who is able to offer any ideas or comments on my problem......your help is much appreciated.
P.S Does anyone know if it's my responsibility to keep my house wall away from their 'earth' OR is it their responsibility to keep their 'earth' off my house wall.....
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Simply Build It

Postby stoneyboy » Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:08 pm

You have a real nightmare of a problem.
The most economic solution I can suggest is to get a membrane and pump system installed against the common wall with your neighbour.
Have a look at the project "lining damp walls"
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Postby bd3cc » Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:03 pm

Has something they have done altered the situation, as i am sure that whatever the age of the property, it would not have been designed to flood, because if that were the case every house up the terrace would have the same problem to a greater/lesser extent.
Get either a specialist damp co., or a surveyor on the case.
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Postby jemball » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:06 am

I'm a civil engineer, but I have encountered what is called a 'drained cavity' system where water ingress is difficult to stop. A 2-4 inch channel is built against the existing wall and incoming water directed into the channel. The channel then runs into a drain which outfalls outside the property. A thin partition wall is built in front of the channel to hide it. So you could lose up to 8 inches from your kitchen. However, I don't like the idea of the existing wall remaining damp for any length of time.

You could tank the inside of the wall up to above the outside path with asphalt or equivalent coating, but the water could then pool on the outside and find another way in, and you still have the problem of a damp wall inside the tanking.

I would guess that the wall originally had a coating of waterproof render which has now failed in places, so the best solution unfortunately would be to expose the outside of the wall and re waterproof it.

This would involve party wall issues and you need to check if you need a party wall surveyor. Also, can you claim on your house insurance?

Hope this helps,

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