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Drain problems - root and soil ingress?

(10 Posts)
GrendelsMum Sat 09-Nov-13 12:48:07

Bit of background - we live in an old, listed, timber frame house, with original brick flooring in some areas.

We have been having various long term drain problems, including kitchen drain getting blocked and twice needing unblocking. After a particularly heavy storm, we found water rising up through the brick flooring in one room.

Advice from SPAB is that there's probably a problem with our drains, so that water is coming off the roof and not being carried away via the drainpipes to the storm drains. They suspect rain is flooding into the soil and hence rising up through the flooring.

I have taken a look at where the downpipes go into the underground pipes (not sure what this junction is technically called) and can see that the part of the pipe I could see was full of soil and roots.

What do we need to do? Do the whole lot need digging up and replacing? What's the cost of that sort of work? Is there a short / medium term fix?
And who do we get to do this kind of work?

Any advice very much appreciated!

AgentProvocateur Sat 09-Nov-13 13:22:52

Oh dear. We've had similar. Your first port of call is Dynarod (or similar). They can clear the blockage. But you'll still be left with a longer term problem. In an old house, the pipes are often clay, with hairline cracks that allow roots in. We will get ours replaced in the next couple of years as out waste water is starting to run slowly now.

After our blockage, we took out drain cover with Scottish Gas (nothing like bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted!) This could be an option for you, but you can't call them out until you've had cover for 30 days.

I think we'll get a recommended builder to replace the pipes when the time comes.

GrendelsMum Sat 09-Nov-13 15:21:24

Thanks AP - good tip about the drain cover.

PigletJohn Sat 09-Nov-13 16:31:10

if soil and roots are getting into your drains, they are cracked and broken. Like any pipe, they are supposed to be sealed and wateright. I expect you have old clay pipes, which usually break in time, especially on clay soils which move about.

It is sometimes possible to reline drains, but much more likely they need to be dug up and relaid. The sooner the better, because unless your house is built on rock, the leaking water will turn the surrounding soil to mud and wash it away, leaving a hole under your floors and foundations. In old houses especially it can also wash away lime mortar between the bricks. You might have a subsidence insurance claim, which will prop up the house but not cover the cost of drain repair.

If you have plenty of manholes it will be easier to look. Drain specialists use a CCTV camera and poke it down the drain.

GrendelsMum Sun 10-Nov-13 17:24:47

Thanks PigletJohn - you've confirmed my fears.

We do have plenty of manholes at least.

What should my next step be? Contact Dynarod or similar to get a drain survey as a next move? or look to get 3 quotes for replacing the drains?

PigletJohn Sun 10-Nov-13 19:00:07

I've had a CCTV survey but only done minor replacements at broken bends and gullies. With clay pipes, you dig up one, and find the next one is broken. And repeat. There are companies who specialise in drain replacements, or most builders could do it if they wanted, or will know someone who can. I think I'd start by finding some people willing and able. Ask around for recommendations.

Alwayscheerful Sun 10-Nov-13 19:03:35

I am assuming its a "ground works" contractor that you need, and yes as PJ says, recommendation is best.

GrendelsMum Sun 10-Nov-13 20:27:01

Thanks - much appreciated!

bunchoffives Mon 11-Nov-13 00:06:04

I claimed for this on my house insurance. I thought the very hard winter had frozen standing water in the drain and split it. Turned out it was an old clay affair whose time had come. It was relined with plastic.

Contractors were appointed by the insurance company and glad to say never contradicted my original belief in the ice cracking the drain, so insurance coughed fortunately as it was £££s. Just sayin.

GrendelsMum Mon 11-Nov-13 12:07:53

oh, interesting! Perhaps worth talking to the insurance co then?

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