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Possible problem with soak away

(11 Posts)
MichaelFinnigan Sun 23-Feb-14 08:51:10

reposted because it'd be better in here

Long story short we've got a damp patch

I can't see an obvious dpm, there are two courses of brick then the hideous pebbledash starts

House is 1925

So....i need to determine if it is a problem with the soak away, a dpc problem, defective render / pointing / all three

Not sure where to start confused and no £ to get someone in to figure it out for me

Has anyone got any bright ideas or do I just put it down to insane amount of rain and hope it buggers off come summer

StanHouseMuir Sun 23-Feb-14 09:06:10

Is the drainpipe blocked? During heavy rain check to see if the guttering is overflowing and the rain is running down the side of the house.

MichaelFinnigan Sun 23-Feb-14 09:31:21

No it's not overflowing, and there's no staining or algae on the wall

The damp patch is low, at ground level. I think it's a lower down problem

PigletJohn Sun 23-Feb-14 10:41:56

Is it a concrete floor?

Is it in a kitchen?

Are you on clay soil?

Are you in a place that was industrial or a large city in 1940?

I'd there a "manhole cover" near the wet?

Does the downpipe go into concrete?

MichaelFinnigan Sun 23-Feb-14 14:06:47

No, wooden floor. It's the front wall which is a sitting room. Chalky soil. No manhole nearby. The down pipe diss spears into the ground. There is concrete around it, sort of a square collar, not a large expanse, the rest is a flower bed.. Not industrial, quite rural, was probs all fields until the 20s

PigletJohn Sun 23-Feb-14 14:27:19

as it's a wooden floor, take up the floorboards and have a look underneath. If there is any plumbing or radiator pipes, there might be a leak. Much more likely, it will not be the soakaway itself (you might have combined drainage where the downpipe connects to a drain). If the downpipe is iron it will be rusted by now and possibly leaking. Usually round the back where painters don't bother. Go out with an umbrella and torch on a rainy day and look. A wet patch next to a downpipe gives a strong implication that the downpipe is at fault, but water may also be running down the outside of the pipe if it is blocked. Does it have an open shoe on the bottom and a gulley?

Otherwise, the iron pipe will have been led into salt-glazed earthenware below ground. This cracks and has to be dug out and renewed. The concrete surround is often done to cover up a leak. Dig around it, leave the hole open. See if the ground is unusually wet or if the hole fills with water when the gutter is running. If you see red worms they indicate a leaky drain.

MichaelFinnigan Sun 23-Feb-14 15:30:41

Thank you piglet john, it's a plastic down pipe. It'd be a major hassle to take up the floorboards as there's a built in cupboard over the ends of them

No plumbing over that side of the room

When the gale stops I'll go out for a dig around and see what I can see

BrownSauceSandwich Sun 23-Feb-14 16:06:29

When you look outside, make sure you can see your air bricks. If you can't, chances are some bugger has raised the ground level outside: a pretty common error when paving driveways, paths and patios. For one thing, it leaves your subfloor with inadequate ventilation, and for another, it can raise the "bounce zone" for rain to above the level of the damp proof course.

MichaelFinnigan Sun 23-Feb-14 16:46:52

air bricks are all present and correct

SimLondon Mon 24-Feb-14 08:19:12

A damp inspection shouldn't cost very much. But why do you think it's the soakaway? If you have the leeching cesspool / soakaway system I'm thinking of then it would be a bit further from the house and look like a patch of sunken ground with a couple of manhole covers and a pipe coming out.

AngieM2 Tue 25-Feb-14 03:32:03

May not be relevant as ive not had time to read all this but ours is an 1890 victorian house. Our insurer covered us. They arranged investigations who insisted our problem was due to a soakaway and they wouldn't cover repair costs. I succesfully argued that I had never heard of a soakaway, had no idea where it was and was not an irresponsible homeowner who had not maintained my property. I also so that they had happily insured my 1890 house and taken my premiums so therefore they should pay.

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