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Old Cellar help please

(13 Posts)
SnuffleGruntSnorter Sat 26-Mar-16 09:54:23

We have a large unused cellar in a very old property. The floor is original but has been patched and repaired over centuries and is very uneven. It's slightly damp but dry as far as cellars go.

As we have a tiny kitchen above we'd like to put the washer and drier down in the cellar. Plumber is happy as all pipework runs through the cellar anyway so an easy job from that perspective. However he said putting the washing machine on the uneven floor will be very noisy and will damage the machine. He recommends putting a concrete plinth down to make it even. I think putting concrete over the old floor is a bad idea for many reasons (!) but am not sure what to suggest as an alternative. Has anyone else been in a similar situation? Anyone got any experience or bright ideas?

PigletJohn Sat 26-Mar-16 12:17:04

A more thorough job is to dig out the old floor, and lay a new one. This can include increasing the headroom, adding a DPM and insulation. It will cost more.

Even if you just want a small flat area for your appliances and walking area, it would be better to dig out the old floor. If you cast a thin concrete plinth on a broken, cracked or uneven patch it is more likely to crack.

Don't put a wooden floor in a damp cellar.

Remember you will need good ventilation with a throughflow of air to help control damp.

MonsterClaws Sat 26-Mar-16 12:25:29

Well piglet john whilst you have your cellar head on I wonder whether you would share your thoughts on this.

Biggish cellar, back has a door and window and is pretty dry. The front has no floor or window and has flakey damp looking white paint but isn't that damp. It had a wood floor which was rotten in patches but now that is up the floor is dry.

Anyway we want to use both spaces so do we need to tank front to turn it into a gym or could we add a window then tile floor/wall - or are both stupid ideas?!?

We have heat and electrics down there put it all needs serious upgrading... Can't face digging it out as ceilings are ok height wise

SnuffleGruntSnorter Sat 26-Mar-16 12:58:03

Thanks so much PJ! I should have mentioned it's listed so removing the floor is probably not going to be he way forwards, although I do appreciate this would be the most efficient solution. There's loads of head room down there though luckily.

PigletJohn Sat 26-Mar-16 14:44:20

cellars will seem dry if the amount of moisture that is removed by ventilation equals the amount that comes in through the floor and walls.

If you want it to be habitable, you will need to ventilate it well, preferably with airbricks front, back and sides of the house so that there will always be a draught. It will be dry but not warm. You may find that metal objects go rusty. Do not put cupboards on the external walls, or boxes on the floor, as damp will be trapped behind or under them. Truly waterproofing a basement is difficult and expensive, modern thinking has moved to having false walls and floors with a drained damp space behind them, and pumps to remove the water under the drained floor.

wowfudge Sat 26-Mar-16 15:42:16

If you aren't going to increase the head height, that does away with one of the major costs and means you don't need to look at underpinning the foundations or related party wall issues. Full tanking and pumps which kick in if required were what was recommended to us when we looked into it.

Qwebec Sat 26-Mar-16 23:43:28

If it is not possible to repair/restore your floor you could make a platform for your WD. I really hope you can do something as it seems a bit a shame to leave the concrete like this.

TheDrsDocMartens Sun 27-Mar-16 08:14:50

snuffle we lifted the floor in our listed building and re-laid the same tiles. Filled the gaps/broken bits with reclaimed ones.
If it's listed then concrete won't be allowed either surely.

MonsterClaws Sun 27-Mar-16 11:28:22

Thanks piglet john,

Yeah our front is properly dry as we have a cardboard box on the floor and it's has been there for years with no issues other than cobwebssmile the other section I think ventilation and a false wall might be all that is needed. Sounds cheapersmile

StillCalendula Sun 27-Mar-16 16:50:57

Hos uneven is the floor? Most washing machines have screw feet that you can individually adjust. Ours can be adjusted by about 5cm.

SnuffleGruntSnorter Sun 27-Mar-16 17:18:00

I'm off to check the feet! Thank you!!

SnuffleGruntSnorter Sun 27-Mar-16 17:26:59

Calendula I could kiss you, it does indeed have unscrewy feet! So next step is probably going to find a new plumber who knows this and doesn't want to put concrete over the precious but scruffy old floor!

StillCalendula Sun 27-Mar-16 17:41:33

Snuffle: great! Remember to use a spirit level across the top of the machine in both directions to make sure it is properly level. Adjusting is a bit of a pain, but worth it.

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