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WWYD Water in the Cellar

(17 Posts)
Kabex Wed 23-Aug-17 14:27:18

We are considering bidding on a house but are being put of by issues with the building, like resting water in the cellar. It's about 20cm deep and the ladder down is very rotten so we assume it has been there for a long time. No one can tell us for how long or if they ever found the source but our estate agent suggested it might be the deepest cellar in the area so all of the water collects here or that there had been a leakage from the building next door. There are 4 other people who have already delivered offers and we have a deadline of tomorrow at 12pm for final bids.
What would you do?
Do you think this is a deal breaker. Considering the costs to fix it - we have heard talk of 30-50000 - does this seem reasonable?
There is also a crack in the chimney and the roof is a flat roof made of cement so we consider that that may need changed in a few years.
The plus points are that it is a AAA location, great space and the asking price is low

Kursk Wed 23-Aug-17 14:34:24

I would go for it. As a temporary fix you could build a sump in one corner with a sump pump on a float switch, that will be cheap and keep the water out

Kabex Wed 23-Aug-17 14:53:33

Thanks Kursk I'll have a look at that, have you experience doing something similar? How likely do you think that the building's foundations will have been affected by the sitting water?

Kabex Wed 23-Aug-17 17:19:07

Anyone any ideas tonight?

JT05 Wed 23-Aug-17 17:27:24

We bought a Victorian terraced house that was built on an old cress farm. It had water ponding, after heavy rain, in the deep cellar. Previous owners had tried to put damp courses in, with no effect.
We tanked it, lining with cement and then put in a sump to take away any thing left. It did the trick.

wowfudge Wed 23-Aug-17 17:35:40

How old is the house?

Kabex Wed 23-Aug-17 17:42:42

Very helpful JT05, thanks.

It was built in 1906 wowfudge

Out2pasture Wed 23-Aug-17 17:44:59

You need to know the source of the water, underground creeks are not easily diverted erode the foundation and will ultimately lead to the house being condemned (where I live).
If it's a detached house, worse case scenario will involve digging a trench all the way around the house all the way to the base of the foundation to repair install what is referred to here as drain tiles. All landscaping will be affected....well lots as the dirt dug up needs to be piled as work is underway.
Attached home....nightmare repair, piecemeal at best. Always a possibility it will reoccur.
The smell of damp creeping mold will be a problem if not addressed fully.
You need proper surveys
Health wise I wouldn't do it
I've had this problem myself it was life changing.

Kursk Wed 23-Aug-17 18:06:51

We have the set up that I discribed in our basement. It's unlikely to effect the foundations as they are likely to be permanently saturated by the groundwater

BewareOfTheToddler Wed 23-Aug-17 18:27:44

You definitely need to know where the water is coming from before exchanging contracts, but it might not be an insurmountable problem.

My sister had this on a house they bought, 1930s semi. You have an advantage over them because a) you know about the leak and b) you know about the cellar their surveyor was clearly not on the ball.

In their case, the water turned out to be coming from a leaking drain or pipe, not sure which but in the road. It was quite expensive to fix, I've got £2-3k in mind but could have been more. Definitely four figures rather than five, though. No idea if it affected the neighbouring semi as well. There were no signs of a problem beyond the actual water - no mould/damp in the actual house.

Bluntness100 Wed 23-Aug-17 18:31:58

Ours is damp in winter, no resting water as such, maybe some in the corners. Depends what you wish to use it for. We have some pallets in there and store stuff on top of the pallets. No issues from structural survey except bizzarely to say it wasn't fit for human habitation due to damp. Because yes we were thinking of keeping a human in the cellar...

Bluntness100 Wed 23-Aug-17 18:34:37

Sorry, looking at what people have posted, yes you need a proper survey. Go for it then if the survey throws up and issue either pull out or negotiate price based on severity. We've no issue with mould or damp in the house, no impact on foundations, no issue other than prob best not to lay stuff directly on the floor of it.

FunSpunge Wed 23-Aug-17 19:16:58

We're in the process of buying a house with standing water in the cellar. There is a pump in the cellar to pump the water out but from what I can gather it's never switched on hmm
I have marked it on the form sent back to the solicitor for their attention and I have also made my surveyor aware.
at some point we will be going back with a builder to see how much of a problem it is

PigletJohn Wed 23-Aug-17 20:05:32

the water co, or an old plumber with a good nose, can tell where it is coming from. Sewage contains soap residue, gutters leaves, fresh from the mains is chlorinated.

you need to know where it is coming from before you can decide what to do about it.

Old clay drainpipes are usually cracked and broken.

Old lead and iron water pipes usually leak.

I have actually never come across a groundwater problem, but you can test the water table by digging a deep hole in the garden and seeing if it fills with water. I've seen underground streams.

PigletJohn Wed 23-Aug-17 20:07:34


my neighbour's cellar was re-floored with concrete but is a bit damp. It floods in spring tides.

Designer321 Wed 23-Aug-17 21:18:01

Hi Kabex,

Read your post with interest regarding the water in the cellar of the house you are planning to buy. I would suggest the problem in almost certainly the water table level. The water table is the height in the sub-soil at which you would find water naturally, for example if you were digging a well. If the floor of the cellar is lower than the level of the water table then water will be penetrating both up through the floor and through the walls. Generally this problem can be overcome by what is known as 'tanking; The tanking has to be carried out by a specialist and the remedial work should come with a guarantee. Without knowing the m2 areas of the floor and walls it is difficult to advise what the job would cost but I would suggest £3k to £5k. The cracked chimney probably just needs re-pointing, the flat roof again needs to be dealt with by a specialist and is best overlaid with modern glass fibre. Really hope that's helpful and best of luck with your decision.

Kabex Thu 24-Aug-17 09:14:29

Thank you for your stories and advice, we sat and discussed all eventualities we could think of last night and got the opinions and go ahead from our families so we are making an offer this morning. Just waiting on the estate agent writing it up for us then we will hear before the weekend what the outcome is.
Designer321, you are right the house is quite a bit below the water level and all that you have written seems like really good practical advice so thank you very much, I really appreciate that.

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