TI's big fat renovation

Broken into after posting on PropertyPin?

Suspicious :nin

Yes power what do you recommend?

I hope youre not suggesting anything illegal?

Guard dog hire: yelp.ie/biz/alert-guard-dog-hire-inchicore
no idea if they’re still operating…

This is an issue that was called out in the original survey so we knew all about it but it is interesting to see the root cause.

The damp survey by the damp store who I can highly reccomend: dampstore.ie/ identifyed this corner of the house as having damp from the ground almost to the top of the building. the problem was made worse by a cement render on the brick outside preventing any moisture from leaving the wall and the path outside the wall being built up to high causing rising damp and there was a shower above that was leaking water.

You can see rom the pic below that the joists are all rotten where they go into the wall, Some have evidence of a repair so the previous owners tried to (badly) address the problem. The mortar was almost gone from sections and brickwork collapsed when it was stripped back. You can see that the ceiling is being propped up to prevent it collapsing. The surrounding brick is wet to the touch and there has been so much moisture put into the wall that it had no where to go causing rot from the ground floor right up to the joists holding on the roof.

In many ways with the renovation we are doing it is an easy problem to fix. We have already lowered the path outside, removed the render, we will be injecting s silicone DPC, the source of water has been removed, much of the brick and timber will be replaced and the rest sprayed and treated with a fungicide and in the interim the brick and wood is drying out. The unaffected 125 year old timbers are in fabulous condition.

It would be a nightmare problem to “discover” or sort out without this level of stripping back.

This problem was not caused by rising damp. Absolutely no chance. Rising damp can only rise to a height of 1.5m.

This problem has been caused either by the leaking shower or a leak at gutter level getting behind the cement render. Cement render is disastrous.

The problem can be easily fixed, but there is absolutely no way that I’d buy a period house that had been extensively repaired with cement render. A little bit can be ok, but large amounts of it destroy the way the house moderates moisture and leads to all kinds of problems.

Maybe I wasn’t explicitly clear above.

It was a combination of all of these problems, Rising Damp, Cement Render, Path too high, a Water leak and the moisture level caused by up to 18 people living & cooking in the house (bedsits) with no adequate ventilation. The biggest source of water was a leaking shower that was located on top of the floor that was being propped up. The shower was pouring water into the wall and floor on the 2nd floor. This was the major source of the water leak and what essentially soaked the brick.

This source of water has now been removed.

Sorry, reading is a hurry. The layout seems a bit odd with the doorway from the dining room to the return? Was this a later addition or original?

The house was converted into 12 bedsits Pre1963 and yes many doorways were added. So that door from the return into the Dining room is not original. We will be restoring the original layout.

Thanks. Great project.

I’d agree. The cement render is just on this one corner of the house and it extends just to the first floor which is in a side courtyard. I assume this was an attempt to “fix” the damp problem inside the house affecting this corner. It only made the problem worse. In the process of applying the render they also blocked up two air vents XX

We have removed the render which as expected dammaged the brick. Our plan is to replace it with a lime render and obviously fix all of the other problems.

Thankfully it’s only a small part of the house that is affected. The rest has no damp issues.

Maybe by bringing the external ground level up to the floor or above the damp course? (Even old houses usually had a couple of courses of very dense bricks just above ground level, usually purplish blue, that were fired at higher temperatures and were less porous, which served as a damp course.)

Interesting post TI, hope you can keep them coming throughout the project.

Yes, houses of this age tend not to have a DPC but often have a course of bricks that were fired hotter than the others. More glassy less pourus I assume. Houses like this rely on the airflow under a ventilated floor and the air outside to dry the brick as water rises from the ground up. By building up the hieght of the path you reduce the ability of the brick to breathe and or also bridge over the DPC allowing water to easily rise by capillary action.

In our house because the path was built up it blocked the under floor air vents stopping any under floor ventilation and allowed water to rise higher in the wall. The previous owners for good measure also added a 40cm cement plinth around the base of the brick. God only know why but this meant that water had to rise up the brick by about 60cm from the original level before it met any air. With inevitable consequences. It’s all fixed now.

You could almost hear the house sigh with relief. It was like it was holding its breath for the last 60 years.

MOAR pics!

This is an example of damp in one of the units prior to renovation.
It is caused by rising damp from the ground which I already mentioned above but it is also made worse by someone living and cooking here for years. The single pane windows always develop condensation and the unit had no ventilation. You will also note that the previous owners cemented in the space for the weights for Sash windows. These were cut out yesterday and new double glazed sashes will be going back in. See my compulsive obsessive post re sash windows here: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=61513

This will eventually be part of the master bedroom, you can see the “dry” brick in the rest of the house and the old “Strip and Lath” plastering.

Part of the kitchen where our cooker will go. We plan to clean and expose the brick.

Another showing the strip out, this is part of the return which will eventually form two bedrooms and a family bathroom.

In many late Victorian houses and cottages the DPC was often a layer of tarred felt. It worked ok. The ground level outside should be at least 150mm below the DPC.

I might buy you one of these.


Our builder has provided us with security (two of the builders lads sleep there every night) at our cost (we’re paying something like 100 quid a night or so). Not overly happy about this since we’re also pushing the budget (don’t you always) but there’s valuable stuff on site now, like sanitaryware and stuff and the builder explained that once the kitchen arrives they’ll do away with that in 10 min and by the time the alarm goes off and we go to the site they’ll be long gone with all our stuff. Also the builder explained that his insurance might not neccesarily cover him if he doesn’t prove that the site was sufficiently protected. All in all and since he’s given us a couple of discounts in other items we felt that we kind of had to go with it…

Any more detail on the “rising damp” problems, how they were treated, what it cost? Is “rising damp” the same (or even appear the same to the naked eye) as “dry rot”?