One of the jobs in on our long list of projects for this year is sorting the damp cellar. It’s miserable and really horrible down there. It’s damp, dirty, messy and full of junk.
Last year we insulated the ceiling – which has definitely improved the temperature in the whole house – but that’s all we’ve done down there so far.
We’re not planning to create anything fancy like a man cave or cinema room down there, for us it’s just about doing what’s right for the building and getting everything tidy, safe and dry.
A few of our neighbours have dehumidifiers in their cellars which seem to solve the problem, but our cellar is in a less well maintained state as theirs. Our floor, which we think is the main source of the problem, is about 5 different levels and one of the cellar rooms has a brick floor which is absolutely useless in keeping moisture out.
We’re also not sure if our cellar is more damp than others because we live on a slightly more exposed plot on the corner. I’m sure that most of our problems would be solved just through having a decent floor down there!
As already mentioned, we’re only ever planning on using the cellar for storage so are really only looking for a no-fuss way of solving the problem.
We’ve had a few companies around to give us quotes to fix the problem, but as we’d feared they are very expensive and the suggested solutions vary a lot, too. Sadly our hopes for an easy and affordable solution aren’t looking too good.
So, after a lot of research and having spoken to our builder and a few other professionals, we’ve decided that this is a job that we’re going to carry out ourselves. Yes, it’s ambitious, but at least it’s a project that we can carry out over time. It’s also an area that’s more or less separate to the rest of the house, so hopefully we won’t end up covering the rest of our home with too much dust and dirt.
After all of this moaning about the state of our cellar here’s what we actually have planned.
#1 Sort the floor. This is going to be by far the biggest task in the cellar sorting project. We will have to completely remove all of the current floor, before laying a damp proofing membrane and then a new concrete floor. This is definitely not going to be a quick or easy thing to do, but should sort out most of the problems.
#2 Clean & repair the walls. Before we can even think about damp proofing the walls, we’ll have to remove all of the old flaky paint and build up of 100 year old grime. In general the walls are in a good condution, but we’re expecting to have to repair the mortar in a few areas.
#3 Damp Proofing. There are a few different damp proofing options available and what’s right depends on a lot of things like your property and your damp issues as well as what you actually want to use your finished cellar for.
There are so many options ranging from lowering the floor and covering everything with a damp proofing membrane or covering the walls with a special render right through to applying a coat of waterproofing paint or just putting a dehumidifier down there and hoping that it’ll be enough to remove most moisture.
We’ve decided that the best way to proceed is to start sorting the floor and then reassess the situation. Hopefully most of the damp issues will be resolved, allowing us a to use a simpler damp proofing solution on the walls.
We already think that this project is going to take us months to complete. We’re really keen to get started on it as soon as possible so that we can get most of the really tough manual work out of the way before the warmer weather starts.
Do you have a damp cellar? Do you have any damp proofing tips for us?