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Walls have small signs of rising damp. Wicking planting to draw moisture away instead?

 
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Not sure that this is the right place for this, but and idea I'm exploring.

I'm in a stone built house, without foundations, almost definitely without damp proofing (house build UK circa 1860). Internal walls are showing some salt deposits and a bit of flaking paint on the plaster, just in a couple of spots. It could be just salts drawing out of the stone work, and I'm brushing it down and watching what happens. But given the flaky paints too, and the lack of DPC, I wonder if there is a moisture issue.

If my layman diagnosis is right, adding soil directly around the house is only going to make the issue significantly worse, but I wondered if anyone has implemented a system around their house, that is intended to draw moisture away from walls, and put it to better use? If there is moisture that has potential to cause issue with the structure of the building, could there be a solution that doesn't involve injecting chemical DPC into the wall or ££££...

Apologies if in the wrong forum.
 
pollinator
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It's probably a good idea to do some research into digging a trench around the house, filling it with gravel. to soak the water away. Ensure the trench floor is sloped away from the house. especially if the soil has a high clay content.
You'll need to research this to see if it works for you, but most times damp in walls can be dealt with by this method or even just lowering the soil level outside.
It's pretty cheap if you have the time. A bigbag 1x1x1 meter (or yard) of gravel is not so expensive.


 
pollinator
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The site has a lot to do with your situation. If you're at the bottom of a clay hollow, you're in a different bind than if you're at the top of a sandy ridge.

What is the rain like there? Where is your ground water?

Water wants a place to go (downhill) if it's going to move. You can provide sandy channels or gravel to direct surface and ground water, but it still needs somewhere (downhill) to go to.


Regards,
Rufus
 
pollinator
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Have a look at 'french drains', basically digging a trench around the outside of the house (carefully though, if you have no foundations! and only shallow!). In ours (1900 house, so not as old- but the same in that we're built directly on top of the clay and have no dpc) we put down perforated plastic pipe that ran to a drain, with largeish gravel on top.

Also is the interior lime or gypsum plaster? We found gypsum and the tiniest bit of moisture or condensation caused all the paint to flake off and the plaster to bubble. Proper old school lime plaster survived floods though, with no problems.
 
Mj Lacey
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Charli Wilson wrote:Have a look at 'french drains', basically digging a trench around the outside of the house (carefully though, if you have no foundations! and only shallow!). In ours (1900 house, so not as old- but the same in that we're built directly on top of the clay and have no dpc) we put down perforated plastic pipe that ran to a drain, with largeish gravel on top.

Also is the interior lime or gypsum plaster? We found gypsum and the tiniest bit of moisture or condensation caused all the paint to flake off and the plaster to bubble. Proper old school lime plaster survived floods though, with no problems.



Thanks. Its lime for us - or at least it is meant to be...

I will look at the trench, we have a drain cover outside the front of the house, the system in which, works like a toilet cistern as I understand. It has a ballcock that when the water table comes up to a 'high' point, engages a pump that takes the water back towards a gulley, that in turn diverts into a river on our boundary. That river does have a tendency to flood a bit of our landscape and there has been a significant flood event in the last 20ish years (4ft in the house) but the flood defences that are on the southern side of the house between the house and the river, were improved significantly thereafter.

Nonetheless, the water table rises when the river comes up and there is a system to manage that to an extent, but I still want to be mindful of the long term impact on the building itself. But also to put that to better use if I can.
 
Mj Lacey
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Rufus Laggren wrote:The site has a lot to do with your situation. If you're at the bottom of a clay hollow, you're in a different bind than if you're at the top of a sandy ridge.

What is the rain like there? Where is your ground water?

Water wants a place to go (downhill) if it's going to move. You can provide sandy channels or gravel to direct surface and ground water, but it still needs somewhere (downhill) to go to.


Regards,
Rufus



Thanks, we are in a former mill which means, we are in a valley, near a river (circa  70 meters south of us). I haven't analysed the soil but I think its actually quite loamy down here, loamy to sandy.

Rain is, well, we are in the UK....

Yes, we have a system that diverts excess water away back towards the river. However, it correlates that when the river is high, the water table is high and so even digging a pond and diverting water to that I think would be a little pointless in terms of management. When the river comes up is it such alot of that energy, running at the lowest point near the property that I don't think we would be able to deal with it in storage or catchment.
 
pollinator
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Ah yes.. a fun issue isn't it! My house is brick but it's 1870 no foundations and the back room is dug over a meter down into the soil. So I know the problem, a few solutions some easier than others.

Make sure the gutters are actually draining away from the house they often just go onto the ground.
Our house was designed to have a thatched roof with overhanging eves, it no longer does so a lot more rain hits the walls than it should .. so overhanging eves are preferable
If you are on a slope dig a ditch above the house that channels rain water around it.

Get a dehumidifier, we have a nice one which is a silicon gel type as they work best in cool conditions (refrigeration types do not work under 10 and work poorly under 20C) it's obviously not a cure but it does stop internal mold.
Our main problem is the watertable is pretty much at ground level here so it's never really going to be dry.
 
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