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Stone ruin issues with foundation, floor and leaking

 
Posts: 48
Location: Portugal
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We want to renovate a stone ruin into our tiny home but we have some questions and concerns.

First concern is a dislodged rock
On the North & West wall a stone seems to be pulling away.

Should we remove the rocks above and push the bulging rock back in? See pictures
Is it possibly as 'simple' as that ?

The ground  behind the house is  higher and building is on a gradual slope.
Outside height of wall is about 1 meter lower than inside measurement.

We feel we should excavate around the 2 sides where land is higher and insulate, waterproof and put in French drains.
Would moving the soil about 2 feet deep be safe for the foundation and sufficient to future proof the building?

Water is seeping in and it can rain a lot over winter in Portugal.
Not much frost here.

Floor inside
This is a dirt floor.  Could we excavate to lay in new floor? We don't want to loose height  but we don't want to unermine structure.

We want to finish the build with a steel frame and galvanised panel system. All lightweight and good insulation & sound proofing.

We will lime point inside and outside.

Finally what reading or resources would you recommend for restoring stone ruin, please.

Any thoughts and advice would be gratefully received.











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pollinator
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I can't help a lot I'm afraid.  
Did you see  this thread where someone in a similar area has a similar issue with soil covered walls?
Also some people are putting in earthen floors, is keeping yours a possibility?  There is a section in the building forum that might be worth browsing.
 
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i would be wary of excavation - but i am no  stone expert..

i DO have a dirt floor with a nasty DIY concrete foundation - seepage can never be prevented - sump pumps were always required and during a power outage (storm) they could fail == flooded basement...

my stepdad help me with the best solution... dig a trench at the lowest place on the outside... go as deep as you can under the foundation... create a sump/gavel pit on the inside (i used an old lobster crate) - run a 4# PVC pipe from the pit under the foundation and out and down as far as you see fit... then put 2 " gravel down on the dirt - maybe not exactly what you want... but it will keep the basement relatively dry -  you could compensate by building up 2 feet higher to get a basement..

dunno if this helps - best of luck!
 
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I can't help with your rock problem though I thought this thread about laying tile over a dirt floor might be of interest:

https://permies.com/t/26470/Tile-covered-earthen-floor

And this one to give you some info on some earthen floor materials:

https://permies.com/t/129737/Earthen-Floor-Materials

 
Jenny Ives
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Nancy Reading wrote:I can't help a lot I'm afraid.  
Did you see  this thread where someone in a similar area has a similar issue with soil covered walls?

I did read through that thread.

Also some people are putting in earthen floors, is keeping yours a possibility?  There is a section in the building forum that might be worth browsing.


The floor could not be described as a habitable floor.  It is very uneven and thete are rocks which we do not know have fallen off the wall or part of the landscape.

Hate to say it but I am not sold on an earth floor though.  Think we both need to see a living example perhaps.

Anyone in Portugal happy to share your dirt floor with us?
 
Jenny Ives
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James MacKenzie wrote:i would be wary of excavation - but i am no  stone expert...



Thanks, James.

A drain seems to be the way to go.

There is no foundation as such.  Stone placed on the ground. It is an agricultural building built in the year dot. Amazing at how they got the rows so level.

We are going up and will have a story and a half. 2 stories if we are lucky but we have to get it past the town clerk.

 
James MacKenzie
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hey jenny!

best of luck - hope you get a permit before 2100

the drain wiil work "relatively" dry so long as teh water keeps flowing out  -level as best as you can and gravel - not w smooth floor, but not dirt either... it would make decent "rough and tumble storage" .. and maybe a cold store in the higher corner.. good plase for a pimp fo ra well... yadd yadd

my workroom is basically that - gravel on dirt that leaks - it isn't what you see on DIY shows, but after 10 years it still functions... if you can get 2 opposing windows in there for cross draft - THAT would help too - enjoy
 
James MacKenzie
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i meant a "pump" - my eyes, my bad...
 
Jenny Ives
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James MacKenzie wrote:hey jenny!

best of luck - hope you get a permit before 2100

the drain wiil work "relatively" dry so long as teh water keeps flowing out  -level as best as you can and gravel - not w smooth floor, but not dirt either... it would make decent "rough and tumble storage" .. and maybe a cold store in the higher corner.. good plase for a pimp fo ra well... yadd yadd

my workroom is basically that - gravel on dirt that leaks - it isn't what you see on DIY shows, but after 10 years it still functions... if you can get 2 opposing windows in there for cross draft - THAT would help too - enjoy



😂 We are going to live in there.  I think we roll down to the fregusia (town clerk) who is open one night a week in our village. You tell him what you want to do and we get a licence. We have a pre 1951 ruin so won't have habitation granted.
 
James MacKenzie
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"roll down"  - lol - do you need to bring an obscure gift? no guarantee anyway? you are brave...

if that is going to be  a living area ... flagstones and a woodstove?? i got nothing left..

have fun - cheers!
 
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I have just the video series for you:

They have been renovating an old stone barn in Portugal, and dealt with all the issues you mention and more. Spoiler: you can and should dig out the earth outside the walls to put in drainage.

From the photo, I would definitely remove the few rocks on top of the bulging one, clear out behind and reset everything with lime mortar.
 
master pollinator
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The videos Glenn found look excellent!

I went looking for a blog I've read that I thought was set in Portugal and found it: http://www.themudhome.com/earthwhispering  She is very much into natural building and shares much of her personal philosophy, but she is also an experienced builder who is renovating a very old stone barn. She's not in Portugal, but in the mountains in Spain.
 
Jenny Ives
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Jane Mulberry wrote:The videos Glenn found look excellent!

I went looking for a blog I've read that I thought was set in Portugal and found it: http://www.themudhome.com/earthwhispering  She is very much into natural building and shares much of her personal philosophy, but she is also an experienced builder who is renovating a very old stone barn. She's not in Portugal, but in the mountains in Spain.



Jane, that is my evening sorted. Looks grand. Thank you.
 
Jenny Ives
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Thanks, Glenn. I have watched some of those video diaries and while they are entertaining I wanted more detail.  We need to get the lime mortoring before it gets much hotter.
 
Glenn Herbert
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For the floor, I would carefully dig down in spots along the wall and see what the base looks like. I think you can safely dig as far as the lowest stones, and possibly a few inches deeper depending on how firm the soil is. If the soil is hard and stiff, you may be able to dig down farther and lower the floor if you want more headroom. This depends on what floor materials you want. Earth will not support the edges of a stone wall if undermined, lime masonry or concrete will.
 
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It's quite possible that animals have been kept in and the level of the floor is artificially high inside. We had to dig out the floor of our place last year as it was about a foot deeper at the back where the old animal bedding and manure had built up.  I'll try to find some photos...
 
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Found a couple of photos.

This house is a new-fangled brick one, only around 75 years old, but it followed the traditional animals-below-and-people-above design.

When we started to clean up level the downstairs floor, it was like this - fairly compacted animal manure and bedding.



But at the back of the house it had ended up well over a foot higher and so badly compacted we needed a hammer drill to get it out!

 
Jenny Ives
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Now I understand the expression, 'If walls could talk".  Thanks for digging up the photos.  I bet my hubby will love the idea of using a hammerdrill.
 
pollinator
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How to repair a stone wall

Stone cottage repair

Stone wall refurbishment

As for the tilting stone,  it may be best to eave it and restore where it is. The texts I have given you speak of this .
The floor will obviously be a mixture of rubble left over the years.
When you clean the rubble out things will be revealed.
You can wait a while before taking action about the floor. Flagstones may be available, underfloor heating may be possible.
 
Jenny Ives
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John C Daley wrote:How to repair a stone wall

Stone cottage repair

Stone wall refurbishment

As for the tilting stone,  it may be best to eave it and restore where it is. The texts I have given you speak of this .  

Much better than pulling it off.

Brilliant.  Even the Portuguese words for lime mortor is so helpful.  Working in a foreign language has added a layer of complexity I did not fully appreciate before we started.    
 
The floor will obviously be a mixture of rubble left over the years.
When you clean the rubble out things will be revealed.
You can wait a while before taking action about the floor. Flagstones may be available, underfloor heating may be possible.



Feeling flagstones may be the way we go.  We are putting in a RMH. Woo hoo.
 
Glenn Herbert
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It looks like there is a lot of decayed mortar or debris under/around that loose rock, so I think pulling it out and thoroughly cleaning the bed before resetting it in lime mortar would be the best way to go. If it was in the middle of a tall wall I would be concerned about touching it, but it has only a couple of stones above it and you are not risking any collapse.
 
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Glenn Herbert wrote:It looks like there is a lot of decayed mortar or debris under/around that loose rock, so I think pulling it out and thoroughly cleaning the bed before resetting it in lime mortar would be the best way to go. If it was in the middle of a tall wall I would be concerned about touching it, but it has only a couple of stones above it and you are not risking any collapse.



As an old house (with a stone foundation) owner and casual stone wall builder who as spent a lot of time reading about this subject, I’m 100% in agreement here. It’s even possible to pull large single stones out of a well-built wall to reset their mortar without causing collapse. But be careful!!

D
 
Jenny Ives
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Daniel Ackerman wrote:

Glenn Herbert wrote:It looks like there is a lot of decayed mortar or debris under/around that loose rock, so I think pulling it out and thoroughly cleaning the bed before resetting it in lime mortar would be the best way to go. If it was in the middle of a tall wall I would be concerned about touching it, but it has only a couple of stones above it and you are not risking any collapse.



As an old house (with a stone foundation) owner and casual stone wall builder who as spent a lot of time reading about this subject, I’m 100% in agreement here. It’s even possible to pull large single stones out of a well-built wall to reset their mortar without causing collapse. But be careful!!

D


Thanks for the response, Daniel.  I seem to spend my days telling my husband to 'be careful'.  
We are likely to get the help of  our Portuguese neighbours.  We are nervously excited about the peoject.

Something the neighbour suggested was raising the doir lintel by jacking it up. I am a shortie but husband is over 6 ft so it will be his call.
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