Advice needed damp in wall which is underground level

Must say, a crack which goes from bottom to top and right through the thickness of the wall would give me serious doubts.

I’ve walked away from similar situations, with no regrets.


It’s lucky you didn’t come here then, the place looked like it could fall down at any minute :see_no_evil: I took the approach that it’s been standing a good many centuries and saw the revolution and the world wars and everything else so it’s bound to have a few creases on its face! It’s not caved in and squashed me yet, but there’s always tonight! :rofl:


We almost bought a place such as you describe… and, yes, the thought that it had lasted thus far etc etc almost swayed us… but something didn’t quite click with us… so we walked away.
A while after… and having dismissed all sorts of very “suitable” properties… we met our present home and it was love at first sight for both of us… before we’d even gone through the door. :+1:

and there was loads to do… and it’s still not “finished” but it is still standing… just.


Well, I just got a bit of a surprise - just popped down into the cellar to get something and discovered there’s 3" of water down there.

I’m glad I started to make the stuff in the cellar more immune to damp - though progress had stalled a bit and I can see that it will need to be done with fairly deep standing water in mind rather than just a cm here or there.

I don’t think it’s connected to the odd behaviour of the heating, as all the electrics and plumbing are well out of the way of the floor, apart from the stands for the two tanks.

It does explain a few things though - including why some empty paint cans and a petrol cannister “moved” and it was a heck of a surprise when I stepped off the bottom stair (the wooden stairs don’t go all the way to the floor, but rest on a concrete plinth about 4" high - I wonder why that is :thinking:

But I’ll need to make a few adjustments - as noted above I’d already painted and sealed the shelves but the bottom one is dipping in the water - maybe it will have survived, we’ll see when the level drops, IF the level drops while I’m here - we don’t have heavy rain forecast this week. It’s clear I need to move the bottom shelf up a notch or two.

Also, really working out where the drainage pump sends its water has just become rather more of a priority - I used to think it ran to the pipes that take the rainwater drain across the garden to the soakaway at the edge of the our plot but then became pretty certain that was not the case - I’ve switched it off for now, I think it’s just circulating water uselessly because anywhere it might be sending the water - I might see if I can get it hooked to the main drain out of the house, not sure how to do that legally at the moment.

But, as I said, quite a shock and I now have some very  wet trainers drying on a radiator.


Oh dear you´ve really had a fun trip this time!!

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Keeps me on my toes :slight_smile:

I wonder if it’s been happening in previous years - but there’s never been any evidence of this extent of flooding, the cellar clearly is not supposed to be bone dry but I’ve never seen anything like this. Nothing that can’t be sorted - I’d have been more unhappy if I hadn’t already moved my power tools to the garage where they are nice and dry, and other stuff is now in sealed containers and there’s no electrics near the floor - the lowest sockets are 3’ up the wall - no doubt because of the risk of this sort of thing.

The wood that’s down there definitely won’t be any use for anything other than sticking on the fire though (once dried out, obviously).

I just think that we’ve had more rain than usual, maybe that climate change thing has something in it, after all :thinking:

[For the avoidance of doubt I’ve never been a climate sceptic]

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Don’t tell your Maire, they’ll want extra taxes for your undeclared indoor swimming pool :wink:


Very funny

Damn, I left the light on. Well I’m not going back down there to turn it off now - I could do with some wellies but don’t have any here, as luck would have it I brought my walking boots and, with a fresh coat of dubbin, they survived but they need to dry out upstairs as well.

(I’ve lost the thread a little, so you might have already told us…)

are there channels along the floor where water can/should run away… and if so, where/how does this exit the building??

Friends eventually had to redig their around-the-wall channels in the cellar… and put in a new out-flow pipe which took the water under the drive and off into the wilds of wherever… made an amazing difference to the holiday-house once it was sorted…

Remember to fit a non return valve, you wouldnt want a back flow.

The fun just never stops when we turn up does it.

Yes, there is a gutter running all the way around the “external” wall of the cellar, these run into a sump where a pump lifts the water out and in the direction of, well, um.

The cellar floor is maybe 130cm lower than ground level, maybe a little more. The ground floor of the house is about 60cm above the outside ground level - leaving about 190cm in the cellar, I’m just shy of 6’2" (187cm) and can stand up comfortably.

At the back of the house there are steps down to a cellar door, currently dipping its toes in water, just outside the door there is a grate and drain.

The rainwater run off from the house goes to a soakaway at the edge of our plot - a bit over 1m lower than the house itself (edit: thinking about it probably a good bit more than 1m as I think the edge of the plot is below the cellar floor, but it’s hard to judge) . At least there is a ditch, and two pipes run into it, and there is an inspection cover in the middle of the lawn. I have never proved that it is all connected - but SAUR did prove early last year (if you remember my lament that “French companies don’t do email”) that my rainwater gutters are *not* connected to the village main drainage/sewage system.

When we bought the house I assumed that the drain outside the cellar door connected into the rear drainage pipe, but when I looked I wound up deciding that it didn’t - and that, in any case, it was probably lower than the pipe so connecting the two wouldn’t be much use.

I therefore concluded that it just ended in a blind soakaway - designed to give somewhere for water to go - otherwise there is a nice concreted tank the only exit from which is for water to flow through the cellar door - this isn’t what happened BTW because that area was not flooded yesterday and we’ve only had light rain since.

As far as I can see the pump just sends water the same way - so it is only ever going to be able to get rid of fairly limited amounts.

At the moment I think that the recent rain has simply raised the water table above the cellar floor, hence the delay as it all soaked through the ground. The house is at about the highest spot in our plot and the land falls away gently further on so I think it will go down again but I think that’s why the pump is ineffective at the moment - it’s just circulating water around.

Quite., if I had the height I could fit a standing pipe and “U” but I don’t think I can squeeze that in.

Yeah, I could do with just turning up and finding everything as we left it and working, at least once in a while.

If I’d known now much work a maison secondaire was I might have thought twice (well, I did but nice apartments in Vannes were out of our budget). Not that I want to sell the place as I’d still like to retire here if I can.


I think our friends’ outgoing drain had got blocked somehow, heaven knows where, but a new exit pipe solved the problem.

Hoping you can get yours sorted asap… meanwhile keep throwing logs on the fire and keep yourself cosy… :+1:


I haven’t lit the fire tonight but the heating’s on, the house is warm, 99% of it is dry and I have a cold beer in my hand.

What more could I want.


this sounds like it should be in the Good News thread… :wink:

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Do you have a magic lamp there? :wink:

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Tricky things, magic lamps.

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A pooch warming your feet


Anyone fancy a paddle?

yep… looks familiar… :roll_eyes:

as I’ve said… the solution for my friends’ place, was to redo the exit drain…
Whether this had collapsed or been blocked somewhere within it… was never really identified… but the replacement pipework was a great success.

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