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I found a hole.


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Well, the bedroom of my flat was always a bit damp, and there was a section of floor that was a little springy. This morning, I put my foot right through the floor, and was lucky not to fall right through, followed by my heavy old wardrobe.


So, I hoiked up the cheapo laminate flooring, to find several layers of underlay, bits of of cardboard, polystyrene and assorted other junk that the previous owner had used to try to get the floor level.

Under all this was a thick plastic sheet, which had been curved up behind the skirting boards.

Under that here was a hole which had been covered with old planks which were now rotten to nothing.....





Its about 2m square and 1.8m deep, hewn from solid rock.

Due to the house being cut into the hillside, the bedroom is partly below the outside ground level. I ripped off a section of plasterboard to find no insulation and no form of damp-proofing, just the bare rock. I am guessing that this was a primitive drain from when the building was a farm building, or even some kind of shit-pit for animal waste. The old owner had used the plastic to cover the damp, which is seeping through the walls, flowing under the sheeting and into this hole, where it should dissipate. However, a few years of this has rotted the planks he has used.

There is no reasonable way to prevent the damp coming through the walls, so any solution will have to accomodate this. My current thinking is to use concrete beams and the shaped bricks that slot between them (proper name??) to make a suspended flooring over the pit. I will then put down a layer of fine, washed gravel, a damp-proof membrane then a layer of cement, then tile over that. This will give a solid floring, and the damp that enters from the walls will flow through the gravel layer and drop into the pit to dissipate. Ideally, I would want a couple of vent pipes to provide some air, but since this is all below exterior ground level, Im not sure how to do that - probably run them up inside the wall cavity untill they are high enough to go through the wall to the outside air.

Does that sound reasonable?

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Na, nuffin to do with Fred! He was in Gloucester and didn't go very far from there.

My OH found a similar hole in the garden of our old Cotswold stone cottage. It turned out to be an old cess pit, so old that there was no smell. The railway sleepers used to cover it were just about rotted through and were just waiting to catch someone! So yes dave I realise just how scary that lot is! It was all because we wanted a small water feature there and not one 6 foot deep either! Our builder friend found a way of getting rid of a load of building rubble he was trying to find a home for and we never did get the water feature!

It's just as well that you are renting, but just make sure that the owner gives you some proof that he's going to pay for it before you start!

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Several layers (max 100mm at a time) of brick rubble well compacted with a wacker plate (Mechanical compactor) bring up to a formation level then a 100 mm layer of polystyrene then a 1200 gauge dpm Clean and paint edges of the hole with Bitumastic paint as a vertical DPM then cast a 100mm mesh reinforced slab (You could drill steel dowels into existing if it is sound and grout them into the drilled mortices. Steel trowel finish and no need for block and beam (Or pot and beam)
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