Cellar conversion project at a Victorian house near Milton Keynes, UK

This Victorian terrace property near Milton Keynes had a damp cellar with a history of flooding. There had been several previous attempts to waterproof the front earth-retaining wall with bitumen and cement-based products. However, these had been unsuccessful due to the fact that the Victorian brick wall to which they were applied was soft and friable.

The new owners wanted to carry out a cellar conversion in order to increase their living space. It was decided that the converted cellar would be used as a playroom, and decorated like a 60's lounge bar. For this end-use the cellar needed to be upgraded to the level of dryness defined in BS 8102 as "Grade 3".

The Cellar Conversion

It was decided to use the Oldroyd Xv Clear cavity drainage system to carry out the cellar waterproofing. This was because it would have been necessary to sand-blast the walls in order to provide a good enough key to allow a coating system such as Vandex BB75 to be used.

The Oldroyd Xv membrane was fixed to the walls using self-sealing "Oldroyd brick plugs".

An "Aquadrain" drainage channel was installed at the floor-wall junction, leading to a sump chamber and pump.

Oldroyd Xv membrane was laid directly onto the brick floor without the requirement for any fixings. A chipboard floor was then installed over the Oldroyd Xv.

A dry lining system was installed to cover the membrane on the walls. A dry room was thus provided, ready for decoration.

Humidity Control

To achieve a Grade 3 living environment (as defined in BS 8102) it was necessary to take measures to reduce the levels of relative humidity in the cellar. This was achieved by installing a humidity-controlled "Humdistat" fan. In addition, airbricks on the rear wall of the basement were sealed and extended through the waterproofing system to ensure adequate airflow through the room.

The Result

The homeowner was extremely pleased with the way that the cellar conversion project went. She commented on the fact that little noise or disturbance was caused by the contractors.

The whole cellar conversion project was filmed as an episode of the Channel-4 television series, "Room for Improvement".

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