Basement and Cellar Conversion
Basement and cellar conversion
Old cellars and basements will usually require waterproofing if they are to be used as habitable areas. Two methods of waterproofing are commonly used, the choice of which will depend on a number of factors such as the condition of the underlying substrate (e.g. are the bricks soft and powdery?), the practicality of incorporating a sump and pump, and the condition or existence of the floor slab. These systems are described below:
The Vandex Waterproofing System
Vandex waterproofing slurries are applied to the walls and floors of the cellar. Once cured, these prevent moisture from entering the cellar. Because the Vandex system relies on physically preventing water from entering the cellar it needs to form an extremely strong bond with the substrate that it is applied to. For this reason, careful preparation of cellar walls and floors is essential prior to the application of the Vandex system.
The Oldroyd Cavity Drainage System
The Oldroyd cavity drainage system is based around a “dimpled” plastic membrane that is applied to the walls and floors of the cellar, creating a “drainage cavity” which redirects moisture entering the cellar to a sump and pump. Because the Oldroyd system redirects water, rather than physically holding it back preparation of the substrate is less critical than when using the Vandex system.
The Importance of Ventilation
It is important to note that a waterproofing system alone can only achieve a Grade 2 environment as to achieve a Grade 3 environment control of the level of relative humidity in the air of the cellar or basement is required (in order to reduce the risk of dampness caused by condensation). Old cellars rarely benefit from high levels of natural ventilation, so it is likely that some kind of additional ventilation will be required to reduce levels of relative humidity. Additional ventilation can take the form of air-bricks, humidity controlled fans, and heat exchange units. Your specialist cellar conversion contractor will be able to advise on the most appropriate form of ventilation for your cellar.