Advice on fixing a botched bay window removal

5 May 2004
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United Kingdom
Hi there,
I've been taking remedial measures to fix damp in my refurb house by digging away too high ground levels around the house. Upon doing this I've discovered the remains of a bay window. The inside of the bay seems to be nothing but soil and then below the wall it seems to tuck under into nothing but rubble and soil where I reckon it should be brick. The floors inside are concrete. See the photos below :-

Here you can see whats left of the foundations of the bay and a trench where it must of been inside the house :-

This is a closeup of the area beneath the wall which looks a right mess and doesnt look very supportive at all.

So, does this need attention ?, whats the best way of sorting this out ?
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You need to get closer still to look at the evidence!

I'm guessing that one possibility is that during an earlier "improvement" a flat window was installed across the original opening and the wall below built off a tiled solid floor that existed at the time.

An original solid floor might comprise compacted rubble on clay finished with a fairly thin (by our standards) solid floor covered in something like quarry tiles. (old floor thickness would be typically uneven)

Later the old floor may have been broken out both sides leaving the mess you see. Clues would be - the level it tucks under should be very similar to your internal floor level. At the top of the "tuck under" you might find remains of the old floor tiles.

Ripping out the wall under the window and doing the job right, off a footing at least matching the old footings depth would be my preferred solution! Heavens knows what DPC if any exists allong that wall!
Thanks for your reply. Your preferred method scares the hell out of me as we've just had new windows put in above that wall, and new plastering and new radiator on the inside of that wall :oops:

Can I not dig out as much as I can without affecting the footings, install a membrane and then concrete it all in right upto and into the tuck ?. I basically want to make it damp proof & solid.

Thanks again.
I know what you mean about messing up work already done.

I have no idea how you would get any sort of membrane in place that would work. it may even give you further problems by trapping water.

If you don't have any serious damp problems internally along that wall you could try simply removing as much loose rubbish as you can and tidy it up with a 1:3 mortar flush with the bricks above. But it won't solve any damp problems.

Unfortunately they are rarely easy ways to deal with something done the wrong way.

The alternative is to do what I first suggested but without disturbing the newer bricked in section. i.e. Try to get a new wall under it. You run the risk of the bricked in part breaking free but if it does stay put you could get away with it! Likey as not, the ends of the bricked in section are not even tied to the old walls. You may also have to remove parts of the old bay brickwork in front to gain access.
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OK, I think I've got an idea. If I have it all made flush at the front - maybe insert some new bricks or mortar as you suggest and then pull as much of the soil away from the wall as possible and then fill it all up with gravel to drain the water.

How does that sound ?.
Just putting gravel in place of what is there might even make it worse! You have to be sure the water can get away out of the gravel or you will be creating a sump for water to drain into!

There are various solutions on the forum for dealing with surface water at the junction with walls. Have a look at those if it is also a problem.

I can see you are likely to tidy the wall up but that is not going to solve a damp problem. hopefully it will help, you can only try it and see.

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