Extra Airbricks - but underfloor sleeper/supporting walls not honeycombed

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My downstairs "Tyneside" flat, built in 1900, often smells quite musty. The floors are suspended floorboards, no insulation but gaps filled in. There is one air brick to the front of the property and a couple at the back but when I went under the floor, they seem blocked off at the back (from the inside) despite being at floor level. I cant get to the front to have a look.

The wall is solid (no cavity), and there is no rot that i can see under there though humidity is high.

I want to put some air bricks in, but the supporting walls/ sleeper walls don't have a honeycomb structure to them, so there won't be much cross air flow from front to back.

I don't particularly want to lift and potentially break the floorboards to access these walls and knock holes in if I can help it.
I can get under the property in the living room but cant get towards the front as the crawl space narrows and the crawl hole is quite small between walls.

Given the above scenario, is there any point putting air bricks in with this current set up?

Without decent cross flow - will there still be some ventilation? I really want to get rid of the musty smell....

In the photos attached you can see a supporting underfloor wall and a sleeper wall.

Thanks
 

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Also attaching a plan of the flat with air brick and sleeper/supporting wall positions along with existing gaps (red line in sleeper wall coming from middle of living room fireplace, red line between two "living" rooms is supporting wall)
Just to add, at the right side of the property I can't put any airbricks as a garage has been built on that side. The left side is an ajoining terraced flat. Essentially the layout is that of a terrace (the right side may have had air bricks there but I cannot see now)

Birtley_plan.jpg
 

JP_

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There's a lot of crap under that floor, and a big pile of rubble in the 4th pic.
If you have a musty smell, something is very mouldy and probably rotting.
I'd bite the bullet and start removing floorboards and finding the source of the smell, and then clear out the subfloor. No point in adding new air bricks if there's a mound of rubble blocking airflow and retaining moisture.
 
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"If you have a musty smell, something is very mouldy and probably rotting. "

Do you mean along the lines of a dead animal/organic matter, or joists? Dry/Wet rot?

Or could the smell be coming from the rubble?

I suspect along with the rubble the walls will be blocking airflow :(
 
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JP_

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It would probably be rotten joists. May also be in the rubble.
I had musty smell in most rooms of my 1930s house, clearing out the rubbish and replacing all rotten wood solved that, as well as knocking through some more air bricks (bloody hard work!)
 
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Thankfully the joists and underfloor in general aren't wet (though the soil floor is a little bit)

The joists don't seem rotten - But I can see the logic in removing the rubble. May have to try that.

Any opinion on the lack of honeycombing in the sleeper walls? Is that a big problem?
 
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no need to start pullin up boards.

the rubble is from buildin work in the last few years. they chucked the rubble into the sub-area.
just lower it no need to remove it.
only remove bits of wood from the rubble or across the earth.it prevents them rottin an maybe spreadin fungi.

have the chimney breast flues been swept an ventilated top an bottom?damp soot can smell musty.can you post pics of c/breasts?

assume youve got crawlin access under 2 livin rooms an the back area?
the lobby an under stairs area might need a breakthrough access an ventin.
the bay area should be accessible by crawlin - you have to crawl through the openings in the knee walls, or enlarge them a little.

just lump hammer a few bricks out here an ther to give veentin to the knee walls - plus the joist bays over the walls should be open.

pics of the external air bricks please.
you need more air bricks - all air bricks to be size 9" x 6".
 
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Im not there at the mo so cant take pics... but im having an extra air brick put in at the front between bay window and door, and the blocked ones at the back replaced.

Fires are both open and in use, not blocked so no worries there

The crawl hole through the first sleeper wall (in the pic) i could just about squeeze through, however there isnt a crawl hole through the supporting wall (just a few half bricks knocked out so wires/pipes can feed through, no crawl hole). That bit is roughly under where the hall/upstairs stairs are
 
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Have stuck some air bricks in, a few at the back and front and yesterday when it was breezy, could feel the air blowing through the bricks, which was good, and im sure the smell was gone. Today though (not as windy) and the smell is back.

Still not sure if thats whats causing the smell (underside of house)
 

JP_

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It doesn't take much rot to smell. I bet if you life some floorboards in the smelliest area you'll find some rotten joists that need replacing.
 
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Thats the thing... ive been under and no sign of rot or particularly bad smells... and no damp (just high humidity) plus no real pattern of smell or location...

Guess i need to give it a little while before i know...
 

JP_

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Take another look after a wet day. When I had all my floorboards up I would smell more damp / rot / mould smell after it rained. Water wasn't getting in, just more humidity in the air I guess.
But, something is smelling, so something is rotting...
 
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I had the whole living room floor and joists out in mine a few years back, not long after buying the place. That was due to wood worm damage.

The previous owners had built a patio out back, above the damp proof course, blocking off an air brick, and just putting some DPC sheet vertically between the wall and the patio.

We had an absolute tonne of rubbish under there, including all the arisings the cheeky electrician had lobbed under there when I got him to re-wire, it's definitely worth shovelling all that out. The few times I've had to crawl under there since putting the new floor down I've been thankful I did it.

Any road up, our dwarf wall is honeycombed, but since opening up the rear air bricks it's been a hell of a lot better under there. I would be inclined to suggest in addition to opening up the rear air bricks if you can you might want to perforate those solid dwarf walls in a few places to improve front to back airflow.

You might also want to consider the fitting the grilles you can get for air bricks, if you fit them on the inside whilst you are under there it's nice and unobtrusive. The fine mesh ones deter most insect visitors from getting in and nibbling your woodwork.
 
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still no pics?
still no feedback if youve been under the whole house suspeded floors?
still dont now if youve probed any joists esp the joist tails sittin in the bay wall pockets?
where thers no openin's you smash a new one through the bricks.

are the fires in use?
 
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still no pics?
still no feedback if youve been under the whole house suspeded floors?
still dont now if youve probed any joists esp the joist tails sittin in the bay wall pockets?
where thers no openin's you smash a new one through the bricks.

are the fires in use?

Give him chance it's been less than a week.

He has said that the 2 fires are open and still in use.
 

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