Replacing Fly Ash and Skinny Concrete Slab in an Edwardian Terrace

13 May 2021
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United Kingdom
Afternoon All,

I have an Edwardian Terrace house that I am looking to replace the ground floor of as it is like the surface of the moon! After doing some investigation it is a 60mm concrete slab laid over a mix of fly ash and demolition waste and it is also making the house quite cold, so it's time for it to go.
I am looking to lay 100mm Type 1, 25mm sand, DPM (with upstand), 100mm Celotex, second membrane layer and a 75mm screed on top. The area is 56m2 and digging down 300mm, the area covers three rooms (dining room, lounge and a very long skinny kitchen) I do have a builder lined up to do this but my confidence in that they will actually turn up is getting shaky (due to start in July) as they have gone quiet. As a result, the back up plan is to do the work myself but I have a contact that can lay and finish Agila as the final layer. Would it be better to retrofit a suspended timber floor instead? There is an air brick just slightly below ground level, which makes me think the original floor may have been suspended. The area I live in was hit by a major flood in 1965, so it may have been removed as part of recovering the building.
What I would like to know is how long it would take to hand dig the floor (mini diggers are not an option) and if it would be possible to lay it in sections (room at a time basically) with an appropriate barrier. The concrete has already had to be broken in order to lay an electrical conduit and it breaks up without too much bother.
Any info, tips etc will be greatly appreciated.
Kind regards
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digging out ~17 cubes of concrete and hardcore mixed carp by hand! - 3 weetabix and you'll do it in a weekend - or maybe not. Not much of a house's heat is lost through the floor. You might be better off going for an easier/faster/cheaper option and spending the rest of the money elsewhere - better insulation/windows/more efficient heating etc. I'd discuss with your builder what the other floor options are.
Hi Woody

No typical signs of sulphate attack though there is heavy efflorescence of the bricks in the passageway wall, the skinny concrete slab is very uneven (I'm putting it down to poor compaction of the fly and dem waste and that it is pretty thin) and the walls are cold up to about 600mm from the floor. The underside of the skirting boards are showing signs of damp and the fixings corroded to the point I removed a 4 metre section with little effort and the plaster felt claggy when I removed it from the walls. The cold is coming up through the floor, you can definitely feel it and is a similar situation with the other houses in my street with solid floors.
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Past contractors have hand dug out/replaced typical Victorian terrace floors, front back and rear annex in 2 - 2 1/2 weeks. Team of 2/3 including kitchen unit removal and refit. But this was about 1m deep to remove the contaminated ground.

I can't see any advantage in putting a timber floor back unless getting concrete or having a place for the wagon is a problem.

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