stone house damp question

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8 Sep 2005
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United Kingdom
Hello, I have an old stone house, which also has a whitewashed stone ground floor interior, i.e. no render. The house is on a slope, the cellar walls at the front and one side of the house are fully underground, and have a render in parts, although this is in a fairly bad state, the other two are not underground at all - i.e. are external walls of the house, and these are just exposed stone with no render.

I was intending to hack off the render in the cellar as it is not in a particularly good state, expose the stone walls that are not already exposed, and then whitewash the cellar. However, it occurred to me that this render might be some sort of a damp proof course, which is holding back floods of water! Which brings me onto my first question: how would I be able to tell if it is a DPC?

Second question, would it be a good idea to get rid of this render even if it is a (damaged) DPC because it would allow the walls to 'breathe' and thus allow any damp to evaporate in the cellar (particularly if I renew the lime mortar), preventing it from rising to ground floor level (there is some small evidence of damp at ground floor level in parts, but as the ground floor walls are whitewashed exposed stone it's not really a big deal)? Or should I leave the render in place? Or should I get a new DPC??? As you can see I'm a bit confused, particularly having read some posts that tell me that old houses shouldn't have DPCs etc.

For information, until recently there was no through airflow down there, with the only ventilation being a fireplace; i recently unblocked the window (on the underground wall opposite the fireplace) so hopefully this should help any damp problem?

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my house is appox 200 years old and I have recently had my house damp proofed. parts of the wall are stone and they had no problem doing it as they used a silicon type injection. not under high pressure as there is no cavity. it is not that expensive realy when you way up the other odds eg Your health decor. as for your basement I would tank the walls again.
you might find it usefull to speak to a few companies
Not easy to specify correct action without seeing property,but generally the following rules apply when dealing with basements.
Walls below ground level need tanking to prevent lateral moisture penetration ,this can be a dense render or some other propriety mix.
You cannot apply silicone as a vertical dpc as it will break down under the pressure of the lateral penetration. I f you intend to use the basement for living use you should also tank the basement floor .
Sorry to say it but there is no easy or cheap way to achieve an effective below ground dry basement.
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Strip it all and let it breathe :idea: ;) repoint with lime putty and use a natural limewash if you must paint good luck

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