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Crumbling Building Problem

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Alex H

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The 'house' next door was not lived in for 6 years before we bought it and during that time was not looked after at all. Water has leaked in at various points and I have already had to demolish one part which was threatening to fall into the road.

The remainder looks like this.

house.jpg


The house consists of 2 rooms with an attic space above. A bread oven is integral to the main wall of the house. The attic floor and subsequently the roof is held up by a large beam tied to the wall which also holds the bread oven.

P3190157.JPG


P3190161.JPG


The bread oven and it's attaching walls (to the right on the plan) are collapsing - they are not attached and their method of construction makes repair beyond my meagre skills.

My thoughts are to create a full block wall directly in front of the bread oven wall, to support the floor above and the roof.

I would retain the current stone pillar that supports both floor and roof beams.

Is this a GOOD IDEA ? or am I thinking in the wrong direction?
 

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AJB Temple

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I would start by asking myself why the building is crumbling? Is it water ingress / weathering, aged materials failing, or perhaps an issue with foundations.

Before you start thinking of ways to support the roof structure, I would investigate your foundations. If the building has significant structural issues, rather than wing it I would seek advice from a structural engineer.
 

Alex H

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Thanks for the quick reply but, it's a French house. Stone built, no foundations. The traditional method of building walls is 2 stone / mud / lime walls infilled with rubbish. When water gets in, the infill is washed out and one or both skins tend to crack / collapse.

Like this.

P3190158.JPG


The only way to fix this is to take it down and rebuild, because you don't know how much infill is missing.

The house part is fine, it's the oven that causing the problem :(
 

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RobinBHM

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Im finding it difficult to visualize - do you any more photographs?

Is your repair to halt the collapse or the start of a rebuild?

A block wall wont have much lateral strength, so it wont be good in preventing the existing walls from collapsing or slumping.

If your worried about the roof, I would consider some timber plates and acrows for temporary support.

I was on holiday in Brittany last year and remember seeing loads of these rural buildings made of stone and mud and falling down. I wondered then about how people went about repairing them, so I shall be interested in seeing how you manage to do it :D
 

Beau

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Hard to give advice from without seeing it in the flesh but those cracks in the last picture are nothing to speak of. Our place is not so dissimilar with no foundations, stone face and rubble infill. Sought advise and general guide was if you cant get your hand into the crack don't worry about it. Now easy for me to say when it's not my place but we had some major cracks at one end which have been pointed up with lime mortar and not opened up since. Most important thing to do is make sure no more water gets in to cause any more damage. Working with lime mortar is much easier than you might think once you get the hang of getting the mix right. If you start mixing modern block and traditional construction you may have problems where the two meet as old lime built walls move a bit where as your modern block wall shouldn't.
 

Alex H

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RobinBHM":2kjjilt4 said:
Im finding it difficult to visualize - do you any more photographs?

Is your repair to halt the collapse or the start of a rebuild?

A block wall wont have much lateral strength, so it wont be good in preventing the existing walls from collapsing or slumping.

If your worried about the roof, I would consider some timber plates and acrows for temporary support.
What would you like photographs of? I only live next door :D

The use of the new wall was to support the beams, not the walls.

The problem, probably is I keep changing my mind on how to remedy it. I had another look this morning and thought that it may be possible to retain all the existing walling, only using blocks at the second level (quite common round here on barns)
 

Alex H

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Beau":1vi0h7pd said:
Hard to give advice from without seeing it in the flesh but those cracks in the last picture are nothing to speak of. Our place is not so dissimilar with no foundations, stone face and rubble infill. Sought advise and general guide was if you cant get your hand into the crack don't worry about it. Now easy for me to say when it's not my place but we had some major cracks at one end which have been pointed up with lime mortar and not opened up since. Most important thing to do is make sure no more water gets in to cause any more damage. Working with lime mortar is much easier than you might think once you get the hang of getting the mix right. If you start mixing modern block and traditional construction you may have problems where the two meet as old lime built walls move a bit where as your modern block wall shouldn't.
The last picture cracks are 2m+ in length. I do have one crack at the front of the oven where the tape measure will go in 60cm, so I think that is a problem. I have repaired the roof so that the water is no longer doing damage ( except at the front of the oven, which I can't do anything about anyway)

We are quite adept at using lime - there are very few places in these houses that we have used concrete, usually where it is quicker (block wall) or requires more strength (flooring etc)
 

blackrodd

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It's difficult with the pics shown so far, firstly, you need to stop all leaks and water ingress and dry out the building by opening windows and doors, but not when it's raining.
To support the beam pictured, It just needs a small foundation pit dug and concreted and build a block pillar under and
just use decent slate to make the final support "Snug"
Building another wall against the original wall will be costly and not achieve much other than soak up the damp ingress so far, look at the weight and footings work! totally unnecessary.
To support the roof in its length, build pillars and bung some rsj's or hefty beams if you have a few to spare, and prop from there.
As for the cracks, wash all the loose debris away make up a 3' or4' creeping shutter and grout all the damaged area, you need a good cement and sand mix but again unibond added to the water will strengthen the mix and help the bond,
next day wash out another 3', or4' high area fix and prop the shutter in place and mix and grout.
Ensure you wash down with water just before you grout or the mix may dry out and be half a repair jobs.
This is a recognised repair here in Sunny Devon for similar cracks in stone or some brickwork and also damage and
rat runs in cob.
HTH Regards Rodders
 

RobinBHM

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If have a pic or 2 of the outside, that would help to understand the building -as long as you havent got to travel too far to reach the building :D

A support pier seems a good idea, if there is space. I cant see how you would be able to form a foundation for a wall running close to the existing one.

Is the pitched tiled roof slumping? If so I wonder if you need some form of collar.

Where abouts are you in France?
 

dexter

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That's about 50 miles and an hour and a quarter away from me which, as you will no doubt know is just around the corner in this part of the world!
I could do with visiting Leroy Merlin at Limoges later on in the week, so if you want, I could pop over and give you my two pennethworth. I've completely renovated my place over the last few years which also involved dropping the old bread oven and my neighbour is in the process of doing the same to his oven. PM me if you want to take up the offer.

Dex
 
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