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Free help with your dry stone walls

Posted by itinerant child-414831 - Created: 3 years ago
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10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

Posted by itinerant child-414831 - 3 years ago

Hello Jack and Sarah , If fate brings me past your direction sometime soon,I shall email you in advance so that we can meet up and have a chat. It is a very simple art once you understand it.

Very best wishes

Jamie x

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Posted by Jdkane3 - 3 years ago

What a great offer. I have a wall to repair, and the interest in building a new low drystone wall to edge the terrace. What I really need to understand is what stone I need. I also need the instruction, but I would be happy to travel to help someone else with their wall just for the learning. We are up on the coast, above Morlaix. Jackandsarakane@gmail.com

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Posted by vivaofsnape - 3 years ago

I agree with John Rodney unless you dig it out it will always be a problem. You will not tackle it succesfuly from the inside. Hire a mini pelle with driver for half a day. Not expensive when compared with the effort it would take by hand. I was only recommending the plasticwater proofing and bitumen for the below ground sections.

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Posted by John Rodney - 3 years ago

walnut 72.

If you are not prepared or able to remove the earh, a reasonable distance from the back of your house you will always have damp coming through the walls but, even then you will still have rising damp which rises, naturaly, about 3 feet.

My cottage had a similar problem.  I got the digger to remove the earth down to but not below the base stones.  These old cottages are only sitting on the earth.  We then dug a trench, about a meter from the house, and laid perforated piping to take the majority of rain water away.

You were given good advice by Paul I am simply endorsing his comments.

I am a little wary about the use of plastic.  These old houses need to breath and plastic retains moisture.

Short answer reduce the source of the problem and deal with the inside later, it will be cheaper in the end.

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Posted by John Rodney - 3 years ago


If I did not something about dry stone dykes I would not understand your reference to the term, tilt.  For the layman I think a more understandable description could be,,,,,,,,,,The base should be wider than the top of the wall giving  the impression of both sides of the wall a sloping/tilting aspect.  I believe the technical term for this is "batter"

I agree with you, regarding the beauty of stone dykes.  Apart from the obvious practical use their longevity is to be applauded, a wonderful innovation.  Their claim to fame, of course, is the fact they are not built withe mortor of any kind.  They are able to accomadate the natural movement of the earth.  Which of course is the reason for many of them lasting hundreds of years.  A visit to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Pennines and Scotland as a whole will prove this.

Adrian certainly knew what he was doing.

Posted by itinerant child-414831 - 3 years ago

Hi Plouyepaul,Message received and I off course remember your good lady,you have a real gem there.

Feel free to send me your email address or mobile number by private message and I will be in touch next time I pass through that area.


Jamie xx

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Posted by walnut72 - 3 years ago

Hi thanks for all your replies, however it is built into a sizeable bank at the rear, half the height of the house, digging out is just not a possibility.

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Posted by vivaofsnape - 3 years ago

As plouyepaul has said you need to treat it from the outside. I had water ingress into a sous-sol and treated it by digging a French drain and then bitumen and metalised waterproofing plastic and finaly the dimpled plastic sheeting  "protection soubassement". It worked.

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Posted by plouyepaul - 3 years ago

Sorry Jamie, forgot to add - we are between Plouyé and Huelgoat (29690), My wife Bev is yorkshire pudding and used to work at the charity shop in Poullaouen, I'm sure you'll remember her. If you're ever passing our way please let us know and hopefully you'll stop by, maybe have lunch with us. I (Paul) have several things I would like to discuss with you regarding a stone building that is starting to collapse (lost its roof in 1987) and other subjects. You'd be most welcome.

Peace, love and light in return, Paul & Bev xx

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Posted by plouyepaul - 3 years ago

Hi walnut72,

Your only possible cure would be to dig out the earth on the outside and instal a 'french drain', this technique is well covered on the web with lots of Youtube videos etc. Anything you do on the inside will simply delay the inevitable and is like throwing good money after bad!

There are several barrier systems available to prevent water entering a wall from the outside but these all depend heavily on drainage being created as in the 'french drain'. This is deinitely something you can cure yourself, not having the ability to work like a navvy might be a problem. I wouldn't recommend bringing in machinery to do this work, pressure on the ground can be transferred to the walls along with vibration, stability of the wall can be compromised resulting in collapse, not what you want!

Materials are basic and cheap although an appropriate vehicle will be needed to collect them, if you need to get things delivered order them all in one go if possible, sand, gravel, drainage pipe etc is either very awkward or heavy to transport. If you order materials as you need them delivery charges may surpass the cost of the materials themselves, all of which can be left outside in any weather. Don't forget to factor in the removal of soil, only half will be needed to backfill, the rest will need a home, advertise as a giveaway and someone will surely need it locally and will take it away gratis.

Work smart not hard nd plan everything well to reduce workload to a minimum.

Hope that helps, Paul