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Options To Avoid Ripping Up Barn Floor?


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#1 jamiehamy

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:17 AM

Hi all,

Working with my architect on plans for the conversion (assuming the mortgage comes good - still waiting!).

The floor is laid with sets and completely uneven - it rises towards the back wall (at the far end of the pic). The architect has suggested taking it all up and doing the hardcore, sand, dpm, concrete, insulation and screed (for ufh) method.

There are two things bothering me.

1) I don't see the point in ripping up a completely solid floor unless we need to - are there any options that would allow us to use the floor to still give us a level and allow UFH to be installed but minimise the build up (thus retaining the highish ceiling)?

2) If we have to take the floor up, are there any options to reuse the bricks in any part of the building as a 'feature floor' but in a way that will work with UFH? I'd love the entrance to be bricks, but would want them to benefit from heating - I've not found a website that really talks about this.

I've attached a pic to give an idea of what is there.

Thoughts appreciated!

Thanks, J

Attached File  Barn_interior1.JPG   46.33K   9 downloads

#2 jsharris

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:28 AM

You won't meet building regs insulation requirements unless you insulate the floor, plus UFH won't work unless the floor is insulated (the heat will just go down into the ground underneath). That means either laying a new raised, insulated, floor, or digging the existing floor out.

If you want to keep the current floor level then I think you have no choice but to take the floor up, dig out, fit a DPC, insulation and UFH, then look at whether you can re-use the setts. The UFH experts can give better advice than I on whether the setts would work OK over UFH. My gut feeling is that they would, but with a slow response time, due to their thermal mass.

There are structural issues associated with digging out to get the depth needed, as you've probably already worked out, so you may need to compromise and accept a slightly raised level for the new floor.

#3 joiner

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:32 AM

Best also to read through some past threads on both UFH and floor insulation. Eg...

http://www.ebuild.co...elotexkingspan/

http://www.ebuild.co...-our-extension/

...and more. :)

#4 jamiehamy

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:37 AM

Thanks. I had wondered about dpm, a self levelling concrete screed over the sets,, insulation, then screed with UFH, but will probably be too high.

I'm also keen to retain the sets somewhere in or outside the building, so is def looking like taking them up and reuse elsewhere. Will speak to the UFH chaps in due course and see if we can incorporate somewhere.

What a lovely job taking them up will be! Will just take them up and level from there, the existing founds are not particularly deep, so don't want to cause any issues.

Edited by joiner, 24 April 2013 - 09:54 AM.
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#5 MalcolmDonohue

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:42 AM

Nu-Heat ( no link! ) do a smart thin profile UFH in a cement based board. Lo-pro10. That on top of a hi-performance thermal base would be my suggestion.

The wonderful thing about old sets is that they are never the same depth as each other, so re-using these on top of something flat is not going to work.

You've got a wonderful looking patio in the making! Set the sets in some slushy concrete mix, 'wiggling' them in down to the correct depth as you move along. Work in small areas shuttering the concrete mix to avoid it escaping.

Edited by joiner, 24 April 2013 - 11:17 AM.
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#6 temp

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 01:11 PM

Looks like a considerable slope on that floor down to a center drain. Would loose a lot of headroom just trying to make it level without taking them up.

I don't think sets would be my choice for a finished floor indoors. I mean hard enough keeping grout betwen tiles/stone clean. I'd go with Malcolms idea for the patio.

#7 jamiehamy

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 02:34 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. The Nu-heat solution looks intersting, particularly for upstairs, great pointer.

Will get them taken up and keep them for outside. Architect will be pleased i'm sure - he is keen we retain a high ceiling.

No idea how they are bedded, will try get a look soon.

#8 MalcolmDonohue

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 03:47 PM

interested to know on the current bedding. Possibly a simple lime mortar (As in the walls?) Should by now be very porous and crumbly, suggest you prise out one that is already damaged and they will pull off one by one. Great job!

A worry I have for you is that back raised corner. Is that bedrock under there, hence the raised level? You will probably encounter the foundations of the wall there as you dig down, which will need some remedial work and damp proofing.

Looks like you have some damp issues in the walls.

If you really want to have an area of sets inside at the entrance ( Bringing the outside inside a bit ) and you have lots of spare cash :wacko: you could segregate a batch of setts of regular surface size (say 100mmx 200mm), then fetch them to a stone mason for him to cut the tops off to a regular depth of say 30mm. Then you lay those on top of your newly excavated floor with slab and insulation, in rows 100mm width, with space for UFH pipes in between and covered with a nice co-ordinating mortar. With the pipes closer to the surface and not under the setts you should feel the benefit.

Another idea is to get your mason to cut as slim a top slice as he dare then set these on top of a UFH system seated in metal diffusion plates then you also get sideways diffusion of the heat under the setts themselves. I would still line up the setts to run either side of the pipe runs tho' so that you get max space heating potential from the UFH.

Clean up a few sets and polish them to see what hues you have and decide whether it is worth all the effort. Could well be marvelous, maybe not worth the effort and expense.

#9 joiner

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:09 PM

Raised part? If the building's been used for cattle then it could be for run-off of cow pee. Once had my workshop in an old cattle shed and all the benches and machine stands had to be built-up one side to get them level.

#10 jamiehamy

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:57 PM

Great suggestion Malcolm, I will see how feasible it it for us. Thankfully the chap who lives in the reently self built house just down the road is a stonemason and really helpful.

The right hand side of the floor is all raised as it was a cattle barn or some sort, but the back corner is certainly higher. One the sets are up, we'll bring the floor up to the level of that corner, rather than dig down further - .

The damp there is very likely caused by the earth on the other side - it's very slightly underbuilt on that back wal, although probably was not built that way, rather the back was built up after - one of the firt tasks is to bring the outside ground level down. The rest of the walls look okay

In term of damp cure,I've asked the SE and my architect what they plan - SE is not keen/convinced of Chemical DP, and sounds like they are planning having the floor dpm run a short way up the walls and linking in somehow. We've not discussed in detail, on this apect yet (we've not commnced detail design). The structure will be timber framed inside, but the original walls will bear the roof and upstairs floor as the SE is happy they are suitable, subject to a timber survey.

Cheers, j





#11 jsharris

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:06 PM

Chemical DP is a complete and total waste of money. There is now a fair bit of evidence that it has little or no effect on damp in walls, and there are better and cheaper ways of tackling damp problems, such as lowering ground levels and removing things like impervious cement render.

Most damp problems in older buildings have arisen from things done in the earlier part of the 20th century, when all manner of abominations were applied to traditional buildings. If returned back to the way they were when built, then 99% of these older buildings will be damp free.

#12 jamiehamy

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 10:40 AM

Yeah, I doubt we'll go with CDP. Once we get the ground levels lowered at the back, it shoudl help. The other damp looking stains we think are not damp, but a consequence of having a horse or cow's backside pointing at the wall with inevitable consequences!

The plans we have indicate the walls will be rendered, much to my horror - why cover up the lovely brick work and just ask for damp problems in the future? I met the planning officer today and he seems open to a non-material variation to retain the exposed brick work and lime wash (as it it today), thus retaining the character and helping avoid damp problems in future.

#13 joiner

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 10:47 AM

Sometimes helps to get the Conservation Officer on board if you want to retain any 'historic characteristics' of an old building that wouldn't otherwise come within their remit. But that said, it's often a case of be careful what you wish for because some of them can be more bother than they're worth. :angry: