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02-12-2009, 09:34   #1
mpnuttall
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Hi there

We've recently moved in to a victorian mid-terrace in Norton Lees. Generally, it keeps fairly warm, but the living room has a cellar beneath and never really warms up properly.

The cellar has an open coal shoot - which I'm concerned about sealing up due to the ventilation - so cold air flows in and lets the rain in too, which I imagine doesn't help with the cold.

The only insulation in place is about 10mm of what looks like bog-standard loft-type insulation (though I don't know one insulation from another, so may be wrong) between the cellar ceiling joists, which are 20mm deep.

Any advice on what I can do to keep the cellar ventilated but improve the insulation and keep things warmer upstairs?

Thanks very much for any help, Mark
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02-12-2009, 10:13   #2
Bonjon
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What about a false wall infront of the coal shhot, with a sump + pump below the coal shoot if you have issues with water getting in?
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02-12-2009, 10:22   #3
mpnuttall
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Thanks Bonjon

The coal shoot is actually a grill in the floor outside. I did wonder about trying to cover it with a paving slab, sat on a couple of spacers to let it breath still. That way it would keep direct rainfall out, and hopefully some of the wind too. Do you think that would do much?

Cheers, Mark
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02-12-2009, 10:53   #4
Bloomdido
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I covered the chute and installed a fan to blow air out of the cellar through the cover. Worked for me.
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02-12-2009, 11:01   #5
*Wallace*
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpnuttall View Post
Thanks Bonjon

The coal shoot is actually a grill in the floor outside. I did wonder about trying to cover it with a paving slab, sat on a couple of spacers to let it breath still. That way it would keep direct rainfall out, and hopefully some of the wind too. Do you think that would do much?

Cheers, Mark
That's exactly what i did,engineering bricks laid on thier side so the 6 holes are pointing sideways makes a very good ventilated cover.Motar them together so it's secure coal chutes are a burglars best friend in older houses.
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02-12-2009, 11:10   #6
muddycoffee
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Engineering bricks are about 30p each from Wickes.
I've been using them to build a garden wall.
I also have a cellar which has a large coal chute and am about to do this. In the past I have covered it up with boards, during the coldest months but I think I need to do this instead now i've had a bit of practice laying bricks.
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02-12-2009, 11:34   #7
mpnuttall
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Thanks all. Sadly I don't have the height to put engineering bricks in - I have 7cm max height as the grill is right next to the doorstep, and anything more than 7cm would mean you have to step up on to the slab and then back down to the doorstep, which would be a bit odd!

So I'm thinking a slab with something thin running along two edges to raise it (suggestions?) and leaving the front side open (so it'd have about 3cm gap) to let it breath.

Anyone got any better suggestions that wouldn't require me to leave it part-open like this?

Cheers, Mark
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02-12-2009, 11:40   #8
WallBuilder
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I never understand why people seem to think the chute is going to allow huge amounts of rain to get in as I've yet to see that happen unless the guttering is damaged and so you've got a cascade of water falling directly on to the grill cover. Also if you start mucking around trying to cover it then if it is on the pavement as many terraced houses don't have a front garden then i can well imagine the council will take a dim view of you making a trip hazard.
You can pull the old plaster and lath ceiling down in the cellar which is quite a messy job and then fit insulation panels between the joists which does help with cold problems.
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02-12-2009, 11:50   #9
mpnuttall
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Thanks for your reply WallBuilder

The coal chute IS letting water in, that's why I'm looking to cover it. I'm not saying its the only cause of moisture in the cellar but it's a significant contributor.

And I do have a small space at the front of the house - I wouldn't be daft enough to start cementing slabs to a public pavement!

As for the ceiling in the cellar, it doesn't have a plaster and lath ceiling - it just has open joists with the aforementioned insulation slotted between them, held in place with spaced strips of wood. Would covering this with something like chipboard be a good idea? Or will it not make much difference, or affect ventilation too much?

Cheers
Mark
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02-12-2009, 11:58   #10
szb100
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Is your cellar ceiling level with the ground outside?
Our cellar height meant that we could block up the coal chute and install a few air bricks for ventilation.
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02-12-2009, 12:09   #11
muddycoffee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpnuttall View Post

... Would covering this with something like chipboard be a good idea? Or will it not make much difference, or affect ventilation too much?

Cheers
Mark
I would seriously advise that you do not do that. You have to regard a cellar as a damp space and all timber needs as much ventilation as possible or it could go rotten, especially near the outside walls
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02-12-2009, 15:24   #12
WallBuilder
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Some-one I know put down some slabs on their bit of front garden and didn't think to make sure that the water running off them didn't head straight for the coal chute which increased the amount going in, there cellar floor could be an inch deep and they couldn't figure out why.
I have seen some house replace the grating with a thin piece of metal with plenty of holes drilled through it and as cellars tend to get a bit damp I would never put plywood or chipboard on the ceiling joists. There is a type of insulation that comes with what looks like silver foil onit which can be fitted between the joists and I once saw some-one who had managed to get some large polystyrene blocks that also served as an insulator.
Have you checked that the floor boards aren't full of gaps and holes as the drafts coming up through such holes can be evil
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02-12-2009, 17:05   #13
JLB joinery
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leave the coal shoot open otherwise you will end up with wrotting floor joists which is costly to repair. the best thing you can do is lath the ceiling down fit kingspan insulation betwen them and board over the top thats the most appropriate solution.
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02-12-2009, 21:22   #14
retired
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I think you mean cm instead of mm. You say you already have 100mm of insulation installed. If this is a tight fit then it should already be helping with heat loss. Check around the edges as you can have draughts coming up between the ends of the floor boards and brick walls and then under your skirting boards.

I would prefer to fit something like Kingspan of other fire retardent foam in between the joists. Fit a tight as you can between the joists and stick them up to your floor boards with No-Nails or grip fill. Go around the edges and joints with silicone to seal and stop draughts. No need to go overboard with the thickness as this is to stop the cold air rather than heat loss. As for the grate then if it is safe to suspend something like a slab over it I cant see why wouldn't work. How about a couple of pieces of 22mm copper pipe, or if you have the ability to cut the slab then four peices of slab on each corner? Leave some of the joist exposed and dont over board. The joist needs a circulation of air or you will promote rot.

Last edited by retired; 02-12-2009 at 21:24. Reason: Spelling mistake!
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