A Diary of a Barn Conversion in the Limousin – Part 5

A Diary of a Barn Conversion in the Limousin – Part 5

A Miserable Month…

That ‘turning point’ that I talked about last month, well it turned out to be more of a roundabout…! We have had a miserable month due to the excessive rain we’ve had. The barn is sat at the bottom of a slight incline and so all the rain coming off the field has been seeping into the barn through a couple of weak spots in the stone walls below ground level and has been filling up one of our trenches on a daily basis. Initially we wondered if we had dug down to the water table or maybe an underground spring ran through the barn and unfortunately until we could establish where the water was coming from and stop it, we couldn’t go about the next stage of filling in the trench with hardcore and concrete ready for the foundation walls.

After many days of pumping out the water which reached around 50cm each time, we were finally able to locate the weak spots where the water was leaking in. In front of the barn there had been a narrow pathway made out of rocks embedded in mud and it appeared that the water was seeping between the rocks and through the mud. It was then seeping through mud again below ground level straight into our trench. Having discovered this we decided to remove the whole pathway and lay down a concrete gully in which we embedded a drainage channel. After 2 days worth of work doing this we felt very proud of our efforts…right up until the next morning when we returned to find the trench full of water again. I have to admit that at this point I did have a good cry and a tantrum as I felt thoroughly miserable and didn’t know what we could do next. Tantrum over, after a lot more assessing and prodding around we found that although the new gully and drainage was working a treat for water falling in that area, the problem was the rain seeping into the ground before this point and was effectively going under all our hard work.

Eventually we accepted that we were not going to be able to stop all the water from finding a way in and so after seeking other opinions we have tackled it by making provisions for the water to flow straight out the other side of the barn. We have laid down a land drain in the trench which is a corrugated flexible pipe with small holes in. This allows any build up of water to fill the pipe and flow out at its exit point which we have made at the back of the barn. It is quite a way below ground level and so Stuart has dug a long, very deep trench using a mini-digger in the back garden to take the water so that it can’t fill up and flow back into the barn. As an extra precaution he dug another trench across the front of the barn and we have laid another land drain to hopefully take away some of the excess water that runs off the field. I am very pleased to say that it all seems to have done the trick as we have had yet more heavy rain and there has been no build up of water since…hooray…!

Before we removed the original floor that was in the barn there was no damp or water rising up, the concrete we removed was bone dry even with no damp proof course. The chances are if we had just pumped the water out and got our foundations in before the next rainfall we would never had had a problem, but it would have always niggled away knowing we had this issue, so although I wasn’t happy at the time I’m now grateful that we had the rain when we did to highlight the problem so we were able to deal with it at this early stage even if it has taken all month to get there!

Now at the end of May we have the hardcore down in the trenches ready for the ready mix concrete company to come next week and have prepared the area in the hangar for the concrete base for our workshop and shed to be done at the same time.

Sorry, no new photos this month I’m afraid due to an ongoing technical issue between our camera and PC after it was completely frazzled during a storm…!

Fingers crossed June will be more productive, and what do you know the sun has just come out too…!

Lorraine Wallace

Diary: Month 1 Click here
Diary: Month 2 Click here
Diary: Month 3 Click here
Diary: Month 4 Click here

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