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Is a blocked off cellar a problem?

We're in the process of buying a terraced house which was built in 1900, it was originally two back to backs but was converted into one through terrace in 1985.

The cellar under the rear house was preserved. The cellar under the front part has been blocked off and is no longer accessible.

Our survey has identified this and basically suggests it's a decision we have to make as to weather we're happy with the implications of this.

On the face of it it doesn't appear to be a problem, the floor seems sturdy, level and stable and there are no odours or signs of dampness in the lounge (which is the only room above it)

I'd be grateful of professionals opinions on if we should be concerned.

Could there be dampness, mould or even water down there?

Is it common to block a cellar off?

Would it be a problem when we come to resell the property?

Thanks in advance for any responses, much appreciated.

1 Answer from a MyBuilder Architectural Designer

Best Answer


Generally it is good practice with our damp climate to ventilate voids especially if timbers are present. Dampness and mould are one issue that over time can create issues in regard to odours and deterioration of the building fabric. However the real danger is from Dry rot that could potentially thrive in an enclosed semi-damp space. The dry rot can remain undetected for many years and once established it can pass through brickwork and will actively seek fresh timber to attack at a fairly rapid rate. To eradicate an extensive amount of dry rot entails major works of cutting out floors hacking off plaster and treating walls thoroughly as any patch left could potentially start the whole process all over again. All of which can be avoided by providing adequate ventilation to damp voids like cellars. Several Air bricks either side of the void to fresh air would be the simplest way to get ventilation, and also form some access so you can carry out yearly inspections of the void.


Answered 13th Nov 2015

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