• Cellar Tanking Systems and Basement Conversions
  • Wet Rot and Specialist Dry Rot Treatments
  • High Pressure Damp Proof Course Injection
  • Same day 1 hour return Woodworm Spray Treatments
  • Wet Rot and Specialist Dry Rot Treatments
  • Condensation and Black Spot Mould Treatments
  • Cellar Tanking Systems and Basement Conversions
  • Wet Rot and Specialist Dry Rot Treatments
  • Same day 1 hour return Woodworm Spray Treatments
We want to show you how to turn a damp cellar into a basement conversion,
so you can gain an extra useful room in your home.

Basement Conversions & Cellar Tanking Slidehow

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Basement Conversions
including Cellar Tanking Systems

By far the most complicated protection against damp is a cellar tanking system. Any bricks below the damp course which is set at the ground floor level must be considered to be damp. A basement Conversion can only be completed after the cellar tanking system has been completed and the room is waterproof.

The pictures show what a cellar can look like when it is completed. We have included several sets of 4 photo's showing a basement conversion from start to finish. A cellar may start out damp, smelly and musty with areas of mould growing on the walls and in some cases ponding or pooling of water on the floors, but we can turn this wasted space into a useful room.

As all of the bricks in a cellar are below ground floor level they would all need treating. To prevent to build up of water pressure behind a wall, the water is allowed through, but is caught behind a thick plastic sheet and is guided into a sump to be pumped away.


*****There are 4 stages to a basement conversion

 

1 The cellar 'Brown' or 'Dirty' phase.
This is how a cellar can look when we arrive. It's usually damp and possibly mouldy with a musty smell being given off by the damp bricks and the damp wood. The room looks dark and feels cold. You may not imagine at this stage that the room could become so clean and inviting. A basement conversion needs to include air flow for the condensation, hidden timber preservation as well as damp proofing.

We will fit the cellar sump, cellar pump and cellar drainage system at this brown stage. Extra's may include having the floor lowered and walls removed to increase the basement conversions space.

2 The cellar 'Blue' phase
The cellar walls, floor and vaulted ceiling are covered with a blue plastic sheeting known as a cellar tanking material which is made by Isola Platon. This is held onto the cellar wall, floors and vaulted ceilings by large black brick plugs sealed with a blue seal.

All of the cellar tanking materials are sealed to form the tanking system, which is designed to keep the water out of the room. Any water leaking into the cellar hits the tanking material and is guided to the sump to be pumped outside. Battens are fixed to these black plug heads.

We test the cellar tanking material seals, the cellar sump and the cellar pump with water. This is the cellar tanking system phase completed.

3 The cellar 'White' phase

This is when the basement conversion starts. Plasterboards and floorboards are fixed to the battens which turn the cellar into a clean white colour. Services are hidden behind these boards and room looks clean and straight for the first time.

4 The cellar 'Pink' phase
The cellar is plastered to a skim finish and skirting can be fitted if required. The plaster dries pink or a light brown. When the plaster has dried it can be painted.

Call Aquarius free for a free survey:
0800 0730 415

serving the Greater West Midlands for over 10 years Including Manchester, Leamington Spa and Shrewsbury for example.

 

see our basement conversion examples

 

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The cellar tanking processes shown in the pictures

 

The whole cellar is cleaned and coated in a strong thick blue plastic sheeting known as cellar tanking which is made by Isola Platon. The cut edges need to be connected using a special dark blue tape or rope which seals the sheets together and makes the cellar tanking water tight.

Special sealed plugs are used to hold the Platon to the cellar walls which allow battens to be attached to them. The plasterboards are then screwed to the battens. Notice that the blue sealing rope seals the hole that is made for the black plug.

Air flow can be linked to behind the blue cellar tanking sheets and into the cellar to remove the build-up of any condensation. Electrical extractor systems can be fitted at an extra cost. As with all electrical items, extractors usually carry a 12 month manufacturer’s warranty.

A staircase is added later over the sealed stairs. A thicker tape that looks like flashband is used over the Platon tape or rope seals in key joints, such as the joints from the cellar floor to the cellar walls, the vaulted ceilings to the cellar walls, external services such as gas or water pipes and every step where the woods or flooring may rub against the plastic and damage it.

The photo's lower down demonstrate the difficult vaulted ceilings that some cellars have. One coat or bonding is used to shape the ceiling before the plastering can take place.

As there is a space between the waterproof system and the plaster which forms an insulation from the cold walls making the room feel warmer.

New cellar plug points can be set into this void and you may also notice an internet cable wire on the left wall. The customers did not know that we were building them some cupboards to hide the old gas and electric supplies, this was carried out free of charge.

*****These photo’s show a number of key features
***** of a basement conversion:


  1. the plastered vaulted cellar ceilings
  2. the electricity and supplies hidden in cupboards
  3. the pipes and wires hidden behind the plasterboards
  4. the air supply to the cellar from outside
  5. new plugs points and new lighting if required
  6. new doors or carpentry made to measure
  7. new radiators being fitted
  8. the large shelf
  9. wall boards so enable heavy shelves or wall mountings
  10. the skirting boards
  11. new stairs cases built over the brick stairs
  12. emergency lighting with battery back up
  13. in some cases a fire exit window (preferred by us)
  14. in some cases, new floors and insulated walls
  15. and the floor access to the sump pump

Call Aquarius free for a free survey:
0800 0730 415

serving the Greater West Midlands for over 10 years Including Manchester, Leamington Spa and Shrewsbury for example.

 

see our basement conversion examples

 

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Underneath the basement conversion is the cellar tanking system collecting any water that is leaking through the walls and guiding it to the underground sump pump which can pump the water out from the cellar to the outside automatically.

The cellar staircase has been built over the blue cellar tanking system because the bricks are below ground level and they are assumed to be damp. Now the damp is being guided into the sump pump, but all you can see is a new stair case, plastered walls and a plastered ceiling, right up to the entry door to the cellar.

Some of our photos were taken the day after the plastering of the basement was completed. The cellar vaulted ceiling has many layers of bonding under the plaster and both will take several days to dry.

Extensions are being used in this case as the electricians minor works certificate will be the last test before the completion of the basement conversion. A new modern consumer unit was added as there were 2 new fuses required for the pump and the cellar plug points.

The customer is now using the converted basement as a study and play area. Warm, dry and peaceful, the new cellar has added another dimension to the house. This basement conversion is now a useful and desirable space that doesn't smell or worry the owner any more.


*****Customers have used their basement conversions for;


  1. wine cellars
  2. an home office where privacy and quiet was paramount
  3. a solicitors for business document storage
  4. gym rooms
  5. a display area for collectables
  6. an apartment to rent out in the city centre
  7. a home cinema
  8. a kitchen dining room
  9. a bedroom with a walk in wardrobe and
  10. some just wanted an extra sitting room

Call Aquarius free for a free survey:
0800 0730 415

serving the Greater West Midlands for over 10 years Including Manchester, Leamington Spa and Shrewsbury for example.

 

see our basement conversion examples

 

back to the top

 

Natural light can guided into the basement by added using sun tubes if there is no direct access to sunlight. These are tubes of reflective material which direct any light from the outside onto a receiving dish on the cellar ceiling or walls.

Whether you have some specific use in mind or you just want to stop the smells from the cellar invading your house, an Aquarius Timber basement conversion using Isola Platon systems will give you peace of mind.

As Triton Approved Contractors, we can offer you insurance backed guarantees. A £50 10-year product or material guarantee which covers the products ability to wear against normal ground solutions and materials or an additional 20% of cost, 10-year workmanship guarantee for the tanking system. As with most electrical items, the pump carries a 12 month warranty and is not included within this materials guarantee.

 

How can a damp cellar be turned into a useful and desirable room?

 

The dirt below the outside ground level is going to be wet. Bricks, mortar, cement based products such as normal concrete will not hold this water back for long. These cellar floor and wall problems are very common as the bricks and mortar will allow the dirty water to pass into the cellar creating damp areas, raising the moisture levels and allowing dry rots or wet rots to flourish.

 

If there is a wooden floor above, this can soon be attacked by infestations such as woodworm, dry rot or wet rots. We see so many dangerous floors that are rotten that span across a deep cellar. The first signs of a problem could be the smell coming from the cellar and your rotting timber floor.

 

We recommend that ventilation is used rather than covering the cellar ceiling as rots prefer the damp voids that are created by burying timbers behind plaster boards. We would ensure that there is a good flow of air to the joists between the cellar ceiling and the floorboards above using air bricks before we fit a plasterboard cellar ceiling.

 

We could have had so much work over the last 10 years if we could find a cheaper method of curing damp in a cellar. The following products or techniques will not work below ground level:

 

  • cellar sprays
  • pastes
  • tar on the cellar walls and floor
  • waterproof paints on the cellar floor
  • spray sealant on the cellar walls and floor
  • epoxy resins on the cellar floors and steps
  • waterproof render on the cellar floor or walls
  • any plaster products no matter how thick in the cellar
  • dpm or a sealed plastic shell without a cellar sump pump

 

The only effective cure for damp below ground level including cellars, basements, uneven ground, houses built into the side of hill or a buried damp course is a tanking system with a drainage system and a sump pump.

 

*****A tanking system may last 30 years if:

 

  • the correct standard materials have been used
  • each plug and sheet join has been correctly sealed
  • the sheets have not punctured during or after fitting
  • it is connected to a working sump pump
  • the voids are properly ventilated
  • the room is properly ventilated
  • all of the cellar cables having been protected
  • its been fitted by trained cellar tanking engineers
  • using qualified plumbers and electricians
  • using skilled carpenters and plasterers
  • and the cellar pump is serviced every year by qualified cellar tanking engineer
  • a normal company 10 year guarantee is provided

 

Annual Pump Services

 

We should be called to service you sump and pump annually to keep the guarantee up to date. We will open the sump and clear any debris, check the operational effectiveness of the pump system and the plumbing, change the battery and check for any limestone build-up.

 

We are now recommending a 6 month service with a limestone wash to be used on an annual basis to prevent the pumps internal parts from solidifying due to a limestone build up.

******Cellar Tanking systems are officially known as Type C
***** Cavity Drainage Waterproofing Systems

 

A cellar tanking system or Cavity Drainage System domestic properties with up to significant quantities of water that would normally not allow the room to be used.

The main benefits are:

 

  • They are Reliable; Sumps hold large amounts of water, the pumps can remove the water outside through a welded 1 1/2" plumbing system. If the power fails a battery backup system can keep the pump working until the battery needs recharging and there are back up alarms to alert you if all of these fail, allowing you to manually empty the cellar tanking system sump pump.

  • Easy Maintenance; The drainage system can be flushed and cleaned washing and silt build up to the sump tank. The sump cover can be removed allowing access to the sump pump.

  • Insulation Properties; The space between the tanking system and the basement conversion which is as thick as the battens or number of battens used, provides air spaces to increase heat and sound insulation. This void can have added insulation fitted.

  • 10 year lifetime; BBA approved Non-degradable materials that can have an insurance backed 10 year guarantee.

 

We can turn that scary damp dungeon into a useful and desirable room that will become a feature, not torture.

 

Triton sump and pump services are usually £75.00 plus a lime wash if it is required at around £75.00 and they take around an hour. If the pump is working hard, the service intervals may need to be reduced. As with most electrical items, the pump carries a standard 1 year manufacturers warranty.

 

Call Aquarius free for a free survey:
0800 0730 415

serving the Greater West Midlands for over 10 years Including Manchester, Leamington Spa and Shrewsbury for example.

 

see our basement conversion examples

 

back to the top

 

The ideal basement conversion for a chief fire officers daughters bedroom
    vaulted ceilingcellar stairssump pumpdrainage from sump pump
    The progress of a basement conversion, right wall archway and shelf

      A cellar in progress

    1. Day 1, the cellar in the brown to blue phase
    2. A cellar in the blue phase with battens
    3. The cellar is being plasterboarded
    4. The finished arch wall in the cellar with the consumer unit hidden in a cupboard.
    vaulted ceilingcellar stairssump pumpdrainage from sump pump
    The progress of a basement conversion, window and ledge

      A light well in the cellar.

    1. An existing fire exit window at the start
    2. The blue tanking material is covered by plasterboards. Note that the joins are
      sealed with 6 inch wide, thick sticky tape.
    3. The window wall has been decorated
    4. The window wall in use and the light well with the window are providing light into the room.
    vaulted ceilingcellar stairssump pumpdrainage from sump pump
    The progress of a basement conversion, walk in wardrobe

      A cellar in progress

    1. This cellar had some useful storage areas
    2. The blue tanking sheets are applied to the walls, the vaulted ceiling and the floor using platon 10mm black brick plugs.
    3. Battens are attached to the platon brick plugs
    4. Plasterboards are attached to battens,
      the room is plastered and in this case
      a door was made to measure for this room.
    cellar beforecellar tanking systemcellar after plasteringa decorated cellar
    The progress of a basement conversion, the access stairs

      A cellar in progress

    1. The cellar stairs before the steps
    2. Battening over the cellar steps
    3. A new bespoke cellar stair case
    4. The cellar stairs after decoration
    vaulted ceilingcellar stairssump pumpdrainage from sump pump
    The progress of a basement conversion, the heart of the tanking system, the sump and pump access cover

      A cellar in progress

    1. Access to the automatic cellar sump system,
    2. Cellar sump system being hidden under the floor
    3. The white 'plasterboard' cellar phase
    4. The finished cellar in use immediatly
    cellar beforetanking systemcellar after plasteringdecorated cellar
    The progress of a basement conversion, a vaulted room

      A cellar in progress

    1. The cellar before or brown phase
    2. The cellar during the blue phase
    3. The cellar after plastering or pink phase
    4. The cellar after the pink decoration
    cellar beforecellar tanking systemcellar after plasteringa decorated cellar
    The progress of a basement conversion, the vaulted and kited access stairs

      A cellar in progress

    1. The cellar stairs before
    2. The cellar stairs during the work
    3. The cellar stairs after plastering
    4. The cellar stairs after decoration
    work in progresscellar plugs and cable linefinished staircasesealed sump pump
    Basement conversion features include a new stair case, shelves, cupboards and maintenance covers

      A cellar in progress

    1. A cellar tanking system blue phase
    2. Cellar electric and internet cable wires
    3. A new cellar stair case completed
    4. The cellar sump pump service access
    sun tunnel to light up dark corners

    • A natural sun/light tunnel in a dark corner of the cellar where the sun was not in the line of sight of the cellar.

    Basement Conversions or Cellar Tanking Surveys

     

    this is what the surveyor will be looking for:

     

    1. Wood and water do not mix, any wood in a wet room like a cellar will require treating
    2. Ventilation in the cellar or basement will reduce the build-up of moisture in the air
    3. Is there any ponding or pooling of water on the cellar floor at any time during the year
    4. Are the cellar walls stable. If there is a step supporting the walls, can they be reduced.
    5. Is there sufficient ceiling height in the cellar or will the basement floor need to be lowered
    6. A tanking system with plasterboards will reduce the size of the cellar by 50~80mms when fitted
    7. A floor sump will collect the water in the cellar, then a pump will remove the water outside
    8. Vaulted cellar ceilings can be treated and plastered using special methods
    9. A cellar can be enclosed in a waterproof coating, called a tanking or drainage system
    10. The decorated basement will look like a normal room in every way

    A typical cellar would cost approximately:

     

    1. £6,997 for the cellar tanking system, cellar sump pump and plastering for a 4x4M cellar
    2. A battery back up and second pump would be an extra £1,297
    3. A vaulted main cellar room ceiling would add £997 to the cost or £297 for a flat ceiling
    4. A cellar's brick stair case, extra tanking and new wooden stair case adds £997 to the cost
    5. A new 4x4M concrete floor in the cellar would add around £1,597 to the cost
    6. A small consumer unit for the cellar electricity supply requirements should cost around £497
    7. Usually the bigger additional cellar conversion costs are the bespoke customer requests
    8. Some cellars will have strange building features that make the cellar tanking process difficult
    9. We usually charge £75 for a local Triton Isola Platon cellar sump pump inspection
      and around £75 for a limestone wash. These are required to guarantee the pump.
    10. The 10 year insurance backed cellar product failure guarantee is around £50
    11. The up to 10 year insurance backed cellar service guarantee is 20% of the invoiced price,
      this covers you in case the cellar tanking system fails due to incorrect fitting
      and we are not available to repair the tanking system.

    Obviously, each cellar would have to be priced individually,
    but we think that this is a good rough guide.

     

    Call Aquarius free for a free survey:
    0800 0730 415

    serving the Greater West Midlands for over 10 years
    Including Manchester, Leamington Spa and Shrewsbury for example.

     

    see our basement conversion examples

     

    back to the top

     

    cellar tanking systemscellar tanking systems 2