Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Where Does Water Come From?

Humidity in Old Houses - part 2

I would like  to thank all of you who sent me sweet messages or left thoughful comments on my health. It turns out to be severe anemia: I'm lacking iron, vitamins B1, B9 and B12 as well as vitamin D. It does explain why I was so tired and also some other symptoms like sore tongue (it took me a while to get to the doctor as I thought it was stupid to say "my tongue hurts!") and many chilblains. But now with the proper medicine, I hope I'll be back to my full self in a few weeks (the doctor said I needed to be patient). Meanwhile, it give me an excuse to enjoy some quiet time in my cottage.

Je suis bien épuisée en ce moment et cela me donne une excuse pour musarder à l'intérieur de mon cottage.

It looks quite cozy, doesn't it? Well, when I bought the house, that same wall looked like that.

C'est assez cozy, hein? Eh bien, cela n'a pas toujours été ainsi.

Yes, it is the same wall! I hope you are admiring the two-toned Sponge Bob walls! And I lived with those walls for a year... I know, I deserve a crown. I wonder where it is.

Admirez les magnifiques murs "Bob l'éponge" en deux tons laissés par les anciens propriétaires! Et oui, j'ai cohabité avec ces murs pendant un an. Je mérite une médaille.

Now the before/after was not one of those easy one that takes a few hard days of work before the full reveal.
There was a little misadventure you may have read about here.

L'avant/après ne s'est pas fait d'un coup de baguette magique, car j'ai rencontré des petits problèmes que vous pouvez découvrir  ici.

Water in the walls!

Now, the first idea that comes to mind is that there's a leak somewhere.

La première idée qui vient à l'esprit quand on découvre de l'eau dans sa maison, c'est qu'il y a une fuite quelque part. Bon, évidemment, une bonne fuite de la baignoire aurait été trop simple.
 This is only my dream bathtub. If you've taken the tour of the house, you know that my bathroom is yellow, orange and green! It might not be pretty, but there's nothing leaking in it. It would have been an easy fix.

The second idea is that there's a problem with the roof. It's usually very difficult to find where the water comes from on the roof. If in doubt, have it check by a professional.

La deuxième idée est qu'il puisse y avoir un problème avec le toit. Ce n'était pas mon cas, puisque l'eau venait d'en-bas. J'ai quand même fait vérifier le toit, ça ne fait pas de mal!

Even though I knew water wasn't coming from the roof in my case, I later had it checked as it's quite old.

Enfin, ce que personne n'aime entendre mais qui s'est avéré vrai pour ma maison: l'humidité ascensionnelle. Les murs des vieilles maisons en pierre sont directement enfoncés dans le sol et lorsque celui-ci est humide, l'eau pénètre dans le mur et remonte en surface pour s'évaporer.

Last, the water can come from the ground. And that is not good! That was what was happening to my cottage.

Being an old stone cottage, walls are built directly into the ground, when a more modern construction would have its wall built on a slab.

You can see on the image above how water can easily go up in that kind of walls. A professor of humidity in an architecture school I then contacted told me stone walls acted like sugar. They "drink" the water (I used syrup in my picture - because water isn't really camera friendly).

Now, it wasn't very good news, but there are different kind of solutions to rising damp. You might want to come back to witness the frightful pictures of the solution I chose! At some point the cottage wasn't very cottage-y!

Thanks for visiting and see you soon,
I'm linking with:
Lavender Garden Cottage          Vintage On A Dime                                                       
  No Minimalist Here            Photobucket                                                 
 Weekend Bloggy Reading                               


  1. Hi Magali,

    Although I am sorry to hear it, I am pleased you got a diagnosis so that you can be treated. I'm sure feeling unwell and not knowing what the matter was must have been upsetting. I hope you will be back in perfect health very soon.

    Well done on the rising damp! What a transformation! So glad you exposed the lovely stone, it looks very cosy indeed.


  2. Hi Magali!!

    I'm so glad that the solution to your health problem was easy to fix. My husband was in a state of passing out at work when we found out that he was anemic. He had to go on the same vitamins as you did and was better in a week.

    Wouldn't it be easy in life that when faced with a problem, as you are dealing with right now with your walls, that the easy/inexpensive way would be nice, instead of the expensive way to fix it happens.

    Here's to hoping that the fixing of the problem is over quickly and that once again you can sit in comfort reading a good magazine/book with a nice hot cup to tea!!

    Take care!!


  3. Un gros chantier pour résoudre ce pb d'humidité, les précédents propriétaires ayant adopté la politique de l'autruche!
    Bises et bon courage.

  4. The stone is so beautiful. It was a lot of hard work, cost, and frustration, but worth it!

    Did they put metal under the stone or pour a new foundation or footings under the stone to prevent the wicking?

  5. Ah, oui, je me souviens de cet été là !!! Mais bon, ce n'est plus qu'un mauvais souvenir.

  6. Magali - somehow, I missed that you were ill! I am glad that they doctor discovered what was wrong and is in the process on helping you recover. So sorry about the water issue in your adorable cottage - I hope there is an easy fix for that, too. My daughter (the former French teacher) is excited to have the opportunity to correspond with you. Hopefully, you two can begin soon.

  7. This is very interesting - will there be a test at end? Ha!

  8. I hope you feel better soon! Very interesting about your water problem but it makes sense after your explanation! Looking forward to your solution! Have a great week! sandy :)

  9. Water problems...yuck! Love your stone walls...gorgeous!!!

  10. Hope you are feeling better soon. I had a B 12 and D deficiency. It is cleared up now and feeling better. Can't wait to see the solution to your water problem.


  11. Oj det var inte bra med fukt så där, av det kan man ju bli sjuk.
    Hoppas verkligen att det ordnar sig för dig. Hoppas också att du blir pigg och i full fart igen
    Ha nu en fin kväll
    kram Meta

  12. I am glad you have an answer to your health problem. I am looking forward to reading about your solution for your water problem. Your cottage is gorgeous.

  13. Thank you, Magali, for your kind comments. We are really happy with it. Wow. I would of thought that a SMEG was so much easier to acquire in Europe. Not so.

    I'm stopping by to leave my comment here, because my blog doesn't let me respond again.

  14. Love the stone.. Feel better !!!!! Thanks for joining my party!!! Deb Vintage On A Dime

  15. Hi Magali,
    I'm glad you have your health problems under control. It's no fun being ill, I know. The stone work is wonderful and I am interested in knowing how you handled your water problem. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your weekend.


  16. Stone walls are so pretty, but I did hear about water problems with them. A lot of farmhouses here in PA are stone houses. They are so charming,and I would love to own one. My hubby says he wouldn't want to own one because of constant up keep of the stone. :( I can't wait to see what you did. Thank you for linking this up to Rustic Restorations Weekend!

  17. All's well that ends well, they say. I hope that is your story. Your wall is very pretty and it was probably very fortuitous that you tore that wall apart. I hope I get to hear the rest of your story. Have a good day.
    Hugs, Cindy

  18. Sorry to hear about the water issue and I hope it is resolved soon. The stone wall in your cottage is beautiful. Feel better soon.
    xx, Sherry

  19. Oh, now I'm curious! I want to hear the sequel to this story. I'm living in an old building too...

    1. The sequel can be found in the post untitled "Locked Out Of Heaven"! Thanks for stopping by.

  20. I am glad found out what was ailing you so that you can begin to feel better. It's never fun to feel bad and not know why.


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