Musty smell under floor boards in my flat, possibly from mould caused by leak in my plumbing

Discussion in 'Plumbers' Talk' started by biggs83, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. biggs83

    biggs83 New Member


    I'm renovating my flat and recently took up the carpet, since then I've noticed a musty stale smell coming from the gaps between the floor boards. Seems to be most intense near where some plumbing is coming up out of the floor, so put 2 + 2 together and thought it might be damp/mould caused by a leak in my plumbing.

    I'm on the 2nd floor with a flat underneath me, so unless it is a dead rat or something, does it seem likely it is a damp issue caused by a leak in my plumbing?

    If so, is this covered by the building maintenance charge or am I liable for any damage caused by plumbing under my floor?

    Its tempting just to cover it up and forget about it, but don't want to face any repair bills in case it causes damage to ceiling on flat below.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated!

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  2. terrymac

    terrymac Well-Known Member

    Worth taking up some floorboards to investigate . Is the smell worse near an external wall ? Depending on what you find, your building insurance or maintenance may cover you.
  3. biggs83

    biggs83 New Member

    Not near an external wall, it is worst from within the soil stack near a party wall. I just finished boxing in the soil stack and insulating it, and the smell is now only coming from the gaps in the floor boards in the attached photo. It is not as bad as it was from the soil stack, so maybe the problem is somewhere in the soil stack as opposed to under my floorboards?

    And yes, I've just built a wall over it!

    Attached Files:

  4. Astramax

    Astramax Well-Known Member

    Sounds an historic problem, leaking waste on bath, basin or toilet even central heating pump or hot water cylinder if you have one.
  5. biggs83

    biggs83 New Member

    Ah, well the white plastic pipe in the photo is the waste from the basin. So good call.

    Do you think it could be fixed in situ by cutting out the floor board that goes under the steel u-track and accessing it that way? Or will I need to take down the partition to allow better access?

    Thanks for your thoughts
  6. terrymac

    terrymac Well-Known Member

    Have you spoken to the occupants of the flat below yours ,to find out if any water damage / staining of their ceilings ? It sounds like the area of the soil stack is suspect ,and if it takes waste from other flats as well as yours ,then its a communal problem. Are the other flats rented or privately owned ?
  7. biggs83

    biggs83 New Member

    All the other occupants are tenants, I've knocked on the downstairs door a few times lately but there is no answer. I do have the email of the owner of the flat though. Haven't wanted to mention it in case I have to shell out for repairs, if it was my plumbing that was causing it.

    Its an old victorian terrace built in 1850s, renovated about 15 years ago.

    I suppose best thing to do is cut away the floorboard near the basin waste and have a gander just to eliminate the possibility that it is my plumbing thats causing it?
  8. terrymac

    terrymac Well-Known Member

    You could certainly lift floorboard/s and have a look. If your plumbing is causing damage to the flat below ,the sooner it is sorted the better ,and would likely cost less.
  9. WillyEckerslike

    WillyEckerslike Well-Known Member

    You might have an escape of foul gases but not leaking any fluids so you get the smell and downstairs doesn't have a damp problem - dodgy joint into the stack maybe?
    You could cut through the board neatly with an oscillating multi tool but only if you're happy that you're not going to hit anything with it.
  10. biggs83

    biggs83 New Member

    Thanks for your replies, I will def cut the board and have a look while I've got the carpet up. My multi cutter has just packed up though, so on a side note don't bother with Lumberjack brand tools!

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