Case Study Nero Brewery

Architects Practice, Lyons-Seaman-Hoare

Case Study, Nero Brewery, Hartney Whitley

Old Buildings sometimes need a pragmatic approach when it comes to certain inherent characteristics that are to be expected. Add to that the second flood in a two year period, the question is, Which floor do you choose to replace your existing damaged floor when you can not guarantee no damp issues remain?


February 2009. Winchester Hardwood Flooring Ltd were contacted by architects for help and advice involving the replacement of flood damaged floors throughout the ground floor area of their practice. The building, a former Brewery before conversion had a ground floor area in excess of 350 m2 and set 800 mm lower than the outside ground level.

This 128 year old building had been treated for rising damp in the walls, this was evident by injection signs behind the high skirting. Twice in the last two years, extensive flooding was caused by a failed street main, now fully replaced by the local council. On each occasion, the last being six months ago the existing wood floors were totally submersed in soiled water. Not Good!

Winchester Hardwood Flooring Ltd carried out an investigative survey and after which it was agreed the existing floor was not suitable for reuse due to distortion and health reasons relating to the soiled water ingress.The screed and walls were showing excessively high moisture levels.

Taking up the existing oak and waiting for the screed to dry was not an option as the client did not want to entertain that idea. The offices were fully occupied and the logistics of vacating for an un specifiable time would have been a major problem. The pragmatic view of the Architect was that realistically the walls were not going to dry to the standard we would normally require and neither would the screed.

The method of installation specified by WHF was agreed and the installation was awarded to Bush & Kimber, a Winchester based company recommended by WHF. Obviously a very robust floor was required as a replacement to give the best possible resistance to the moisture conditions both present and possibly into the future. It was agreed that any materials used could not be guaranteed given the circumstance in which they were to be used.

Cathedral 21 mm x 160 mm plank flooring was chosen for the replacement floor, to be secret screwed to a floating batten system incorporating a 2mm foam underlay, sheet dpm under the floated battens and rigid insulation between. The insulation being 5 mm thicker than the battens meant that when the floor was screwed down the battens would lift leaving an air gap below for airflow across the room.


An early Sunday morning start, Ben cooks Breakfast for the lads

The 300mm high skirting was fixed to battens forming a void. Air vents were cut into the skirting at intervals to facilitate air circulation throughout the floor to disburse moisture build up and help prevent the possibility inset of Dry Rot.

After a lot of cinsideration The floor was finished in Blanchon Environmental oil, the environmentally friendly choice.

With the good working relationship between the installers and the client the whole project went very smoothly and was finished on time as agreed. Most of the installation was completed out of hours, working through the nights for the least obstruction for the practice throughout the day. In an environment of some 80 plus Architects and designers available to criticize on a daily basis, amazingly there was no snagging list presented at the end of the job. What a compliment ! This project was a great opportunity for us to show just how durable Cathedral Flooring can be.


Update 2015

We visited this project in 2012 and were pleased to see the floors had been well maintained and all looking in great condition with no sign at all of moisture related problems.

 Lyons, Sleeman & Hoare.


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