Series 2 -Episode 9 – Help! My House Is Falling Down
Thursday 04 August 8PM Channel 4
Hull Garden Village house episode of Help My house is falling down on 4oD.
The TV blurb says:
In Hull’s Garden Village, Sarah Beeny revisits a Victorian house that was under attack from tree roots.
Dave, Sharon and their two children were forced out of their handsome five-bedroom Victorian house in Hull when massive cracks started ripping through their newly decorated walls, causing their doorways and windows to get badly bent out of shape. Sarah and her team discovered that huge trees surrounding the house were the likely culprits for the damage. However, the local council did not want them cut down.
A year on, Sarah revisits the family to see what progress they have made
This episode runs as all the other episodes have: a family have bought a house and there’s something wrong with it. This couple bought this house on impulse at auction without a survey. It makes me wonder if they looked at it. Hull’s Garden Suberb was built in 1907 so the houses are over 100 years old and listed.
The windows are metal framed small squares and many of these are broken or cracked and let huge amounts of drafts in. Replacements are not only expensive – it’ll cost about £20k to do the lot, but have to be approved by the council.
Sarah’s suvreying team get to work on the house and look at the bay window leaning away, as well as the drains. The cause of the cracking in the house is the large number of trees nearby. These have sucked up vast amounts of water from under the foundations and the house is sinking which in turn is pulling it apart. Some of the cracks are big enough to put your hand in!
There’s also woodworm upstairs which is dealt with by spraying all the affected wood and removing anything beyond saving.
A smoke test reveals just how leaky the windows are and Sarah recommends some flexible sealer for a temporary repair. After 18 months the windows still haven’t been replaced as they are still in discussions with the council.
The trees have a tree preservation order on them and as such need to have permission granted by the council before they can be removed. Sarah’s surveyors prepare a report which is sent to the council. It takes longer than expected to get an answer but they are given permission to remove some of the trees.
When the trees are removed the ground under the house will start to hydrate again and correct the previous movement. This needs to be measured and cracks filled that form during this process.
Sarah’s building experiment shows the family that a brick built house is able to withstand huge strains and won’t fall down just because of a few trees.
The first visit back is after 6 months and the family have had the drains entirely replaced deep enough not to have root issues again. The house has been rendered and the inside remodelled. It looks like they have a new kitchen and a new bathroom as well as redecoration. This episode unlike the others doesn’t bang on about how little money they have. They did buy the house for a bargain price at auction though.
Sarah encourages them to plant a tree – but one that won’t be a water hog.
Sarah returns after a further year and sees that the grounds outside now have been done and the land level has risen so that the previously exposed manhole is now level with the grass. It’s impressive to see!
A minor point: The TV Blurb says it’s a Victorian house. But the Garden Suberb in Hull was built in 1907 – for workers at Reckitt’s chemical works. This means the house isn’t Victorian.The reign of Queen Victoria was 1837—1901 – so these houses are built after then and are as such would be Edwardian.
It says they bought it for £80 at auction.