Basement Waterproofing for St Michael’s College in Leeds


Client: Liv Group

Products Used: Cavity Drainage Membrane, Perimeter Drainage Channel, Sump & Pump

Timberwise Leeds had been instructed to carry out timber and damp survey to a very large brick-built former school building, known as St Michaels. An eerily derelict property the depth of history and unusual tales surrounding this school which remain a common topic amongst the people of Woodhouse, Leeds today. Formerly acquired as St Johns Lodge, the school was opened in 1905 by two young Jesuit priests who were invited to the city to provide a Catholic education in the city by the Bishop of Leeds, William Gordon

Did you know?

A common rumour told by former pupils of St Michaels surrounds the mysterious death of one of the pupils at the school. The school featured a boxing ring, which is where the incident is supposed to have occurred. As with all school stories, the element of truth is always in question, nevertheless, the boxing room has since re-opened, which has once again opened the door to the mystery room that still features the four corner posts of an old boxing ring.   

The property was surmounted with a blue slate roof, their additions to the rear with flat roofs, which Timberwise understood were to be demolished. During our external inspection, Timberwise noted that the roof was suffering from defects – missing slates, lead work, defective gutters and rainwater pipes, all key indications of a penetrating damp problem.

Timberwise visited the site to carry out an inspection regarding dampness to the ground floor and basement walls. A cursory inspection to the exposed roof timbers revealed signs of damp and decay affecting the roof timbers, truss bearing ends common rafters and associated wall plates. Unfortunately, access to the roof area was restricted due to the presence of bats, and further general inspection was not possible due to access limitations and underdrawings to the main roofing timbers. Following a thorough inspection to the ground, first and second floors it became apparent that a dry rot outbreak had progressed extensively through the entire building.

Much of the plasterwork remained intact at ground floor, some of this being ornate over arched window details, however, it was important to consider that behind this plasterwork the dry rot growth existed and a remedial treatment would have to be implemented

Timberwise is proud to have been given the opportunity to be part of the renovation of such an important building in the area. We have taken great care to ensure the integrity of the building shines through and remains intact 

Martin Wilkinson, Surveyor


Following our detailed findings, it was agreed that Timberwise would provide a suitable structural waterproofing system.  In this particular case, Timberwise installed a Type C structural waterproofing system, working in conjunction with an external GEO Membrane designed to act as the first line of defence against internal water ingress.

Prior to the installation of the internal membrane and associated drainage channel, Timberwise treated the concrete wall using Microseal.  Microseal is designed to seal the walls to reduce the risk of free limes entering the proposed waterproofing system, which could ultimately clog up the cavity drain membrane and associated perimeter drainage channel.

Easy to repair and maintain, a Type C waterproofing system consists of 3 parts…

Cavity Drainage Membrane

The cavity drain membrane is impermeable high-density Polyethylene or Polypropylene Membrane with studs to form a cavity when fixed to the wall and floor.

Perimeter Drainage Channel

Installed below flooring membranes at the floor wall junction. This basement Drainage Channel efficiently disperses water around the perimeter of the basement.

Sump & Pump

A sump pump is a small pump installed in the lowest part of the basement. Its job is to help keep the area under the building dry and to prevent it from flood­ing. Usually, sump pumps are installed in specially constructed sump pits. Water flows into the sump pit through the perimeter drainage channel by natural water migration and the sump pump’s job is to pump the water out of the pit and away from the property.

On SiteWaterproofing


St Michael’s College in Leeds has been given a new lease of life as a residential block of studio apartments known as Clarendon Quarter. The original main entrance of what was St Michael’s College has been retained, with stone steps leading up to a grand front door. Arched windows on the front of the building flood the new studios and central areas with light.

The residential accommodation also includes a gym and lounges for residents and visitors, including the Benedict’s Lounge, named after the building’s architect. Benedict Williamson was responsible for the dominant neo-gothic style architecture of St Michael’s College on St John’s Road, situated on a hilltop in the Hyde Park area of Leeds.

Timberwise knows it is an essential part of the whole installation, and ongoing waterproofing, process and we believe we have a duty of care to customers to do this. The above works were covered with a comprehensive 10-year guarantee and the customer was delighted to have a very usable additional space which was previously just an unusable void below the property.

Contact Our Waterproofing Specialists

You can trust Timberwise to provide you with the right waterproofing solution to damp problems in your building. Don’t hesitate to contact Timberwise by calling on 0800 288 8660 or you can request a survey.

A survey through Timberwise will be able to identify the extent of the problem and determine the right waterproofing solution for you and your property.

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