Monthly Archives: June 2013

Replacing the fireplace mantel

Written by stephen gale

The chimney breast in number 10 was artexed.  I didn’t know why until I removed the artex – there was big crack running through the stone mantel from front to back.

The only real option was to replace it.  Luckily the builders managed to locate a similar stone mantel.  Holes were knocked into the chimney stack above the stone.  The chimney stack was then propped up while the stone was removed and replaced with the salvaged one.  It was quite quick and a good job to do while the weather was poor.

Once the sand and cement was set, the props were removed and the holes in the chimney stack were bricked up.

The fireplace mantel in number 10 was cracked and had to be replaced.

The fireplace mantel in number 10 was cracked and had to be replaced. There is a prop placed remporarily underneath the fireplace to ensure that it doesn’t go anywhere.

The stone mantel came from the Sycamore pub when it was refurbished.

The stone mantel came from the Sycamore pub when it was refurbished.

Installing the chimney pots and the flues

Written by stephen gale

There are three fireplaces in the existing cottages.  Two of the fireplaces use the same chimney stack, so there are only two re-built chimney stacks for three fireplaces.

The chimneys were swept first and a significant amount of soot was removed (even though all of the existing fireplaces were gas when we moved in).  Next the chimney pot goes on the flagstone that was installed on the top of the chimney – 8 inch holes were cut in the flagstones to accept the flue.  Once the sand and cement had set, the flue was pushed down the chimney.  There is a metal cowl on the top.  This stops water and birds getting into the top of the chimney.  They don’t look particularly attractive (they are made of shiny metal), but they were lightly sprayed with black paint.

We could have used a “T” shaped clay pot, but opted for a straight pot with a cowl.

We have opted for straight clay pots rather than the "T" shaped pots

We have opted for straight clay pots rather than the “T” shaped pots

We have installed three 7 inch stainless steel flue in each of the existing fireplaces

We have installed three 7 inch stainless steel flue in each of the existing fireplaces

Removing the tree stump in the top field

Written by stephen gale

We have had an excavator on site for the past couple of days and it seemed like a great opportunity to remove a tree stump in the top field.  It has been a nuisance when mowing the top field, particularly when the grass is long (and I mean long – sort of knee-length!) as you can’t see the damn thing.  Hitting it with the mower, or the tractor, isn’t fun.

A 2.5 tonne excavator won’t pull the stump out of the ground in one go, but what it will allow you to do is to dig around it.  You can then dig out the roots as you go and eventually the stump will give up.  It can be a bit unnerving as the roots do wrestle a bit with the excavator.  Eventually though, the excavator wins.

The trick is to dig around the stump and eventually it will come free

The trick is to dig around the stump and eventually it will come free

This stump has been a real pain when mowing the top field

This stump has been a real pain when mowing the top field

It isn't pretty, but the tree stump has now been removed

It isn’t pretty, but the tree stump has now been removed

Roof – Almost there

Written by stephen gale

Close of play on Friday and the rear of the roof is complete.  It will take another couple of days to complete the front, put the ridge tiles back on and complete the lead work around the chimney. 

We have also put flagstones on the top of each of the new chimneys.  They have 8 inch holes cut in them for the new flue liners and chimney pots.  These are being installed on Saturday morning.

The rear of the roof is now complete.

The rear of the roof is now complete.

Clearing the bottom corner of the orchard

Written by stephen gale

I spent most of today using an excavator to clear the bottom corner of the orchard.  This had been behind one of the large timber sheds and there had been a build-up of debris over the year.  This combined with the old tree stumps and associated roots made it too hard to clear by hand.  I have touched any of the wall or the shrubs that adjoin the road, but I have cleared the land.

Unfortunately, one of the hydraulic pipes on the excavator burst and had to be repaired and this meant that I lost 3 hours out of the day.  Still, I think half a day was enough to have cleared this part of the orchard.  I have never driven an excavator before so this was a real voyage of discovery.  Many thanks to Richard Battye at HD9 Construction who showed me how to use it!

The next step is to sift through all of the debris that is now piled up.  The soil will be spread onto the various “dips” around the property.  The stones will be used to rebuild the walls and the stumps will be put on the bonfire.

This is what the corner of the orchard looked like before it met with the machine!

This is what the corner of the orchard looked like before it met with the machine!

There was only just enough room to swing the bucket here, but this machine made quick work of removing the old tree stumps.

There was only just enough room to swing the bucket here, but this machine made quick work of removing the old tree stumps.

The main objective here was to remove the old roots and tree stumps from this corner of the orchard.

The main objective here was to remove the old roots and tree stumps from this corner of the orchard.

It looks a bit of a mess, but all of the roots and stumps have gone.  The soil has been loosened up and it is a case of sorting out what is left.

It looks a bit of a mess, but all of the roots and stumps have gone. The soil has been loosened up and it is a case of sorting out what is left.

Progress with the roof and extension

Written by stephen gale

We are making good progress this week with both the roof and rebuilding the extension.

While the weather has been good, attention has been turned to rebuilding the extension.  We can’t progress with the pointing until we have had the go ahead from the architect on the choice of materials.  We have completed a test panel for approval using Nosterfield River sand and hydraulic lime, but this needs a little bit of time to dry out so we can see the true colour.

It could a couple of days to completely felt and lathe the roof.  However, today work started on relaying the slates.  Five courses are on at the rear of the house.  Slightly less at the front, due to the rooflights having to be fitted as well.  We have had to buy some additional slates to make up for the ones that were damaged or too aged to be reused.

Concrete blockwork on the inside then 100mm insulation and finally the original gritstone on the outside.  Once it is finihsed, we will get it sandblasted to match the main property.

Concrete blockwork on the inside then 100mm insulation and finally the original gritstone on the outside. Once it is finihsed, we will get it sandblasted to match the main property.

This is the view of the front of the roof with the two rooflights.  We are waiting for some lead before the slates can be fitted underneath each of the rooflights.

This is the view of the front of the roof with the two rooflights. We are waiting for some lead before the slates can be fitted underneath each of the rooflights.

We had to change the size of the rooflights so that they would sit between the purlins underneath.  These are conservation windows from a company called Fakro (did you guess?).  They are pine on the inside, but will be painted to match the ceiling colour.

We had to change the size of the rooflights so that they would sit between the purlins underneath. These are conservation windows from a company called Fakro (did you guess?). They are pine on the inside, but will be painted to match the ceiling colour.

Five courses of slates on the back of the roof and the two re-built chimneys. This is day 3 for putting the roof back on.

Five courses of slates on the back of the roof and the two re-built chimneys. This is day 3 for putting the roof back on.

Rebuilding the extension

Written by stephen gale

With the roofers putting the roof back together, this has given the builders the opportunity to start rebuilding the extension.  This had to be re-built as it was a single skin building with a flagstone floor that had been laid directly onto the soil below. There is little that could be done with this part of the building other than to rebuild it as it should have been built in the first place.

We have put in a new concrete floor (and damp proof membrane) and new foundations.  From the outside, the extension will look the same as it did before, but with a cavity wall (and insulation).  We are even going to put the old coal hole back.

Once the extension has been rebuilt, we will need to get the sandblaster back to lighten up the exterior stone otherwise the extension will not fit the rest of the building.

The first few courses and the keystones going in on the re-built extension.

The first few courses and the keystones going in on the re-built extension.

Window colour

Written by stephen gale

We have decided to install hardwood timber windows, although they are more expensive than uPVC (and they don’t last as long) they are in keeping for this type of property.  The wood is going to be painted and we were quite keen to avoid white and use one of the heritage colours.  Originally, we though about a cream colour, but then saw a number of properties with a sort of grey/green colour.

We found a tester pot for Crown paints for a colour called Box Tree.  However, it is only available in a gloss finish and we want a satin finish to the paint.

The folks at Crown suggested their Sandolin Superdec range and via the folks making the windows, acquired a colour chart. There was an obvious match and one of the things we thought we should do was to paint one of the old windows in the new colour.  Now the property had been sandblasted, we could double-check the colour.  The hardwood windows are being supplied ready painted so we need to get this right.

I went to the local Crown paint centre in Huddersfield to get a tin of the chosen colour.  However, when I got there and looked at some samples, the colour chart seemed to bear very little resemblance to the actual paint colour.  A quick re-think and I walked out with two tins of paint that more closely matched the colour. Having now painted a couple of the old windows in the new colours, it would appear that our chosen paint is “Jungle Green”.  I have checked it against our original paint card (using the Box Tree tester) and it is a good match.

Just goes to show that you shouldn’t rely on the colours on a colour chart!

Two colour swatches on a piece of sandblasted oak beam.

Two colour swatches on a piece of sandblasted oak beam.

The chosen colour is the window on the left.

The chosen colour is the window on the right.

 

Roof going back on

Written by stephen gale

Work started this morning on putting the roof back on the existing building.  By the end of the day all of the roofing felt and lathes will be on the building.  This is a milestone since from this point onwards the building is no longer completely open to the elements.

It will take 7-10 days to get the roof completely finished, assuming there aren’t any problems.

You can also see the two rebuilt chimneys that now match – before the chimney on the left was smaller, rendered and had no string course.  The chimneys, as the rest of the external masonry, has been sandblasted over the last weekend.

 

The two chimneys have been rebuilt and sandblasted.  So too has the rear of the property.  The felt and lathes are going on first to be followed by the stone slates.

The two chimneys have been rebuilt and sandblasted. So too has the rear of the property. The felt and lathes are going on first to be followed by the stone slates.

End of day 1 on the roof and the felt and lathes have been installed.  This means that the worst of the weather will be kept out.  There is still a chance that rain may come through some of the window openings, but fingers crossed the weather shouldn't be too bad for the next couple of weeks.

End of day 1 on the roof and the felt and lathes have been installed. This means that the worst of the weather will be kept out. There is still a chance that rain may come through some of the window openings, but fingers crossed the weather shouldn’t be too bad for the next couple of weeks.

The "felt" is actually a green coloured plastic.  It feels a little bit like a tent wit only the felt and lathes on the roof. With the green felt on the roof, there is a green tinge to the light everywhere.

The “felt” is actually a green coloured plastic. It feels a little bit like a tent wit only the felt and lathes on the roof. With the green felt on the roof, there is a green tinge to the light everywhere.

Sandblasting – Day 2

Written by stephen gale

Well, 7:30pm on Sunday evening and it is all done.  Front, back, chimneys, timbers, and 3 fireplaces.  It took around 45 bags of sand (each 25kgs) to complete the work.  That’s a lot of sand, but I will leave you to do the maths!

It now looks superb, but it isn’t something that I would want to do every weekend!

All the window reveals were cleaned of as much mastic as possible and then cleaned so that the windows can be installed.  The old windows were not set equally – some were further out than others – we will fix this issue when fitting the new ones.  This is why all the window reveals needed to be cleaned.

The newly rebuilt chimneys were also sandblasted.  Dragging all the tubes around isn’t easy work, but it only took 30-40 minutes to sandblast the chimneys.  They do look superb.

I will post pictures of sandblasted timber and fireplaces later.

Working left to right, the front of the property is sandblasted.

Working left to right, the front of the property is sandblasted.

The stone surround on the doorway to number 8 was painted. This doesn't last long when sandblasted.

The stone surround on the doorway to number 8 was painted. This doesn’t last long when sandblasted.

Sandblasting the window reveals

Sandblasting the second chimney was a little easier as the scaffolding was still in place around it.

Sandblasting the second chimney was a little easier as the scaffolding was still in place around it.

Two sidese of the new chimeny have been sandblasted.  The stone was salvaged from the old porch.

Two sides of the new chimney have been sandblasted. The stone was salvaged from the old porch.