Monthly Archives: July 2013

Treating the oak trusses

Written by stephen gale

The large oak trusses in the existing property have been sandblasted and were treated at the weekend for woodworm and associated problems.

The question now is Do we leave the beams as they are? Or treat them in some way?

We don’t really want to change the colour of them, but it would be good to seal the wood a bit to make it less prone to picking up dust and dirt.  Something that would accentuate the grain with a matt finish would be ideal.

Peak Oak recommended Blanchon Maintenance Oil (http://www.peakoak.co.uk/blanchon-maintenance-oil.html).  I have ordered a tin so that we can try out a small test patch first.

Inside number 9.  You can see the King post truss and the tenon joints (with pegs) that join the purlins to the principal rafters.

Inside number 9. You can see the King post truss and the tenon joints (with pegs) that join the purlins to the principal rafters.

New windows have arrived

Written by stephen gale

The new windows arrived today.  All hardwood and already painted the finished colour – Sandolin Superdec Jungle Green.

We only managed to get two windows in today, but there will be more carpenters onsite tomorrow, so hopefully progress should be a bit quicker.

To be fair, we have had some big thunderstorms today and this has hampered progress.  The weather forecast is improving for the rest of the week.

The windows arrived around mid morning today.  Around 4 in total.  It will probably take the next 3-4 days to fit them all.

The windows arrived around mid morning today. Around 4 in total. It will probably take the next 3-4 days to fit them all.

We only managed to get two windows in today.  It took half a day to get the windows to where they were going.

We only managed to get two windows in today. It took half a day to get the windows to where they were going.

The foam around the window will need to be trimmed.  But this is the first window to go in.....

The foam around the window will need to be trimmed. But this is the first window to go in…..

Outbuildings – sandblasted

Written by stephen gale

With the sandblaster back on site at the weekend to clean the newly rebuilt extension, we have taken the opportunity to get the outbuildings (aka shed) sandblasted too.  This will help it fit in with the main house.  The photos below show the before and after pictures.

The outbuildings before being sandblasted.  I have had to remove the small wall here to make sure that we can get to all of the side wall.

The outbuildings before being sandblasted. I have had to remove the small wall here to make sure that we can get to all of the side wall.

The outbuildings after they had been sandblasted.  They now need to be pointed to make them fit in with the rest of the buildings.

The outbuildings after they had been sandblasted. They now need to be pointed to make them fit in with the rest of the buildings.

More sandblasting….

Written by stephen gale

Now the stonework on newly rebuilt extension is complete, we need to get it sandblasted.  This needs to be done before the new windows are installed on Monday – as part of the sandblasting process we are cleaning the stone window frames removing any signs of the previous windows.

As well as sandblasting the new extension, we have also taken the opportunity to remove any marks where the scaffolding had been.  Due to the scaffolding poles being so close to the building, there were patches where we couldn’t clean the building until the scaffolding had been removed.  We also sandblasted the old outbuilding.  This had some of the darkest stone on site and no longer looked as if it were part of the same set of buildings anymore.

This was a long day – from lunchtime through to 8:30pm. I was glad when it was all over.  But the end result looks great.

You can see the stonework on the newly rebuilt extension that has been cleaned.  We are now giving the outbuildings a clean so that they fit it with the rest of the property.

You can see the stonework on the newly rebuilt extension that has been cleaned. We are now giving the outbuildings a clean so that they fit it with the rest of the property.

This is a noisy and messy job.  Hence doing it on a Saturday afternoon while none of the builders are on site.

This is a noisy and messy job. Hence doing it on a Saturday afternoon while none of the builders are on site.

This ashlar window surround was originally upstairs in the front of the building and we have "repurposed" it for a set of windows in the rebuilt extension. The stone work has already been cleaned, but we are now taking off the remanants of the sealant used for the original windows.

This ashlar window surround was originally upstairs in the front of the building and we have “repurposed” it for a set of windows in the rebuilt extension. The stone work has already been cleaned, but we are now taking off the remanants of the sealant used for the original windows.

The newly rebuilt extension and the outbuildings have been sandblasted to get them to "fit together".

The newly rebuilt extension and the outbuildings have been sandblasted to get them to “fit together”.

The first door in the outbuilding (the one that is higher than the rest) is the original toilet for the property.  This dates back to around the 1700's.  The large green plastic toilet dates back to 2012.  By the way, it is purely coincendental that the green toilet doors - old and new - are the same colour.

The first door in the outbuilding (the one that is higher than the rest) is the original toilet for the property. This dates back to around the 1700’s. The large green plastic toilet dates back to 2012. By the way, it is purely coincendental that the green toilet doors – old and new – are the same colour.

Faulty ashlar

Written by stephen gale

We are using stone surrounds for all of the window openings.  Just as it would have been in the original cottage.  We have removed some of the newer “Artstone” window surrounds and replaced them with ashlar.  Artstone is a man-made aggregate product (a posh name for concrete!).

Unfortunately, one of the window surrounds at the rear of the property seems to have developed a very blotchy appearance.  We have decided to return it to the quarry and not pay for it.  It will be replaced with new stone from a different quarry (the same one we have used for the other ashlar windows that have not developed a fault).

While the ashlar has been removed, the masonry above is held in place using 3 acrows with “strong boys” (metal platforms) attached.  It doesn’t look great, but the new ashlar should be back in place on Monday.  Just in time for the new windows to be fitted.

This looks a bit precarious with 3 acrows holding up the masonry above, but I am told it is quite safe.  All the faulty ashlar has been removed and the new cill has been fitted.  We need to let the mortar set on the new cill before fitting the rest of the ashlar.

This looks a bit precarious with 3 acrows holding up the masonry above, but I am told it is quite safe. All the faulty ashlar has been removed and the new cill has been fitted. We need to let the mortar set on the new cill before fitting the rest of the ashlar.

This was fitted about 3 weeks ago and in the last week or so has turned all blotchy. It is going back to the quarry and the replacement ashlar has already (from a different quarry).

This was fitted about 3 weeks ago and in the last week or so has turned all blotchy. It is going back to the quarry and the replacement ashlar has already (from a different quarry).

We have replaced a number of the ashlar window surrounds and this is the first to go "blotchy".  It wasn't like this when we put it in, but it looks as if there is something in the stone that has oxidised over time.

We have replaced a number of the ashlar window surrounds and this is the first to go “blotchy”. It wasn’t like this when we put it in, but it looks as if there is something in the stone that has oxidised over time.

The scaffolding is gone

Written by stephen gale

And the house looks very different.  The rebuilt extension is going to be sandblasted tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon.  We are doing the sandblasting at the weekend since it isn’t really possible for anyone to work on site while the sandblaster is working.

The new windows are being installed on Monday, so there is quite a bit of work to be done this weekend in preparation.

The scaffolding was removed today to reveal the front of the property.  There will be a new porch built to the left, hence, this part of the building has not been sandblasted.

The scaffolding was removed today to reveal the front of the property. There will be a new porch built to the left, hence, this part of the building has not been sandblasted.

With the scaffolding gone, you can see the rear of the property.  The large set of 4 windows on the ground floor are going to be replaced as the new ashlar has a fault in it. Ho hum.

With the scaffolding gone, you can see the rear of the property. The large set of 4 windows on the ground floor are going to be replaced as the new ashlar has a fault in it. Ho hum.

The work on the roof of the rebuilt extension has ground to a halt as the wrong Velux windows were dispatched.  The correct ones should be with us on Monday when the roofing work can recommence.

The work on the roof of the rebuilt extension has ground to a halt as the wrong Velux windows were dispatched. The correct ones should be with us on Monday when the roofing work can recommence.

Trying to plan the electrics

Written by stephen gale

We are going to need to get the details sort out for the electrics so that we can organise the first fix (installing the wiring without any switches or sockets).  We need to get the first fix done before any of the ceilings or walls can be plasterboarded.  So getting the wiring sort is important.

However, it is not just the power and lighting that needs to be sorted out.  What about the network points? telephone points? thermostats? PIR sensors for the alarm? TV points?

With this in mind, we had a go at marking all of the above on a floorplan.  It gets messy very quickly.  Don’t believe me? See below.

What did we learn from this process?

  • You need to understand how each of the rooms are going to be used if you are going to put the services in the right place.  e.g. where is a table/desk going to be placed in each room in order to get the sockets in the right place?  Where would a TV go?  And this might not be where you might put it, but where a potential new owner might place it.
  • Lighting design really needs the input of an architect.  This is  creative process and isn’t simply a case of working out where the pendant light goes in the middle of the ceiling.  I met with our architect this week and they had some good thoughts about lighting ideas.
  • Plan the wiring in such a way to make it as flexible as possible. I will write up more on this later, but for example, bringing the telephone services in via a patch panel means that with a little bit of thought it is possible to “liven” up telephone services in different sockets.  This is a much more flexible approach rather than hardwiring everything.
This shows the potential location for different services on the first floor.  Legend: P=power socket, TV=TV point, E=ethernet, T=telephone, S=lighting switch.  Where there is a number before the letter, this denotes the number of sockets.

This shows the potential location for different services on the first floor. Legend: P=power socket, TV=TV point, E=ethernet, T=telephone, S=lighting switch. Where there is a number before the letter, this denotes the number of sockets.

Cutting the openings from the hall into the kitchen

Written by stephen gale

There are three openings between the hall and kitchen.  Two at ground level (an internal window and a doorway) and one upstairs (a sort of Juliette balcony from Jo’s study).

We have cut the two ground floor openings.  We have cut the openings using a Stihl saw and then have pulled out the masonry (but not before installing a lintel above the opening!). Using a Stihl saw is a little gentler on the wall that bashing it with big hammers and chisels.

You can start to see the jumble of stones that make up the inside of the wall.  It is a fairly fragile structure and needs to be shown a certain level of respect.

The opening on the right is the door from the hall into the kitchen (or at least it will be!).  The opening on the left is a large internal window between hall and kitchen.  What you can see here is the back of the outer set of stones that makes up the wall.

The opening on the right is the door from the hall into the kitchen (or at least it will be!). The opening on the left is a large internal window between hall and kitchen. What you can see here is the back of the outer set of stones that makes up the wall.

The three openings between the hall and the kitchen are shown here, but from the other side of the wall.  The hall wall is to camera right here.

The three openings between the hall and the kitchen are shown here, but from the other side of the wall. The hall wall is to camera right here.

Foundations for the new extension

Written by stephen gale

We are really starting to move into Phase 2 (Building the new extension), even though we have still to finish off Phase 1.

In terms of Phase 2, the barn has been completely demolished and we have now taken off the top soil in preparation for digging the footings.  This is the first time that we have seen the full extent of the Phase 2 extension.  I am not sure what I am meant to think, but it does look big at this stage.  I can’t remember on Grand Designs whether people think their footprint is bigger or smaller than they thought.  I wish I had paid more attention now!

Now the barn has been completely demolished we can start to see the footprint of the new extension.

Now the barn has been completely demolished we can start to see the footprint of the new extension.

Looking at the existing cottages end on, this still looks like a large extension.

Looking at the existing cottages end on, this still looks like a large extension.

Digging the foundations for the new extension

Written by stephen gale

The spoil heap seems to be growing.  Unfortunately, we started it close to the corner of the foundations and now it is going to have to be moved.  But it doesn’t take long with a 4.5 tonne digger!

We have also come across another soakaway.  It is brick-built and matches the other one that we found at the end of last year.  They are probably connected and used as a soakaway for rainwater from the drainpipes.

The spoil heap just keeps on growing!  Zep is checking for any undiscovered pasties!

The spoil heap just keeps on growing! Zep is checking for any undiscovered pasties!

A mixture of soil and waste stone.

A mixture of soil and waste stone.

Looks like this is connected to the other soakaway that we found a few months ago.

Looks like this is connected to the other soakaway that we found a few months ago.