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SD's new house, the practical stuff

they have at last got a house, next thing is to make it into a home.

so far i have had a look at the place and in the words of bob the builder "yes we can " tis a bit distressed in places though Laughing

today's job is to go in alone and have a proper poke about, start the risk assessment and make sure the very keen but amateur helpers for the initial clearance/ first stage gutting are going to be safe and there are plenty of useful tasks to do that i can instruct in faster than i could do them.

the corner support of the stairs has been cut out as somebody wanted to make a cupboard door from plastic covered chipboard in the edwardian side panelling Rolling Eyes
the gully drain that directs water into the airbricks is quite a good un as well Laughing

more later Laughing Laughing Laughing

How old is it?

Congratulations on a successful closing!

I had to google air bricks. Always amazing to me how myopic our worldview can become... (I suppose they're not a thing here because the ventilation doesn't outweigh the heating losses, and our stick-built houses likely breathe more readily anyway, and we don't tend to have houses directly next to each other, so proper drainage around a foundation helps to keep it dry anyway. - I imagine they are a thing in southern parts of the US where brick homes are more commmon)

Can you get a look at the sill and judge its condition?

Airbricks are crap, ineffective and a great source of drafts

Airbricks are crap, ineffective and a great source of drafts

Well I imagined as much, but I can see how they came about in a prior era.

Many homes here of a certain age had a central chaseway built in for plumbing, etc, that essentially acted as a chimney to pull heat through and out the attic, and in the event of a fire make sure that every room erupted into flames almost at the same time.

Lots of things seem like good ideas at the time Laughing Rolling Eyes

(But I wasn't about to go poo-poo-ing your building traditions... Laughing)

a very interesting couple of hours in their c1900 hundred house.

a few of the problems are "improvements " that have caused bad things. seem fairly easy to fix.

at least some of the damp is not rising and needs addressing as part of the make it dry job but again nowt too complex.

the cracking in the front face and party wall looks like a combo of heave, bomb damage, lack of ties between the walls and a rotten lintel over the sitting room window ( and perhaps a rotten or eaten sole plate in a semi load bearing wall ) a bit messy and a multi approach job but again nowt too horrible or expensive.

the woodworm have eaten a few moderately important sticks ( nowt wrong with a bit of remedial structural timberwork ) but so far there looks to be plenty of clean wood in most of the house including 2 rooms of new floorboards

the original lead gas pipes for the lights are still in some walls ( gas safe chap booked to cap the meter and prep the boiler for drainage and wrapping )

the electrics will not be turned on Rolling Eyes

the square foot "test pit" in the hall floor indicates they might have a full set of 1900 multicolour geometric mosaic floor tiles Cool

apart from the amazing gravity defying stairs which have little visible means of support tis fairly safe for the stripout crew to remove carpets, paper and all my wreckage as i expose and remove stuff that has to go.

i recon we might need a couple or more acrows but i should know for definite in about 4 hrs or so tomorrrow

demolition power tools and fubars are me for a few days Laughing
wellington womble

Here, air bricks have big signs over them that say 'Slugs Welcome'. Or so you'd think, anyway.

I looked a house today which would be a complete gut-and-refit job. It's too big, too ugly and too old. But it's in exactly the right place, with 6.5 acres. A no through road, backs onto to Forestry Commision land, on the way to school (pick up via the school bus)

I'm sorely tempted, and probably completely mad. The estate agent described me as 'brave', which sounds awfully dangerous.

The estate agent described me as 'brave', which sounds awfully dangerous.

Sounds affordable if you've got a way to do the rehab on a reasonable budget..... Though it may be worth pricing out a complete re-build in parralel to provide perspective to the budget

Do post about your renovation works, so I can live vicariously and squirrel away tips and tricks "just in case"


Though it may be worth pricing out a complete re-build in parralel to provide perspective to the budget

Could easily be the best way: you would likely end up with a far better house.

WW's already done the building a house thing. The 'never again/this time I'll know what I'm doing' balance is for her to judge. wellington womble

The estate agent described me as 'brave', which sounds awfully dangerous.

Sounds affordable if you've got a way to do the rehab on a reasonable budget..... Though it may be worth pricing out a complete re-build in parralel to provide perspective to the budget

I gather that's more common over there. Here we have outdated, power crazy, draconian dictators called the planning department. It's apparently their deepest desire to make sure nobody builds anything very sensible.

Last time, we did exactly that. It took two years, fourteen resubmissions, and three planning officers (consecutively) to get it passed. I wouldn't mind, but design number fourteen was nearly identical to design number two.
wellington womble

WW's already done the building a house thing. The 'never again/this time I'll know what I'm doing' balance is for her to judge.

I never said that! It went fairly well last time. Except the garage being in the wrong place. And that wasn't my fault. Oh, and we forgot to put a window on the stairs. And we forgot that the best views were over the road, and only put small windows facing that way. I argued for a pantry and another window in the bedroom, and lost. But I was right, there was room. All in all, it went reasonably well, and we got most things right.
wellington womble

Though it may be worth pricing out a complete re-build in parralel to provide perspective to the budget

Could easily be the best way: you would likely end up with a far better house.

On the whole, I agree. If it were a small house, I would definitely do that. I would prefer to buy a smaller house, but can't find one with land, and there are few possibilities near Js school. It's such a perfect location/land combination, that the house is rather secondary. But to knock a four bed down and replace with a two bed would not make financial sense. Also, I think it would cost about double to rebuild as to renovate, and the plot is quite expensive to begin with, because of the land.

I remain undecided.

Is it somewhere you see yourself being in 5, 10 years?
Is brexit going to bugger about with prices?

If you have the means and enough knowledge to get the right people in / DIY safely, then why not?


a few hours is a long time on a new site , carpets out , tat out. one room depapered.

the wood worm have only eaten the floorboard garnish and left the joist burger undamaged in the corner of the front bedroom floor. this means both sides are supported well and i only have the bit between the upstairs and downstairs windows to fret about. the brickwork there has dropped about 3/4" (see lintel mentioned above ) and the ends of 4 joists are sitting on it (or perhaps holding it up using the floorboards which span onto the two sound edges Rolling Eyes )

it will need acrows and scaff but hopefully as it is just the middle timbers that need support it should be fairly simple to fix the lintel, brickwork and reinstate the bedroom sill (rather nice terracotta bricks in a very clever sill shape )

in the yard i turned some odd and useless brickwork to rubble and removed a 5" diameter coppiced ash from between it and the wall of the yard . a couple of days work will sort out the original wall.

so far so good and about 20% of the contingency budget can stay in the pot Cool

under half a big skip of muckaway so far, which is less than i thought we would have by this stage, depending how thick the plaster is and how many more things need removing we might manage the gut out with just one big skip which would be nice.

we found what looks like a rather nasty CSI style sarcostain , surely if you have to clean that sort of thing off the carpet you just chuck the carpet/underlay and get the bleach to the boards rather than scrape and wipe the carpet . im not the queasy type or over sensitive about such practicalities but there are limits.
as it is i will ask about bleach but i recon the demolition saw and half a dozen new short boards might be more acceptable.

next job is to further expose the stairs and make them and the landing timberwork safe and secure.
from what i can see so far there is no reason we cant secure the top end with timber and ironmongery using the walls as the supports and mending the bottom end is only a matter of fixing whatever has rotted, been eaten or slipped
it will require a bit of jacking back into it's proper position but it isnt a scarey job

this gives scope to not only fix the doorway under it but to move the doorway and do away with two structural verticals ( the missing timber and the half brick pillar between the kitchen door and original understairs cupboard door ) making the kitchen usefully ( if only by a bit in area terms. ) bigger and also giving a wedge shaped cubbyhole for shoes etc etc in the hallway as a bonus .

as much of the " rising " damp isn’t rising and the 1980's attempt to fix it involved browning plaster among a selection of other "choice" techniques and materials rather than addressing the multiple causes properly.
i have high hopes of making it dry at a reasonable cost , it needs a chemical DPC and tanking but sorting the ventilation and any bridges/holes, sorting the little gully with low level airbrick drains to the underfloor "sump"
the "waterproof spray coat " on the walls outside and the cost/benefits of removing it, if it will come off, has to go in the fix the damp list

on tuesday building control get a phone call call re the frontage and so long as they agree to the basic plan there is something for folk to quote for that needs fixing before various other jobs

having the temp leccy on will be handy asap but i need to fix the stairs and then somebody need to depaper the big wall before the can wires run along it unmolested until third fix is done.

the gas man cometh to check and mothball the boiler and convince me that everything house side of the meter is safe, once that is done the rads can come off and random pipes are a bit less worrying when rummaging about and separating plaster from walls and gaslamp pipes.

the original build quality was pretty good Cool

(If I ever need a house reno, can I hire you dpack? Cool )

Agree about build quality of older houses. My fireplace is four slabs of stone - that's not going anywhere anytime soon Laughing
wellington womble

Sounds like you made a good start.

Is it somewhere you see yourself being in 5, 10 years?
Is brexit going to bugger about with prices?

If you have the means and enough knowledge to get the right people in / DIY safely, then why not?


Five years for sure, ten probably. Possibly not much longer, though. In ten years J wil be heading out in the world, and presumably no longer needing me to fix sandwiches or accompany her to the toilet every five minutes, so I was thinking of bunking off travelling and then retiring by the sea somewhere. No idea what Brexit will do. People keep telling me it will lower house prices, but as usual with the Brexit Brigade nobody has the slightest idea how this will be achieved. I don't see how Brexit can possibly affect supply or demand of houses, and thus have any effect on prices.

I'm going hot and cold on the idea. I'm not at all sure I want to be so extended (I won't be overextended. Just unexpectedly further extended) it will reduce my disposable income markedly, and I was looking forward to experiencing the 'spare money' phenomenon. I was also planning to reduce debt, rather than increase it. It's only mortgages, at good LTV ratios, but it's still debt and interest rates will not stay down for ever, which is an uncomfortable thought. I'm thinking I could always sell on the house and convert the small barn, if need be. It's really small, though. And having lived rather in limbo for the last three years, I'd like to pick and house and settle down in it for the foreseeable.

Only it's THE perfect land, in THE perfect place. It's a small village of around a hundred houses, and I simply cannot see anything remotely similar coming up again. I'm so limited because of the school run (I'm not even considering moving schools. Settling into school took a year and was a nightmare. And it's a great school)

location and land seems good,

a refurb can be fairly simple ( try to avoid springs, landslides etc and especially low quality original build) and financially sensible to do and you get it how you want it ( done up you get generic or "quirky " ).
if needs be you could rebuild on the footprint ,etc etc .

is it affordable ? you will have to decide

the panel is off the stairs which are now propped up temporarily until tomorrow when i will give them a proper temp support ready to fix them permanently and create the new door frame and understairs cupboard combo to form the new kitchen entranceway from the hall

a couple of boards up on the landing, as far as can be seen all is well with the original timber and build style.

the wonky scullery/understairs door frames are out along with the wormy mid column, above that the structure is such that it is easy to leave it as it is or remove some of it to give more options for that area.

it is a tribute to the original build quality that the bannisters have been performing a structural role in helping friction and the lowest inch of the newel post pressing against the hall tiles suspend the outer edge of the stairs Rolling Eyes

all the above are easily fixed with a few bits of kit, stuff, sticks and ironmongery

tis very handy when repairs and an improvement combine easily especially if the repairs are at the cheaper end of the estimate and the improvement is not expensive

sitting room depapered, more bits of carpet and stuff gone

downstairs toilet seems to work.

about half a big skip so far which is good .
for half days progress is good
no nasty surprises so far which is good

next to do includes:
proper prop for stairs.
need to check stopcock actually works
consider design options for stair repair and new door cupboard combo
talk to spark (s ) ( tails off company head ? )

Sounds like as good a situation as one could hope for considering one knew it would be a rehab dpack

the stairs are now propped and prevented from sliding by a rather unusual but effective scrap heap challenge in the wood pile. the resultant triangles are fixed so as the thing cant slide down the hall.

built in cupboard out and woodlice partially evicted
more paper removed
the last carpet up.
spark 1 working on a price

to do :

order skip for monday ,try martin's . check if you or they apply for the licence to park it kerbside.
it is very nice to have a drop door to make loading rubble etc easy with a barrow but there is only a bit in this load so it isn't very important

ask building control re front windows area, ties to party wall and stairs/door refit re fireproofing and support style etc.
if got answers as to what is acceptable before quotes it helps but a decent builder should know which rules are applied locally.

get quotes for front scaff, brickwork and if needs be lintel fitting, get timings.
get prices and timings for front windows
it is best if these two aspects coordinate to avoid boarding up the front for too long
wellington womble

Sounds like it's all going well.

I have gone from buying, to not buying because it's more than I'm comfortable spending, to buying and applying for planning in the garden. I really want to build another house (it rather spoils you buying other people's once you've built to your own design!) rather than refurb. It should be simpler and I'll get a better house. The current one is a Victorian pile, and I don't like Victorian houses much, plus the insulation etc will be awful. I'd much rather build something more sustainable and efficient.

If I can pull it off, the sale of the house (as is) will fund the build, more or less, and I'll still get a great house with six and half acres, no mortgage and no school run. What could possibly go wrong?

WW, that's quite a lot of life packed up into a short little posting.

Best of luck to you! Perhaps it's time to create another thread so that we might all live vicariously through you by throwing out our personal wants for a dream house? I'm pushing for greenhouse with attached sauna for winter heating.... Laughing

another afternoon and lots more paper gone along with assorted carpet gripper , rotten skirting, the worm's leftovers and sundry bits of carp.

in rear downstairs room stain gone and wet wormy floor boards gone from alcove and the floor is open in places allowing access to see underneath, this is a mixed blessing.

the boards are ok modernish t and g , lifting them is a bit tricky as they were put down with 3 " nailgun nails ( rather than the more usual floor brads ,hey ho ),

they are layed on a set of joists which have multiple issues, not fixed, wonky pattern, centres random and at times too far apart.

the visqueen under the sole plates and over the entire sub floor isnt helping the damp
as they partially blinded the subfloor with sand it looks like the muppet's abandoned an attempt at prepping for a concrete floor .

the options should be get that up and either do a proper job of a wood floor including ventilation etc etc or do a proper job of a concrete floor.

they both need costing but might be quite close in cost

sorting the height of the yard seems sensible as it is far too high and throws water towards walls rather than to the surface drains
either bash it out until low enough and give it a new base and surface or cut and line gully drains along the walls if there is enough depth to join the gullies into the sewerage drainage
more examination and costings which consider the rear room floor and damp options in relation to any yard work would be wise

iirc 3 window blokes have become one (based on both price and trading style ie this one talks builder rather than at a mark and has a decent price)

building control booked for initial site visit next tuesday (ace to get one that quick but i explained the scale of things in the right words while smiling pleasantly down the phone so all went well. always good to make a nice impression from the off , happy building control are really useful in avoiding delays etc etc etc . )

first spark has sent a quote , i need to have a quiet look at it .
it is a bit lower than i was expecting
my estimate spec might be a bit higher than theirs cos i tend to spend a bit more on top quality materials i might have estimated for more points and circuits as well
plenty of good materials should = a good job
enough ok materials will never be better than an ok job .

the bits of plasterboard offcuts are no longer "fastened" to the friction fitted frame in the return of the rear bedroom ceiling.
they held their panel pins well enough to rip my arm Jurassic park style when they fell at the first exploratory poke. my oops. Laughing

no nasty surprises today and the bad stuff was much as expected so overall things are progressing nicely

I'd go concrete with some insulation underneath wellington womble

WW, that's quite a lot of life packed up into a short little posting.

I haven't actually done anything, just dithering about a decision. (Regular readers will know that my practical ability ranges from 'absolutely hopeless' to 'independent light bulb changing'. Rest assured that there will be a proper builder to do the actual building. I will limit myself to design, chivvying, filling in forms, fetching and carrying and making bacon sandwiches. And probably painting. Ime, there's always something that needs painting)

a week is a long time on a new site, so far things seem mostly much as expected and better than expected in a few aspects
today went well

gas off and capped and handle locked.gas man ace.

damp and woodworm chap seems ok and his price is about right, i will think on it overnight

skip from second choice firm is a lot cheaper but has all paperwork etc

the front room fireplace reveal is opened up and considerable amount of wet bricks/old fireback, soot and rubble removed
that has improved the ground floor ventilation a lot
rear room fire can come out now which should help even more with ventilation and any end any wicking damp should it be as messy as the front one

another glass secondary glazing panel out. 2 more still to be done

2 leads for brickwork builders to follow up.

it needs a new boiler which is a lump of expense but long term the gas saving and the 7 yr gnt will help offset that as do best value alternatives elsewhere

we can patch the rear room floor rather than replace it in wood or use concrete and cut gullies and use snorkel vents rather than relay the whole yard which together cover the cost of a boiler
i will consider the best ways to stabilise the rear floor with sticks and ironmongery and explore gully options.

the spraycote does not have to go for the damp gnt ( but it is a good idea if we can get rid of at least some of it at a reasonable cost )

although these reports are specific to a particular property the basic principles should be applied whenever a wreck needs fixing.
the details will change but the standard operating procedure is very adaptable

today went well,
gas fire out , it was criminally installed on 3 grounds i can think of as a non expert .
no gas fire , no problem.
"hearth" slab of composite "marble" saved as a potential garden table

with that out and the upstairs middle bedroom fireplace opened up and the soot , rubble , 1974 daily mirror and original fireplace's rubble infill removed the ventilation is greatly improved.
i needed a proper roman style bath after that.

the last large sheet of glass from the secondary glazing is awaiting the skip, dangeroos kit considering the elderly plastic hinge pins were rather fragile.

my sparks are up for the temp supply and quote for the new wires etc, they will have finished the school job by the middle of next week so a cunning plan of roughly what you definitely need would be useful.

next to do is a tidy up, gather a few more choice bits of skip bait from where they are and fill a skip on monday

decide on some end game things that can be decided upon

hopefully the input from building control will be useful for briefing potential contractors and to help clarify the design issues re the stairs, new kitchen door, cupboard area regarding both structure and fire integrity.
drains and the gully will be another topic but primary job needs to be the front elevation between the windows and it's bond to the party wall brickwork
to that end try to "pencil" the two leads on brick happy remedial builders to come and have a look from wednesday onwards

as mentioned the old front windows could go back in as a temp or we sitex it with a couple of hired panels if needs be between brickwork and window fitting .

getting the new windows after the damp render, and most of first and second fix makes sense. there is a delay between order and delivery but at the mo there is no rush based on best first guesses of how the messy stuff will progress

as mentioned a breaker of a suitable size for ragging off render and perhaps assisting in making a gully would be well handy, a week is more than enough time
best not ordered til we know more about the potential for vibration issues at the front and have a drainage plan for the yard .

note to self , take bubble and a few masonry nails to go with tape , hammer and snapline to establish yard datum level

note to others, having a datum level at the rear inside and outside will allow for calculation and design of surface and domestic drainage.
i am hoping that all the domestic wastes can be directed to the existing soil stack position freeing the surface drain for yard surface and gully use therefore only needing minor drainage alterations below the existing yard level
i hate drains even if they are rather useful.

tidy up, take stock of what we know so far, identify the priorities and plan and initiate the order and execution of the next actions seems to be about right for this stage .

parking place for monday's skip secured Very Happy

2 replacement batteries for the demolition saw ordered

we need a rough idea of layout of plugs, points and lights etc for a sensible chat with sparks ( no rush but before we get the temp supply fitted would help )

do we need to consider moving the boiler ?, as a new one is required for the price of a few pipes and a 5" core drilled hole it could go in several other locations.

once we can get to the kitchen again i will explore the tank in the chimney (ditto sizes re pantry ,door/window positions and understairs options) and find out how much useful space can be found at minimal cost.

removing the chimney and fireplace is fairly easy but labour intensive and would require roof, ceiling, floor/ceiling and wall repairs and a skip of its own .
guestimate removing it would be 2 to 3 grand above using whatever hole is between the sides of the chimney breast and leaving the structure intact.
adding steel and taking out the bottom section is possible but a bad idea on several grounds not least that if done properly it would cost as much or more than removing the whole thing from top down.
done badly or on the cheap is not an option with chimneys

pantry wall exploration might give useful data re gaining more space but might present structural issues against removing it especially as the steel for the door to the existing shower room is very close by and there might be a bathtub over it fairly soon.

Re plug sockets - do your plan, then double it. Laughing I tend to leave chargers etc in situ (but switched off at wall) to avoid losing them sean

do we need to consider moving the boiler ?, as a new one is required for the price of a few pipes and a 5" core drilled hole it could go in several other locations.

Our house in London was built out of engineering brick. The plumbers had to hire a special super-duper drill thingy to make the hole for the boiler. One of them dropped it off the ladder and bust it. Fortunately for us after they'd cut through the wall.
Mistress Rose

I would leave chimney breasts if you can. Don't forget someone in the future may want to use them again. As you say, it is also all of nothing with chimney breasts, which was sadly forgotten by some people in the 60s and 70s when a lot of modernisation was going on, sometimes with disastrous results. dpack

4 chimneys will be ventilated and either in use or ready to use at short notice Wink

tis the ex scullery one that is in the way, once i have had a poke about in the area and above it i can establish and price the options for the new kitchen.

just for fun i will tell you a chimney story, are you sitting comfortably , outside might be best Laughing

once upon a time in the late 80's i was doing some admin when the phone rang ,after a few tentative preliminaries from the other end he said " there is a builder in my sitting room taking out the chimney from the bottom, is that right ? "

after a gulp i said "where are you? " he was very local so i said "tell him to stop and both of you wait for me in the street"

anyway ten mins later i have sent the bloke in a pair of wellies and a very old suit back to the man who sent him, i even gave him his hammer and chisel back as he promised to never use them again, and sent the householder off to the caff while i ordered and installed a dozen acrows and lots of scaff planks.

that done i told him to pay the hire shop and thanked him for the excitement and told him to call a structural engineer before finding somebody other than me who was willing to start to defuse it from the top Rolling Eyes

i couldn't invoice him even though he offered as if i had i would have felt that obliged me to fix it which i wanted no part in and perhaps made me liable if it fell in while awaiting removal safely but mostly i felt rather sorry for both of them.

the old boy in a suit was treated appallingly by whoever sent him there and had been rather scared for the half hour he was there removing most of the bottom 6 feet of it and the householder had been scammed.

fixing cowboy jobs after the fact is everyday stuff in the building game but that sort of extreme nonsense is fortunately fairly rare as it gave me a rather scary hour or so .

compared to that trying to fix damp and chill but causing them to get far worse than it, probably, was or just chopping out part of the supports for the stairs as the sole plate and lower end had rotted off ( best guess as to the "thinking" ) and/or it was in the way of a "door" cut through the rather nice side panelling is fairly tame

on the theme of the cowboy/amateur, tis best we never turned the leccy on (never mind we will have 240v and 30a fairly soon ), the person who failed to put all the screws back in the gas fire having changed the pots and whoever installed it so as it was not flue gas tight in a room without enough ventilation for a gas fire in perfect working order should all be made to do the walk of shame before being formally stripped of their tools and sent for re-education with safe tings like plasticine or straws.
Mistress Rose

That experience was all too common in the 60s and 70s Dpack. A combination of cowboy builders and unsafe DIYers. Doing up our first house taught us a lot about the standards of building in the 1870s too, and it wasn't too good then. The damp course was wrongly installed, there were holes in the fire wall between us and the next house, and the internal walls gave the impression it was an afternoon job after imbibing at the pub at the end of the block over lunch time. dpack

now 6 cubic meters of stuff is in a skip we can get back in the kitchen

it looks like the hearth space can be expanded to give room for a cooker and ventilation

the original pantry can be returned to service with a bit more ventilation and sensible shelving/baskets etc

the door to the existing bathroom is rotten so putting the replacement in a more usable position makes sense

with the intended position of the door from kitchen to hallway it looks like it will make a decent if compact kitchen space with a step in pantry/store cupboard

the pantry has a quarry tile floor, it looks as though it might extend over the whole kitchen under the rubberoid screed and very worn lino/glue combo surface.
even if it does it might be too uneven to use although the slope might be in the screed/lino rather than the actual floor structure
however it turns out it is probably easier to remove the screed and lino rather than get the lino off the screed .
Mistress Rose

Will be lovely if you do have a good quarry tiled floor under there. Sounds like good progress. dpack

yesterdays meeting with the chap from building control was useful.

we agree on causes and remedies for the state of the front elevation brickwork, sorting yard drainage/floor ventilation, the planned arrangements of stair support/ door frames for the kitchen etc and the approved window specs cover those proposed.

he was also helpful with general advice re paperwork and a possible expansion into the loft space at some time.

the kitchen fire place is partially opened up giving a decent sized hole without structural alterations, a wider hole would be expensive but a few bricks higher would be a few hundred quid.
there is a bit more that can be easily and safely removed and imho the space available from that is usable if properly planned into the new kitchen layout.
sorry about the soot Rolling Eyes
Mistress Rose

Old chimneys always seem to have soot. No doubt you have also found a good bit of dust above ceilings and general debris in 'cavity' walls. We took out all the old iron gas pipes from our first house and amassed quite a collection. It had been lit by gas at some point in its existence, possibly from the beginning. dpack

a little time has passed and things are progressing.
although these reports are specific to this job i hope they serve as an example of a "how to" for the right ways to go about major refurb projects that can be applied to those undertaken by any of us.

my spark chums are well into first fix and should have most of that done by next weekend. layout for leccy established with the necessary bells and whistles such as heat/smoke detectors ,extractors etc .
note do you want a electric shower , if so we need to add a supply for it.

the windows are ordered from a firm who know how to measure and put in a very good price of £4.2k for 8 decent windows.
note put date on timetable as we need wet trades finished first.

the roofing chap is coming this week to sort chimney caps for 4 ,gable pointing,chimney pointing flashings and gullies along with a few slates and any odds n ends that need fixing on high such as gutter joints and popping the tv aerial/phone wires into the roof void.
note take rods and sweep em tomorrow.

the gas man will be quoting for new CH rather than just a new boiler. the existing was horrible in both layout and installation quality. he can also quote for all domestic plumbing Cool

most of the floorboards are up for leccy and woodworm and inspection of timberwork ,structure etc, all is well with joists and etcs.
there will be a fair bit of 2nd/3rd fix carpentry ( woorms ate my skirtings etc ) but that sort of stuff is easy.

note i will get the rest of the boards up this week and drill a few holes for the sparks

note dont worry about the holes in the joists ,i will plate them as required once 1st fix wires and pipes are in , we can reuse quite a few pipe notches and wont need many new ones as the new pipe runs will go in sensible directions ( unlike the abomination of plumbing under the floors and up the walls )

the pantry walls are in the yard along with most of the plaster/render that needs to be off for the damp proofing, the old CH system is mostly out but there are a few more bits to dump.
most of the wormy wood is ready to go ,the rest will follow as it gets found and ripped out

the chimney in the kitchen is coming down this week ,note need to hire angle grinder with diamond disc to make a tidy job. as it is relatively simple and i will just do it getting the extra space in the kitchen will only cost £60 for an extra week on the breaker and a grinder + about half a big skip to lose the rubble.
this gives a rectangular kitchen about 16 ft by 9 ft which is a pretty useful size and shape

note we need to chase up bricky re front elevation and remedials to bomb damage as we need them in asap ie before damp man and wet trades.

we need to extract the staircase before damp man and reinstall either during or very soon after he finishes. spare man available but needs booking we also need materials for stairs/new support system on site

understairs floor needs examination with a distinct possibility we need to rag it out and do a proper concrete job

note ask if damp man's wet trades chaps will do a few extras and perhaps do whole house skim plaster. if not we need a spread, i could do it but i would rather not if i can avoid it.

note i need to remember to cut concrete in yard while i have grinder and breaker ready to dig a bit and fit snorkel air bricks and gully system whenever we get chance

note we have at least a 8 cu m skip's worth outside at the mo and i will add about another 4 cu m this week so a skip on friday aft/sat am is needed before we run out of space.

overall things are going well but we need to :
chase bricky so as we can get the forms for building control submitted ( note i can do the bomb damage stuff but i don't lay pretty bricks )
we need to put dates for wet trades and windows on calender so as to coordinate other tasks.
you need to decide on bathroom layout with gassy man

note in the morning first task is order grinder and find out when my hatchet saw is back from hospital ( it made a very nasty noise and stopped reciprocating but they recon they can mend it asap )

i have probably missed a few things off this report but we will get to them as and when.

that half ton of plaster we hauled out of the basement last weekend doesn't seem so bad any more! Laughing NorthernMonkeyGirl

By "wet trades", you mean plumber, plasterer...literally anything messy/liquidy? dpack

in this example wet trades means brickwork, damp proof render and plastering which are wet and messy ( in another context it might mean something very different Laughing this is not the place to discuss the Steele dossier Rolling Eyes )

thinking of brickwork the remedial stuff to the rotten lintel/ front elevation and bomb damage to the party wall/front elevation need fixing before the 23rd oct and the quote we just got seems rather high.
this mornings job is to seek alternative quotes from competent folk before we give somebody what is imho a sweet little job.
if i had the tower and props in a lock up, a strong lad and a half decent brick layer on site i would just do it but i've not been kitted up for the brickwork since the 90's, the bomb damage stuff i could do easily (and might have to if i cant improve the price we have so far.)

grrrr what a way to start a monday, that's building works hey ho .

the extremely good builder who did tt's loft conversion is popping over to site 2 pm to have a look at the remedial brickwork jobs Cool

the chaps mending my demolition saw are going to call back with a triage report this aft, grinder will arrive today here or there so things are getting back on track.

tis monday again but it has become a normal monday for this sort of thing
wellington womble

I am rapidly going off houses. I can't get a flipping builder until April to do about a fortnight's work and building control won't come out and sign it off anyway. Bloody house.

Your sounds a lot more productive, Dpack.

sort of ,i did manage to get a really good builder round today to quote for some of the brickwork stuff and he can do it in the timeslot required.
the one who took 10 days to quote put in a "i dont really want the job" price and didnt quote to the specs given so he ain't working on this

the render is nearly all off but i still need to demolish a chimney (from the top) and get some more floorboards up and drill some holes for the sparks and and and and Rolling Eyes over the next few days.

my saw is dead, just after i bought it two new batteries and the "new" ex display model one to replace it was only $84 including shipping but might arrive between the 4th and 16th oct which is a bit late as i need one now.

at least i have use of a beasty 110v disc cutter to go with the breaker so i can get on with quite a few things.

a while has passed and quite a bit has been done

tanking and render for damp done
most render done ie the wall that used to have a chimney on it
some render to do. eg over the signed off ties for the bomb damage ,various making good patches and maybe a few bits of flattering

stairs mended, refitted and no longer supported by a few rather tired and nervous woodworm they now sit fastened with some rather over engineered timber and hardware to a 6" concrete slab with full dpm and a deep hardcore base .
quite a bit of concrete was shoved into voids under the original hall floor with a big stick which might help a bit with stabilising old and new

the structural timber across the hallway under the stairs will form the core of a rather complex combo of stair support, door frame top , a stair width wall top and a place to attach various ,aligned, wonky and slopey bits of wood and plaster, all at slightly different angles, on both sides of the new kitchen door wall stairs junction

by removing a bit of clutter( well a chimney and some walls and a few odds and ends) from the kitchen was wise, it now has at least twice the useful space, it looks nicer, will make a proper centre of the home kitchen and as a bonus probably has a fairly full set of original quarry tiles( my preference would be refloor with proper concrete etc but a mix and match wonky floor can look ace and work ok )

most windows in, now the front lintels, arch and brickwork are sorted the last two can go in on tuesday then building control will sign em off to go with the other ones as done and fine.
kitchen window now on a new sill at the proper height for a kitchen sink rather than creating a fly moat as the previous one did.

much of the electrics are done in terms of time but we need to get them moving on some lights and getting first/2nd fix complete asap

collectively we have removed about 25 cu M of skipable stuff and attached a bit under 7000 kg of materials if thi counts the water in the wet trades mixes along with moving stuff from place to place a lot of lifting etc is now done.
playing about with sticks, plaster and fittings is much more civilised but i do have a liking for using demolition tools and first fix mending methods to provide the bones for a refurb.

i have forgotten some stuff that is done and about 30 items that need doing next so more news will follow , it has been rather nice taking it easy and doing "normal" stuff for a few days but i have almost recovered from first fix much like the house has and so it is time to get the prewinterval/ weather critical stuff done and be ready for a burst of 2nd/3rd fix stuff in january

ps the firm that did the remedial brickwork to the front are ace, having a chat with their pals who spread might be a good option.

looking forward to photos... dpack

next time im there i will do some "mid term "ones.

ta for the reminder, i have some before and some during rip out but now would be good

time passes things get done.

near end of internal first fix , into second fix/making good

it got a bit complicated as doing stuff showed up stuff that needed doing but i think we have run out of unexpected choices of surprise from an extensive but now known potential menu.

anyway engineering bricks, stainless steel and assorted setting chemical mixtures are my friends Laughing
almost all wires etc in place, half pipes in place, timber and plaster ongoing

not too bad considering winter(val)and the unknowns

i will do pictures of this stage.

juggling assorted diaries," desirability" and a budget is something that can be a bit tricky
notes to the bold:
if you have not done this sort of thing before make sure you pay a lot of attention to all three factors and keep an open mind regarding how to solve practical or administrative problems

a combo of decay, bomb damage, some top quality historic mistakes and what could kindly be described as despicable acts here and there is interesting to identify and remedy. most of that is sorted with just a few bits to still do

the new layout is ace and will work very well for most households,

at the mo i am wondering how to stretch the budget to a month or so of a willing/capable minion to get them moved in( if not finished) within an 8wk window.
a combo of " barnraising" and "we want to do some of it " covers some stuff but there are plenty of things a minion and me can do that they cant and subbying in costs too much. i will work on that thought Wink
Mistress Rose

Remembering our first house, built about 1870, the failures started with the build. They didn't understand damp courses and fire walls and it got worse from there. Swear some of the internal walls were built after a visit to the pub they were so curved. dpack

bathroom ready for plastering, with a floor, a new ceiling (under the old split level and saggy one) and wires and pipes and stuff.
that means once the spreading is done the plumbing tails can be raised, mist coat to the walls/ceiling and then a proper waterproof floor can be laid ready for all the nice shiny bits of bathroom and boiler Cool
other rooms are available for plastering but there is still a lot of smallish ( and a couple of largish ) tasks to do before the last thing is ready for skimming .

most of the electrics are done and there are only a few bits of in the voids plumbing to do.

i'm playing with sticks next to create a few wall surfaces and sort out the downstairs wood floors for something to stand on and make sure these ones stay dry and well ventilated unlike the ones they are replacing Rolling Eyes

it still looks messy unless you remember the cm of dust in the kitchen ( sitting on several cubic meters of rubble ) Laughing

Do you waterproof with a paint on membrane, similar to "redguard" here in the U.S.? dpack

not me .

imho good plaster, well planned ventilation and heating helps a lot
in the uk climate let it breathe is often the best bet regarding damp in bathrooms although oil based eggshell paint can be handy if condensation is inevitable(un heatable walls etc)

i do back high water areas with waterproof board*, marine ply as a substrate for tiles or polymer is ace.
the floor will be sealed vinyl so as any floods go down the stairs and avoid the electrics and kitchen (i have seen too many oopsies that start in a bathroom)

* given chance i will line the entire bathroom in marine ply or waterproof mdf and then tile it Laughing

we are well into second fix, juggling trade's diaries and mission timings is the game at this stage.

before, after, before, at the same time, week after next, etc, etc

i need a second fix Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

it will work out but this stage is probably the most complex.
the budget and financing are issues that impact on timings and timings do on them, again complex but under control.
my 20 to 30 is still covering the infrastructure stuff (at the top end , so what, tis still a goer from start to sell if needs be although that is not in the plan, this is a home ) but i cant dis getting a stunning cooker although that did not feature in my cost projection Laughing

bring a house back into use for a generation or two might be "greener" than building an "ecohome" in some circumstances.
apart from efficient equipment and a lot of loft insulation it isnt a "green" project but it is better to mend it than get a new one most of the time Wink

I've been following this thread and I know you're a busy, busy man DPack but not one single photo yet? I'm very disappointed to say the least Wink Shan

Ditto!!! Wink dpack

OK once i feel a bit better i will sort out a few choice snaps Laughing Shan

Super! Hope you feel better soon. Lloyd

C'mon mate, waiting for a pic Very Happy dpack

plenty is done
some stuff is part done

once most of it was drying out the other issue became clear and has been sorted by mending the drain gully and fitting channel drains to stop a lot of water getting in Cool

at last they decided that the kitchen floor was beyond saving
the last few days of digging and filling has been heavy work but as a bonus i have a 25mm dry riser for a new water feed in which is good as the lead pipe with a dead leg is functional but far less than ideal Rolling Eyes

the original tiled floor in the hallway should be ok as it has had a fair bit of "stabilisation" . doing the conservation stuff under a floor that could be replaced for a few K is a matter of taste, mine , Twisted Evil the material are cheap but the labour is not.
once it gets a decent acid peel and a nice wipe with some makeup it will be very pretty and quite a architectural rarity as most get skipped due to the condition of em.

as far as i can see once the concrete is in, tomorrow uggghhhh, i recon we are out of first fix in every department.
most of second fix is carpentry with a bit of plastering and the 3rd fix stuff to get it to fit to move into and re-mortgageable is significant but quick and relatively cheap

35 cu meters out , 15 metric tons in at a very rough guess by the end of the refurb:roll:

the number of little and larger issues caused by bad historic decisions in a job like this makes me think that getting one that is very messy and getting back to basics rather than trusting the last hundred years or so of "improvements" is a good strategy Wink
for instance i would not consider a new or second hand house without a full rewire or thorough eyeball from a trusted spark
gas can have issues, just blank the meter and re pipe
etc etc etc

i will do photos and a proper write up when it is done.

the number of little and larger issues caused by bad historic decisions in a job like this makes me think that getting one that is very messy and getting back to basics rather than trusting the last hundred years or so of "improvements" is a good strategy Wink

We were the third owners of our 1912 house in Motspur Park, buying it from the lady who'd bought it in 1927. It had had central heating installed and some secondary glazing. Was a dream to sort out, rewire, new boiler, new kitchen and a towel rail.

This one in Devon has been hacked about by a string of morons over the years. We're going to have to spend some serious dosh in the next couple of years sorting it.

ummm, tis rather like that sometimes.

the structural part of the slab is 100/125 mm thick in 2 ballast/2 grit/1 ordinary with a bit of waterproofer laid on visqueen over lots of compacted hardcore, gravel and sand Cool and i have a 25mm dry riser in mains water pipe routed under it

the screed needs an undetermined but significant amount of volume, it would be rather fun to do it in 1/4 inch to dust shiny granite and snowcem with a power float finish Laughing
if the price differential is not too horrid i might surprise em just for fun Very Happy

spose what might get spent on concrete now gets saved on less permanent flooring over a lifetime, not my lifetime but i can see them having their grandkids round Cool

fancy concrete is too expensive so more half ballast half sharp sand to fill 75 mm or so and then topped with lots of sharp sand and float work lying on a ladder Rolling Eyes

the surface profile is a tad challenging as the 1970's extension floor slab is about 30 mm higher than the lower part of the hallway tiles which are charming but have a rather concave and now stabilised shape Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes
i need to decide on the best way to connect the fixed points and shapes, mostly flat and level is good for a kitchen

doing not posting but lots of stuff is done

waterproof hopefully.
leccy done
concrete ( apart from one hearth ) done
new mains water feed ready to connect to mains
plastering done
bathroom in ( apart from shower surround and a cupboard door)
one floor to finish and one to do.
mist coat done
doors all sealed
kitchen in progress
well into 2/3rd fix

we have another 10m2 of mud n rubble and stuff in the yard Rolling Eyes

re kitchens, the super cheap carcasses from ikea seem better than most super cheap carcasses but the wood doors, panels,work surfaces etc are very good value.
the fittings are better than i expected, the draw slides work first time even when fitted by a first timer, let you know about hinges in a while.

packing the leg for the breakfast bar in the bed base kit was a rather unusual ploy to upsell another leg Laughing

so far the approved supplier list also includes: there is a foam theme.
screwfix -electrical stuff their main cheapo brand is actually very ok . long fisher frame fixings, odds n ends, toupret for the discerning decorator . a few years ago the gun foam was ok but i didnt like the hand held one i tried .
a handy "iron mongers"

travis perkins , timber, doors, heavyside, screws, drill bits , own brand non gun fixer foam ( dont get the gun foam, it got rather messy very suddenly ), mastic gun stickystuff of every description etc etc helibar/structural brackets etc .
TP is my builders merchant of choice, to develop a relationship a cash account will get you 10% off and decent deliveries Wink nice folk, good stock, used em for decades including full time.

jewson is ok as well if you talk to em in builder, the local one was a bit uppity with householders sent on a mission to buy a pipe, i got it the next day on the phone for £25 and made em deliver it "now", they had been asked for £82.50 . dont use the own brand fixer foam

eventually i will do a full report with photos but for the mo a few words will have to do. i could do 1000wds just on fixer foam Laughing nah --TP own brand-- edited to 3

the muckaway men commeth on monday Laughing there is quite a lot again maybe 15 cu m or 10 t depending how one measures it .

2nd fix almost complete ,3rd fix well under way.

loads of snagging and ongoing stuff for a while but they might get to move in next weekend Shocked

we decided to sand and seal the wood floors , easy to live with, value for money ( if you get several weeks of master polisher for free Laughing Laughing Laughing ) and downstairs it fits in with my cunning plan to use the natural pressure differences between the chimney tops and the snorkel air vents to ventilate the underfloor void which was a little damp a while back:wink:

man cleaning the hall floor might require a different mask to the madness of catalysed floor resins but so what. i will drop the hcl to dog stomach acid levels and wear wellies with the windows open instead Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Laughing
Mistress Rose

Go careful with the floor work Dpack. Always as well to wear protection just in case. dpack

2nd top coat to the wood floors looks good Cool

I'm not poisoned and it wasn't on fire when i left Laughing

there are a lot of jobs where common sense and some instructions are ok and it might even be a decent job to pro standards.

imho this isnt one of them.

it isnt just the health and safety issues there is also the machine handling skills, knowledge of timber, surface coating and a multitude of site related skills and sops

Glad you're still living DPack but we're all still waiting on pictures Razz dpack

we might be in the sunday times paper this weekend Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

i thought i was a media tart but nowt to do with me this time, i deliberately kept out of it and await publication with a grin Laughing Laughing Laughing

hope they mentioned that the slugs in the sitting room took a bit of suppressing by mending the drains and that the sarcostain was well disturbing:lol: Laughing Laughing

good bits , bad bits , they have a nice house Cool
Mistress Rose

Congratulation. I don't see it, but if you are able to post a link would love to see what you have been working on. The main thing is that they have a nice house. sgt.colon

Well done DPack Smile

We might get some photos at last Laughing

i will link or confirm when i know. Wink dpack

ps i had had enough once i crushed a disc in my back finishing the shower so they have been doing the odds n ends n stuff for a while.

it is not decorated yet, just a white builders finish, but it is rather nice.

we got in the sunday times today Laughing

nothing in quotes is sd's words and they were economical with the truth on the money stuff but they did use a nice selfie of em in overalls Laughing

dont waste £2.75 i will sort some decent snaps Wink and a how to guide. Wink Wink

i recon the money numbers mentioned are a bit confusing , the reality was a little more complex and required a serious interest free cash loan for a year and a decent gift in knowledge, goodwill, labour and materials.
that probably would add about £25k to the costs mentioned in the paper for anyone paying for that stuff.

fair enough the company came up with refurbishment based finance to about half the knackered condition auction value of the house at a cost but there is a lot more to such an operation than a few quid Wink

if my initial assessment had been badly wrong it could have been really bad

the inexperienced reading it might get badly caught out, i knew roughly what we needed to do in ten mins not everyone would have that resource.

anyone considering this route into owning a house should start by recruiting trusted experts in broken houses before they look at an estate agents website or try poking about in the bushes looking for a proper wreck.
and they will need some domestic time /skills to keep the costs down to a sensible level

they do have a nice house though Very Happy

Really looking forward to seeing it DPack.

Surely, a news paper reporting wrong facts? Piers Morgan will be turning in his grave. Twisted Evil Laughing
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